Image Source Bucks Industry Pricing Trend

Posted on 4/3/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Since the beginning of 2008, U.K. royalty-free producer Image Source has been phasing in a new pricing structure, along with several other changes in how it markets stock. According to company co-CEO Duncan Grossart, these changes support Image Source's core goal of remaining at the highest end of the stock-image market.

New Web-use license

It has taken Image Source eight months to follow Getty Images' example by offering a Web-use license for 500-kilobyte images. While other independents, including Masterfile, described the then-controversial $49 product as pragmatic, Image Source did not allow Getty to market its production at that price. At the time, company founder and CEO Christina Vaughan said that more information was needed.

Now, the Image Source brand is available at $49 through Some insiders say the move results from supposedly fewer Image Source sales coming through Getty, given that the London agency initially refusal to jump on the bandwagon. Last September, there were rumors that Getty had adjusted its search-return order to punish Image Source. These guesses remain unsubstantiated. In an official statement, Image Source said it is responding to market demand.

Still, the agency continues to sell Web-use images for much more than $49 through Image Source Direct, its own online marketplace. There, a 500-kilobyte low-res file retails for £90 (roughly $180 at today's exchange rates), nearly quadruple the Getty price tag for the same imagery.

Across-the-board price hike

An observer could expect an overall price drop to accompany Image Source's Web-use license concession. However, the agency actually raised its prices, in some cases by rather significant margins. The previous Black, Pink and White pricing tiers have been consolidated into Image Source Premium, uniting the entire royalty-free collection under one price point.

As of April, this price change is reflected on the Image Source Web site, as well as by its extensive network of distributors. For example, Getty Images marketed high-resolution files from the White collection within the $269 to $399 in late December. Today, Image Source Premium commands $380 to $520 for the same file sizes through On its own Web site, prices of these files range from £320 ($638) to £420 ($837), providing further insight into the U.S. dollar's position on the global financial market.

Changing collection

Image Source has trimmed its offering, removing over 12,500 images from the new collection. Older content, such as the photo of the pink-haired girl that served to out a hush-hush deal with Fotolia, is now sold only through low-priced outlets. In the long term, this may confirm the viability of microstock Web sites as a marketing channel for outdated image products.

The company is also expanding its e-commerce inventory. Most recently, it has incorporated fair-trade photography collection World Portraits, launched last year in the Netherlands. World Portraits, which offers model-released imagery shot in developing countries and compensates its models with a 20% share of sales proceeds, brings new markets to Image Source.

Other brands currently represented by Image Source Direct include Hola Images, Artbox Images, Aurora Photos, Images Bazaar and Cultura. All command premium pricing in the £60 to £499 range. Starting at £120 for a low-res Web-use image, the World Portraits collection is priced closest to the most expensive Image Source Premium.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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