iStock Raises Prices, Plans New Collection

Posted on 12/18/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

iStockphoto has announced its plans for next year, including new image pricing. While previous adjustments largely raised the cost of the credits while keeping the entire collection at the same price point, the 2009 strategy is markedly different and includes a higher priced collection of exclusive images.

Though some iStock buyers still long for the days when images cost $0.50, COO Kelly Thompson said: “Many customers do not have a problem with paying higher prices, particularly for images that are obviously more expensive to produce.” iStock is working on a collection that will make about 5% of the agency’s library—roughly 200,000 images—available at costs ranging from 10 to 60 credits, depending on file size. Although volume and subscription customers get a better deal, the baseline credit cost is also going up to $1.50, yielding a high-end licensing fee $90 for the largest image size.

To appeal to the most budget-conscious buyers, iStock is increasing the number of images in the Dollar Bin. The rest of the “standard” collection, currently selling for 1 to 20 credits, is also going up across all but the smallest file sizes, topping out at 28 credits per image. Similar adjustments and additional technology tweaks have also been announced for iStock’s Flash, audio and video offerings.

iStock has nearly doubled its revenues every year. Thompson said that two separate third-party studies found that 55% to 60% of all still images are licensed through the Getty Images-owned microstock. The company’s weekly contributor payouts are close to $1.1 million, which suggests an annual turnover of close to $200 million.

The new collection will further contribute to revenue growth. It will be open only to exclusive iStock contributors, who will nominate their own images for inclusion. Final decisions will be made by iStock’s team of reviewers, which currently includes over 100 people. Thompson said this process is similar to how iStock shooters currently contribute to the Getty collection.

In response to concerns of excessive preference for exclusive contributors and content, Thompson said: “We want to give exclusives more exposure, but we are fair to everyone.” He added that a new search algorithm will help ensure that most relevant search results are returned first.

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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