Alamy Sale: What Does It Mean?

Posted on 2/11/2020 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

Alamy may be the fifth largest company in the in the stock photo industry (after Getty Images, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and iStock) and has been doing reasonably well in a very sick industry.

Alamy’s latest reported sales figures are for 2018 and can be found on the Companies House website.  on October 17, 2019. This report was recorded on October 17, 2019 and shows that Alamy had gross annual sales of £22.7 million ($29,305,500 ).

It is worth noting that In 2008 Alamy reported gross revenue was $31.5 million. However, in 2009 as a result of the financial crisis they reported a 27% drop in revenue to $22,864,000.

In the last decade the company’s annual revenue increased 28% compared to 2009 levels, but it still hasn’t quite reached the 2008 level. (All the dollar figures I’m reporting are based on the current exchange rate, not the actual exchange rate at the time of reporting. As a result, there will certainly be some errors in the comparisons.)  

In 2013 CEO James West said that while the volume of downloads had essentially doubled between 2008 and 2012 (360,000 in 2012, up from under 200,000 in 2008) revenue for the the business had remained about the same.

It is also important to note that in early 2010 Alamy reported that they had 17,870,000 images in their collection. Today, they have more than 190,000,000 or 10.6 times the number they had in 2010. While the revenue generated has increased it has not grown nearly as much as the increase in available images and has still not reached 2008 levels.

Alamy is certainly licensing more image uses now than in 2008 or 2009, but the average prices per image used have declined so rapidly that additional sales don’t make up for the declining price. This is true industry wide.

Assuming that the gross 2018 revenue of $29,305,500 was about the same in 2019, and recognizing that they have more than 190,000,000 in the collection now, the average gross annual revenue generated per-image-in-the-collection was about $0.154, or 15.4 cents. Alamy said the cost of sales in 2018 was £11,196,277 or $14,454,300. I believe cost of sales is primarily the royalty fee paid the image creator so on average image creators currently receive annually about $0.076 (7.6 cents) for each image they have in the collection.

Alamy also had a net 2018 loss of £1,310,387 ($1,691,700).

PA Media Group had gross 2018 sales of £70.2 million ($90,627,600). Add Alamy’s £22.7million ($29,305,500) to that and PA Media Groups gross sales in 2020 will probably be somewhere around $120 million with Alamy representing about 24% of their gross business.

The business of PA Media Group is heavily oriented toward editorial. While Alamy has a strong editorial side of its collection, traditionally the Advertising and Creative side of the industry has generated 75% or more of the revenue. It is not at all clear how that breaks down for Alamy. Their editorial collection may represent much more than 25% of their total gross revenue.

For many of Alamy’s contributors it will be important as to how well the new owners handle sales to the Advertising, Corporate and Creative side of the business.

In addition, prices for Creative uses have dropped to almost editorial levels so maybe it no longer makes any difference who the buyers are, or how they intend to use the images. Everything will be sold at commodity prices.

I have been asked what I think about the merger. I think James recognized that there wasn’t much he, or anyone, could do to grow a stock photo business and that the Advertising and Creative side of the it was time to take what he could get out of what he had built and invest it in some other way.

Good luck James.

Copyright © 2020 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • John T Fowler Posted Feb 12, 2020
    So what? Tell me something I need to kno to help my stock sales grow.

  • Tibor Bognar Posted Feb 15, 2020
    In my nearly 40 years in this business I've found that every time an agency is sold the new owners end up imposing harsher conditions on contributors. Ask any former Corbis contributor now with Getty.
    John: This is a dying industry and there is probably not much you can do about it, sorry!
    I do hope I'm wrong on both counts, but...

  • George Oze Posted Feb 15, 2020
    The question is if the new owners bought Alamy for the revenue stream only or they have plans to improve sales by extensive marketing. Alamy has one the highest industry royalty rate which might be the target as well. I have bad experience with buy outs like this.

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