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Statistics & Surveys

Want To Sell More Pictures? Look Down!

By Jim Pickerell | 374 Words | Posted 1/26/2015 | Comments
Based on the searches they have been getting in the last few months Shutterstock has just released a new infographic on 2015 Creative Trends in the demand for still images, illustration and video clips. One of the interesting trends for photographers is that searches for “top view” have increased 66% in the past year.

Where Do Microstock Producers Come From?

By Jim Pickerell | 5140 Words | Posted 1/12/2015 | Comments
After last week, readers probably feel they have more information about iStock than they ever wanted to know. But an analysis of where contributors who produce microstock images live provides some additional insights into the future of stock photography. I promise this will be the last analysis of iStock data until July.

Do More Images Generate A Proportionate Increase In Downloads?

By Jim Pickerell | 5948 Words | Posted 1/9/2015 | Comments
Most stock contributors want to believe that if they continue to produce more and better images more of their work will be downloaded (purchased by customers), and they will make more money. That’s not the way it seems to have worked at iStock in the last two years.

Downloads Of Leading iStock Contributors

By Jim Pickerell | 5663 Words | Posted 1/7/2015 | Comments
Since 2009 I have been tracking sales of some of iStock’s leading contributors and beginning in 2012 I have tracked 430 of them on a semi-annual basis. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which may number over 100,000 at the end of 2014 this small group had a combined total of over 54,982,100 image downloads in their careers with iStock. I believe this is about one-third of total iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002. Thus, the combined experience of this group is significant.

iStock Downloads Down Significantly In 2014

By Jim Pickerell | 773 Words | Posted 1/5/2015 | Comments
Getty’s simplification and dramatic lowering of iStock prices in September in an effort to better complete with Shutterstock doesn’t seem to be working. The number of images downloaded in the last half of 2014 for 431 of iStock’s top producers was down about 34% compared to the first half of 2014.

GDUSA Stock Survey

By Jim Pickerell | 452 Words | Posted 10/24/2014 | Comments
The results of the annual GDUSA Stock Survey of graphic designers in the U.S. is now available online. For several years nearly every graphic designers has answered that they use stock sometime during the year, but this year, for the first time, two-thirds of those answering the survey use stock more than 20 times a year and one-third use stock imagery more than 100 times a years.

New UK Copyright Laws Take Effect

By Jim Pickerell | 640 Words | Posted 10/16/2014 | Comments
As of October 1, 2014 authorized legal entities in the UK will be able to collect payments for the use of your photographs even if you are not a member of the organization. This is known as Extended Collective Licensing (ECL).

Eleven-Year Trends for RM and RF Sales

By Jim Pickerell | 1281 Words | Posted 10/13/2014 | Comments
Using numbers from Getty Images it is interesting to look back at the RM and RF unit sales and revenue trends over the last decade. Between 2003 and 2007 when Getty was a public company they provided investors with very precise gross revenue and average price per image figures. This made it possible to make a reasonable estimate of the number of images licensed in each category.

Stock Footage Industry Survey Underway

By Jim Pickerell | 558 Words | Posted 9/29/2014 | Comments
ACSIL and Thriving Archives have teamed up again to conduct the ACSIL Global Survey of Stock Footage Companies 3 (AGS3). Like their two previous collaborations, the AGS3 will explore and assess overall business conditions within the stock footage industry, discover how things are getting done, track evolving trends and provide strategic, action-oriented data to footage industry leaders. All footage companies worldwide are invited to participate.

Microstock Photography Survey Results

By Jim Pickerell | 651 Words | Posted 9/19/2014 | Comments
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.

Visual Steam 2014 Buyers Survey

By Jim Pickerell | 537 Words | Posted 9/17/2014 | Comments
In June 2014, Visual Steam surveyed thousands of U.S. art buyers, art directors, art producers, creative directors and marketing professionals to better understand stock image buying behavior today (still photography and motion). The company has published the results of its 2014 Buyers Survey. 100% of the respondents are buyers of stock photography.

BookStats Announces 2013 Publishing Figures

By Jim Pickerell | 412 Words | Posted 7/11/2014 | Comments
BookStats has reported that the U.S. book and journal publishing industry sold 2.59 billion units and generated $27.01 billion in net revenue in 2013. The trade sector - covering general consumer fiction and non-fiction – generated $14.66 billion in net revenue leaving about $12.35 billion for educational publishing. There were 2.32 billion trade book units sold and approximately 270 million educational books.

Is RM The Only Place To Find Great Pictures?

By Jim Pickerell | 6795 Words | Posted 7/8/2014 | Comments
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.)

iStock: More Images Does Not Increase Sales

By Jim Pickerell | 5839 Words | Posted 7/4/2014 | Comments
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.

Three Categories Of Image Creators

By Jim Pickerell | 6029 Words | Posted 7/3/2014 | Comments
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.

iStock Downloads Continue To Decline, First Half 2014

By Jim Pickerell | 5418 Words | Posted 7/2/2014 | Comments
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.)

Tracking iStock Downloads

By Jim Pickerell | 472 Words | Posted 7/2/2014 | Comments
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.

Stock Photo Pricing Survey

By Jim Pickerell | 341 Words | Posted 6/12/2014 | Comments
In general, prices and revenue have been declining in the stock photo industry. To a large extent this has been due to oversupply and more and more customers finding the images they need at lower price points. Based on the information I’ve been able to collect, I have made estimates of the average 2013 gross license fee for images in the five major price categories – RM, traditional RF, Midstock, Microstock and Subscription. I want to find out if my readers think these prices are high or low.

Click here to Complete the Survey

Can iStock Turn Midstock Sales Around?

By Jim Pickerell | 615 Words | Posted 6/3/2014 | Comments
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.

Magazine Print Ad Pages Down 4% In 2013

By Jim Pickerell | 707 Words | Posted 5/7/2014 | Comments
In 2013 there were 145,713 ad pages in the magazines measured by the trade organization Publishers Information Bureau.  It is worth noting that in 2000 this organization reported 286,932 ad pages – almost double the 2013 numbers -- for the magazines it tracks.

Time Inc. Q2 2014 Advertising Revenue Down 7%

By Jim Pickerell | 304 Words | Posted 5/6/2014 | Comments
During Time Warner’s Q1 2014 earnings call Howard Averill, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Time Warner said advertising revenue was down 7% and subscriptions were flat.

Growth In Number Of Images Licensed

By Jim Pickerell | 1472 Words | Posted 4/22/2014 | Comments
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.

Image Licensing Trends

By Jim Pickerell | 612 Words | Posted 2/26/2014 | Comments
Earlier this week I wrote about the average price per image licensed at Getty. This article will examine some of the publicly available and widely reported numbers related to the number of images licensed.

Top 5 Industry Leaders

By Jim Pickerell | 859 Words | Posted 1/15/2014 | Comments
I was recently asked to name the 5 biggest companies in the stock photo industry and the percentage of total industry turnover they represent. The surprising thing is how the names of the top 5 have changed in the last few years and the implications for the long term future of the industry.

Advertising Trends

By Jim Pickerell | 859 Words | Posted 1/2/2014 | Comments
Total global ad spend in 2013 was between $489.6 billion (Magna Global) and $503 billion (ZenithOptimedia). This is up between 3.2% and 3.5% compared to 2012. According to eMarketer the U.S. portion for 2013 is about $171.33 billion or 34% of the world media market.