Has Microstock Caused Industry Revenue To Decline?

Posted on 1/28/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

Some believe that microstock has resulted in a contraction of total stock-image revenues, but this is not beyond dispute. Though microstock is showing signs of slowing growth, 2009 may still see an overall revenue reduction, as recession pushes buyers to lower-priced images.

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Copyright © 2009 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Tim Mcguire Posted Jan 28, 2009

    You make no mention of the new perpetual and broad rights granted in licenses for the use of RF images. That must have created an added negative affect on RM sales in the 90's and early 2000's.

  • Jonathan Ross Posted Jan 28, 2009
    Hi Jim,

    Even being one of the photographers that has made some small investments in Micro I also see that Micro does not look like the same opportunity that was created when Macro RF was introduced. Even in your own numbers if Micro had come into the picture at an average sale price of half of Macro RF as Macro RF had become of Macro RM then maybe there could be room for all three models to work together. I am not sold on the third model but I do believe the future is hard to predict.
    If Micro had just set it's start price at $50 dollars just in the same sense Macro RF did with RM we might have three tiers that can work together and offer the buyer all the price and quality they need and make a strong enough return for the photographer. At the current price point of Micro I think it will be very hard to make a strong income in this new industry for many, I believe the price point must rise but that is not what I am hearing from the Micro agencies.
    One thing to remember is that Micro is here to stay to some extent and it will be important to find a way to work with it or around it to make stock photography your business.

    Two Cents,
    Jonathan Ross

  • Martin Borek Posted Jan 29, 2009
    Dear Jim:
    thank you very much for this analysis. It seeems absolutely right what you say about the market changes- after working in it for almost three decades I feel the same. I believe that Microstock will be used more during the economic crisis. Even on the cover of Germanys important magazine STERN they had used a Microstock picture in a collage. And in other Gruner + Jahr publication I also saw Microstock, too.
    Do you have an idea when RF really started and what brands next to Photodisc were on the market? And were the Clip-Art discs also what we later called RF? And does anybody know exactly when Microstock started and who offered it?
    Best, Klaus

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