Call To Action - (CtoA)

Posted on 11/26/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Recently I was told by a stock agency that my Photographer Income Survey Results were not relevant to Specialist Agencies because the results are “rather negative and don’t offer a possible positive call to action.” In the following series of stories I will outline a “Positive Call to Action” for stock agencies.

In summary, the most important first step is to pressure Getty Images to stop licensing images from it's Creative collection for fees of less than $10.00.

Of course, Getty will say, “We can’t do that. We’ll lose customers to Shutterstock and Adobe if we don’t give customers everything they need for whatever price they say they can afford to pay.”

I will present arguments that while they will undoubtedly lose some customers, they will end up making MORE MONEY.

In order to make such an argument, Specialist Agencies must go through a several step process. However, in the end, I believe they will have irrefutable evidence proving that not only will the agencies benefit, but Getty will also. Getty seems to not have considered this evidence.

The steps include:
    1 – Recognizing that individual agencies have more power and leverage when they work together. (See here)
    2 – Each agency must independently analyze its 2018 Getty sales data.  (See here)
    3 – Share the results of their analysis with other Specialist Agencies.  (See here)
    4 – If steps 2 and 3, produce the combined results I expect, then join together in presenting the results to Getty. (See here)

    5 - Show Getty that by raising prices on some of its lowest end sales the company could actually benefit, even if they lose a number of customers.
Most of the below $10 licenses result from Getty’s Premium Access program. This program, established more than a decade ago, has been recognized for years as a disaster by photographers and Specialist Agencies. As Getty gives more and more customers PA deals, it has steadily moved to destroy the industry for professional creators.

Based on a recent analysis of some of Getty’s major stock photo producers 56% of licenses were PA deals. Of all licenses in the past year 63% were below $10.00 so the problem is not entirely with PA, but it is a major contributor. According to my analysis 33% of licenses were for prices under $5.00.

With PA Getty tells its major volume customers that if they pay a certain fixed amount monthly then they can have as many images as they need. No limit. Prices for the monthly deal may vary, but the “no limit” can result in extremely low average prices-per-image used.

Thus, suppose the price charged is $1,000 a month. If the customer downloads 100 images the average price is $10.00, but it is more likely that this customer will download 200, 300 or even more. Getty takes its 80% share of the $1,000 off the top and then divides the number of images downloaded into the $200 remaining to determine each individual photographer’s or specialist agency’s royalty share of the sale.

No matter how short the exposure time on the Internet there must be a reasonable minimum price. At the ridiculously low prices currently being charged production costs cannot be offset unless there is a huge increase in individual uses. Clearly, nothing like the volume of use needed is occurring.

Getty needs to tell its customers, “Pay us $1,000 a month and you can download up to 100 images in the month. If you use more in any given month we will bill you an $10.00 for each additional image used.” (They might also charge a slightly higher price for each additional image to encourage customers to pay a higher monthly fee that will cover their actual needs.)

To make matters worse, the customers paying little or nothing, are not small users. In many cases they are major corporations that are significant users of images, but are more interested in increasing profits for their shareholders, than fairly compensating their suppliers.

Copyright © 2018 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

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Piotr Jaczewski Posted Nov 27, 2018
    Great initiative. Fingers crossed!

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