Discount Pricing

Posted on 10/11/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 11, 2000

Discount prices don't always result in an increased volume of sales as SuperStock

discovered recently.

SuperStock Cancels Express Pricing

SuperStock has canceled the Express Pricing strategy they adopted in January and returned

to traditional pricing. See Story 276.

Gary Elsner, COO of Superstock, said, "We discovered that while customers care about

price, it is only at the final moment of the purchasing process."

"The first priority of picture buyers is to find the right image for their project. What

we learned is that they will use a variety of sources in the initial selection process.

When they find the image they want, then they deal with the pricing issues."

"We tried to add value by offering a simpler, easier way to purchase imagery, but it

didn't attract the customers. The buyers were unwilling to base their choice of image

providers solely on price."

Let me repeat, so you don't miss it. THE BUYERS WERE UNWILLING TO BASE THEIR CHOICE OF


"The final confirming factor that Express Pricing wasn't a useful strategy is that we

dropped it in August, went back to our old more complicated methods of pricing, and so

far most of our customers haven't picked up on the fact that there has been a change,"

Elsner continued.

Some SuperStock photographers report that their royalties have dropped more than 40%


"The results did not justify continuing this experiment," Elsner said.

Cutrate Royalty Free

On the other hand it seems that some in the industry never get the message.

PhotoSpin believes that Royalty Free photos are too expensive. They have launched a new

subscription service that dramatically lowers the prices they charge for RF images when

compared with the prices of their competitors.

Customers can now pay a single $99 per year subscription fee for unlimited accesss to low

resolution files of PhotoSpin's entire library of over 15,000 images. In addition

PhotoSpin expects to add 1,000 new images per month to this library and these will be

included in the subscription price.

For $199 per year customers can get a key to the full PhotoSpin collection, including

high-resolution, print-ready images and illustrations, and the complete library of video

clips, audio files, fonts and more.

There is also a FREE tier that gives interested customers limited access to the PhotoSpin

collection. (On the site it is hard to figure out what is available for free, but at

these prices who cares?)

"There is a huge need for this kind of service," says Val Gelineau, the CEO and

co-founder of PhotoSpin. "No one else is providing an open-ended 12-month ticket to an

entire library of high-quality images targeted towards professionals."

One of the many problems with this model is that graphic designers and ad agencies who

typically use RF bill the fees back to client projects. How will these buyers bill a

"subscription fee"? PhotoSpin may be moving toward the SOHO (small office/home office)

market which is not typical of what is generally happening in RF.

The PhotoSpin collection includes award-winning photographs, illustrations, video clips,

sound files, fonts, and more. PhotoSpin's OEM clients include MetaCreations, Live

Picture, Microsoft, Encad, Artville, Ulead,, Altamira Group, Scream

Design,, PixoArts, KGA and ScanSoft.

What About The High End?

Keep in mind Getty is now saying that the average price for a Stone image is $700 and

Stock Connection reported a couple months ago that the average price for the images they

licensed in the first half of 2000 was $925. Some clients are willing to pay more.

Copyright © 2000 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:  


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