Future Planning

Changing Photography Business

By Jim Pickerell | 1766 Words | Posted 3/7/2018 | Comments
Over 60 years ago I decided that because I enjoyed taking pictures I wanted to pursue photography as a way of earning my living. I’ve had a great career, but as a profession things have changed dramatically. For anyone starting out today it is much more difficult to get a foothold – and much less likely that you will ever earn reasonable money – taking pictures for a living.

Copytrack To Launch Global Copyright Register

By Jim Pickerell | 904 Words | Posted 2/20/2018 | Comments
Copytrack has completed its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and will be launching a Global Copyright Register (GCR) this summer that will work in conjunction with their Global Copyright Enfocement services (copytrack.com). With their Presale and ICO they have a total of 8,600 investors who have purchased around 16 million tokens. The purchase of images found on the GCR will be tracked in a Blockchain and paid for using cryptocurrency tokens.

Image Trend Reports

By Jim Pickerell | 347 Words | Posted 1/26/2018 | Comments
It is that time of year when stock agencies report on image trends they expect to see in the coming year. The purpose of these reports is to help photographers focus their production on the subject matter the agencies think will be in demand in the coming year.

Photographer Productivity

By Jim Pickerell | 1299 Words | Posted 1/3/2018 | Comments
One of the things I said in my 2018 Predictions is: “Image creator may be given more useful information about what is in demand.” In recent years we’ve seen a huge growth in the number of creators entering the stock photo business as well as images added to the collections. But we’re no longer seeing a corresponding growth in revenue.

2018 Predictions

By Jim Pickerell | 1060 Words | Posted 1/2/2018 | Comments
Here are a few stock photo industry changes that I predict will occur before 2019. 1 – At least one radically new and different business model for licensing stock images will be introduced. 2 – Customers will become more disenchanted with the major stock photo distributors. 3 -  Image creators may be given more useful information about what is in demand.
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Finding Photographers

By Jim Pickerell | 835 Words | Posted 12/27/2017 | Comments
Most commercial users want to be honest. They don’t set out to steal. They certainly don’t want to be chased by a photographer and his/her legal team once it is discovered that they have used an image without permission. If photographers want to license more images to professional users – and get better prices – then they must make it easier for customers to find them once the customers finds an image they would like to use. The process is easy enough if the customer finds the image on a stock agency website, but more and more customers are finding the images they would like to use by searching Google, Bing, Flickr or by randomly searching Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, other social media sites or various publications.

Storyblocks 2018 Trend Guide

By Jim Pickerell | 199 Words | Posted 12/14/2017 | Comments
Storyblocks has published a 2018 Trends Guide that features predictions for the year ahead based on 64M searches and 38M downloads across their sites in the last year (365 days). The results suggest that creators are increasingly globally aware and creating a strong increase in demand for diverse and global content.

VisualSteam Releases Stock Image Licensing Survey Results

By Jim Pickerell | 661 Words | Posted 12/11/2017 | Comments
VisualSteam has released the results of its 5th Annual Survey of Creative Pros on the issue of Stock Image Licensing. The survey was sent to US art buyers, art directors, art producers, creative directors, photo editors and marketing professionals and provides a glimpse into what is driving image licensing today.

Tired Of Low Prices? Here’s A Possible Solution

By Jim Pickerell | 1068 Words | Posted 11/29/2017 | Comments
Tired of low stock photo prices? Maybe you ought to license your images to customers direct. More and more customers are finding the images they need by searching Google. Sometimes the image may be one of yours that is represented by an agency. You may be able to get these searchers to come directly to you.

Can Prices Be Raised?

By Jim Pickerell | 1139 Words | Posted 9/14/2017 | Comments
In a little over a month I will be moderating a panel discussion at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York on the subject Prices: Can We Raise Them? Stock photo prices have been declining for years, partially due to oversupply. Must prices continue to fall? Is there a strategy for charging more, to enough customers, that production of new images will become a viable business option for more producers? If so, how? What’s the strategy? If not, will that impact contributor supply? What alternatives are there for agencies to grow their business?”

Are Professional Stock Producers Needed?

By Jim Pickerell | 834 Words | Posted 9/13/2017 | Comments
A big question the stock photo industry is facing, and one I think very little effort has been expended in trying to analyze, is Are Professional Stock Producers Needed? Can the industry survive and grow with only images produced by part-timers and amateurs who are more interested in having their work “liked” than in earning enough to cover their production costs?

Time Inc. Looks To Save $400 Million: Staff Could Be On The Chopping Block

By Jim Pickerell | 180 Words | Posted 8/9/2017 | Comments
Time Inc. unveiled plans for a “strategic transformation” that will yield more than $400 million in savings over the next few years. In the last quarterly earnings report total revenues fell 10% year to year while operating income fell from $50 million to a loss of $38 million.

Global Advertising Forecasts

By Jim Pickerell | 786 Words | Posted 7/27/2017 | Comments
In reviewing the latest reports from Magna, eMarketer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and ZenithOptimedia it appears that the global advertising market is expected to generate about $504 billion in 2017, up 3.7% from 2016. The growth in 2016 was +5.9%, but the Olympics and U.S. Elections contributed a lot to that growth. Global advertising growth is expected to re-accelerate to +4.5% in 2018 with the return of even-year events (Football World Cup in Russia, Mid-Term U.S. elections, Winter Olympics in South Korea.)

More On New Distribution System

By Jim Pickerell | 1746 Words | Posted 6/30/2017 | Comments
Justin Brinson of PicturEngine posted a thoughful comment to last week’s article “New Stock Image Distribution System Needed.” I’m re-posting his comments here because I want to be sure all my readers have a chance to consider them. I’ll add a few of my own comments below his.

What Is A Premium Image?

By Jim Pickerell | 927 Words | Posted 6/20/2017 | Comments
Many of the attendees at the CEPIC Congress are working to produce a collection of more “Premium” images as a way to set themselves apart from the massive collections produced to a great extent by amateur contributors. To do this they are editing tighter and separating out images of the highest “quality” and production values. The argument for this is that there are still customers willing to pay higher prices for better quality, unique images with top quality models and great production values.

Learning What To Shoot

By Jim Pickerell | 1322 Words | Posted 6/6/2017 | Comments
Stock photo agents tend to resist supplying photographers with much information about the specific images customers license. I would like to look back to the 1980s and 1990s and remind them how such information helped agencies grow their businesses and photographers produce more of what customers really wanted to buy.

Mike Watson: Where Is Stock Headed

By Jim Pickerell | 63 Words | Posted 4/19/2017 | Comments
What can photographers and stock agencies do about pricing and the shift of revenues from photographers to a few huge platforms? Mike Watson says, “It’s unlikely that the major platforms will change their practices and the all-you-can-eat deals will continue. It’s time for photographers and independent agencies to unite and talk directly to their customers.” Read his whole blog post on the robertharding blog.

123RF Looking To Go Public

By Jim Pickerell | 1018 Words | Posted 4/3/2017 | Comments
Andy Sitt, the Malaysian founder of 123RF, is seeking to raise the profile of his Chicago-headquartered stock image and design business among funds and investors in hopes of launching an initial public offering (IPO) within the next 12 to 18 months. "We're at that stage where we have to think of the next stage of the company and I believe that the next stage would be some form of exit. So (profiling the company) is more towards building it for a potential IPO," Sitt told DEALSTREETASIA.

How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It

By Jim Pickerell | 204 Words | Posted 3/17/2017 | Comments
Stock photo sellers and producers should read the New York Times story “How the Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It”  (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/learning/questions-for-how-the-internet-is-saving-culture-not-killing-it.html?_r=0 ) The story makes the argument that increasingly Internet users are willing to pay for certain content and no longer expecting that everything they find on the Internet should be free.

Stock Photo Production: Eastern Europe, Asia Dominate

By Jim Pickerell | 1030 Words | Posted 3/13/2017 | Comments
Thanks to information supplied by microstock.top concerning Shutterstock contributors and information from Nationmaster.com regarding the average 2014 monthly salary from 162 countries, it is possible to get a better understanding of why more than 60% of the images in the Shutterstock collection are provided by Eastern European and Asian creators.

Raising Stock Photo Prices

By Jim Pickerell | 1105 Words | Posted 3/6/2017 | Comments
In the next few months I intend spend a lot of time examining the question, “Can the stock photo industry raise prices on at least some of the images it offers?” The possible answers to that question are either YES, NO or MAYBE.

Stock Photography: An Amateur Business

By Jim Pickerell | 862 Words | Posted 3/6/2017 | Comments
Can the stock photo industry survive if it is only a business of amateur suppliers? It is certainly on road to becoming that business. Gross sale rates have declined so much that most photographers who need revenue from the images they produce to support themselves and their business can no longer justify continued production. (Check out stories here and here.

Enterprise Mystery

By Jim Pickerell | 1109 Words | Posted 12/15/2016 | Comments
Shutterstock supplies very little information about their Enterprise customers and how Enterprise sales work. Yet it is an extremely important segment of their business and critical to understanding the company’s potential for future growth. At the end of Q3 2016 Shutterstock had 35,000 Enterprise customers up from 24,000 at the beginning of the year, or about a 46% increase in 9 months. How much of that 46% is real growth?

Shutterstock Growth Trends

By Jim Pickerell | 901 Words | Posted 12/6/2016 | Comments
I was asked recently if I am optimistic that Shutterstock will maintain its momentum in 2017? The short answer is YES, I believe Shuttrstock’s 2017 growth will continue on the same track as it has in the last two years. In 2014 revenue growth was 39%. In 2015 it was 30% and in 2016 it is expected to be around 18%. I expect the company will continue to maintain its DOWNWARD trend.

High-Level Thoughts On Stock Industry

By Jim Pickerell | 1831 Words | Posted 12/2/2016 | Comments
An investment portfolio manager recently asked me to spend five minutes giving my “high-level thoughts on the (stock photo) industry outlook, competitive dynamics and emerging trends.” I couldn’t do it in anywhere near five minutes. Here are my high-level thoughts.