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A few months ago Basar Hatirnaz surveyed microstock image producers for his doctorial thesis at Yeditepe University in Instanbul, Turkey. He got 400 responses from contributors with a wide range of experience in the microstock business. The results of his research provide some interesting insights into the microstock industry
Yesterday, I outlined how iStock’s new pricing strategy
may affect contributors. But, the bigger worry for iStock exclusive contributors and Getty Images may be what happens on gettyimages.com
. Here’s why.
Over the weekend iStock
launched its new prices to compete with Shutterstock
. The following chart shows the credit packages available at both iStock and Shutterstock and the average price per credit.
On September 13th iStock
will “throw-in-the-towel” and adopt the Shutterstock
licensing strategy that all images should be equal in price regardless of the quality of the image or the cost of production. They will discontinue their practice of pricing based on file size delivered, and of having multi-tier price categories.
Recently Dennis Davis, an experienced Los Angeles corporate, lifestyle, and food photographer (see his portfolio
) posted the following on a blog. “I am moving out of commercial assignment photography into selling my photography after the fact. I am looking for recommendations on stock agencies and methods for selling fine art images and video.
At iStock the “Most Popular” search option used to show images in order of popularity based on the number of times each image had been downloaded during its life of on the site. The first image shown was the one with the most downloads; the 2nd image was the image with the second highest number of downloads, 3rd had the third highest number of downloads and so on. This was true as late as the end of June 2014.
Fire! Can it destroy your business? Are your files protected? On May 30th Steve Cole and his wife woke at 2am with smoke in their bedroom. They had a couple minutes to get out of bed and escape the house. Luckily both got out with their dog, but their three cats that were very much a part of their family did not survive. They lost everything including everything work related in his home office.
After 10 years in operation, and with more than 800,000 images, the German microstock agency Digitalstock.de
has decided to cease operations and provide customers and photographers with an exclusive offer to continue buying and selling photos online at PantherMedia.net
Many RM photographers still believe that microstock images are of much lower quality than RM and that customers who want images of the highest quality will continue to go to RM sites for the images they need. Unfortunately, they are only kidding themselves. (Note the difference in number of downloads in this story
For most of the 431 top iStock contributors
adding more images to their portfolios does not seen to have had a significant impact on the growth in their number of downloads. In fact, those who grew their collections by the smallest percentage, or not at all, seemed to experience continued growth in sales. Seems counter intuitive.
Yesterday I provided a list of the 431 of the top iStock contributors
in the order of the total number of image downloads they have had in their careers. In the coming week I will explore some other ways to look at the available data. It is important to recognize that not all the people on this list are photographers. I have separated them into three groups – Illustrators (I), people with a mix of illustration and photography in their collections (PI) and photographers.
On average, there has been a continued decline in the number of downloads for 431 of iStock’s leading contributors during the first half of 2014. I have been tracking the activity for these contributors for more than 2 year, and about half of them since 2009. Since these individuals joined iStock their images have been downloaded a combined total of at least of 54,291,100 times and a possible maximum of 56,658,200. (See for how I arrived at these numbers.
Since early in 2009 I have been tracking downloads of 192 of iStockphoto’s most productive contributors. At that time istockcharts, a service of multimedia.de provided a daily listing of the total downloads of most of iStock’s contributors. This list could be indexed by downloads so it was easy to determine which contributors had the most iStock downloads in their careers.
It may be time to retire Rights Managed as a licensing model. RM pricing doesn’t work for most customers anymore. Moreover, it no longer really maximizes the potential earnings of photographers.
There used to be a time when all image uses were in print. In those day when an art director purchased an image for a magazine ad, a book or a brochure she knew exactly how the image would be used in the layout and how many copies would be printed. Those days are mostly gone forever.
iStock’s sales seem to have been declining over the last few quarters. About 75% of iStock sales are at Midstock prices totaling roughly $180 million in 2013. There are indications that customers and creators are increasingly dissatisfied. One big questions is whether the decline is due to a generally higher priced offering, poor customer service including a less than optimal performing website, or both.
Most agencies are constantly trying to add new images to their collections, but a huge percentage of the images they already have are never licensed. Photographers are constantly encouraged to produce more and better pictures. If they cut back on production sales often decline. Since there is no way to be sure what customers will want in the future, agencies hope that if they keep adding new images they will eventually stumble onto something a future customer will want to buy.
iStock has named May 14, 2014 “100% Royalty Day.” As part of it’s efforts to celebrate Small Business Week in the United States iStock will pay all exclusive contributors 100% of all revenue collected on May 14, 2014 through cash and credit card file downloads.
A subscriber just pointed out that at the bottom of the search return page on www.gettyimages.com
they are now encouraging customers to go to iStock
. He did a search for travel and at the bottom of the first page after the customer has looked at only 100 thumbnails she is encouraged in big bold letters to:
Microstock image contributors are removing images from Fotolia in a boycott of Fotolia’s Dollar Photo Club
(DPC) subscription service. So far more than 400,000 images have been removed from Fotolia since April 25, 2014.
It’s No Longer About The Image. It’s About The Data That Can Be Mined Using Images. The value of images is declining. The value of data that can be mined by tracking image use is increasing.
Buyers looking for microstock images want to know which of the many available sources offers the best licensing models, terms and price. Now with the beta version of http://www.microstock.photos
customers can simultaneously check the offerings of 9 or the most popular microstock sites and see who offers the best deal. This search tool is free to use.
, has launched ImageRent
, a new service that makes more than 3.5 million stock photos immediately available for commercial, editorial or personal use online at a minimal cost. The maximum file sizes available are 72dpi, 600x600px web size images.
Recently, I received a request from Clive Thompson, columnist with Wired Magazine
, asking about the number of stock photography images licensed annually. He was more interested in the increase/decrease of the number of images sold than in any impact it might have had on revenue. Here’s what I told him.
Getty Images has launched its iStock subscription offering
in an attempt to compete with Shutterstock
. There are two levels of iStock subscriptions – iStock Essentials and iStock Signature. With iStock’s offering customers can download 250 images a month with the monthly plan or 750 images a month with the annual plan. With Shutterstock there is a daily limit of 25 images a day (750 a month) regardless of which plan you purchase.
Getty Images has announced the call for entries for its Getty Images’ grants programs
for 2014. The grants will include – The Grants for Editorial Photography
, Creative Grants
and the Contour by Getty Images Portrait Prize
– as well as the Emerging Talent Award.
The deadline for entry and Applications is May 15, 2014 by 11:59 p.m. GMT (London Time). For more information see http://www.gettyimages.com/grants