Open Letter To CEPIC Attendees

Posted on 6/2/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

In less than two weeks representatives from major stock photo agencies and distributors around the world will be meeting at the CEPIC Congress in Berlin. The stock photo industry has changed dramatically in the last decade or two and faces major challenges as it moves ahead.

Technology has brought about dramatic changes in the way professional images are distributed. Prices have declined dramatically. There has been an explosion in the number of image creators  as well as the number of images available in virtually every subject.

Despite the growth - and maybe because of it - creators and distributors are finding it much more difficult to earn a reasonable living, or even a reasonable return on time and money invested.  Strategy changes may be needed.

The following is an open letter to CEPIC Attendees with some recommendations of things to consider as they plan for these meetings.

Dear CEPIC Attendee:

The stock photo industry is going through a major transition period. Past strategies that led to success may no longer be working. Traditional practices may no longer be applicable.

As you prepare to attend the CEPIC Congress on June 14th thru 17th the following are a number of questions and data points concerning the state of your own agency’s business that you might want to review in order to be able to engage in productive discussions with other participants.

1 – Compared to 2015 what was your agency’s revenue trend in 2016?
    Growth greater than 10%
    Grow between 5% and 10%
    Flat (less than +/- 5%
    Decline between 5% and 10%
    Decline greater than 10%
2 – Compared to 2015 the number of images licensed by your agency in 2016:
    Grew by more than 10%
    Grew between 5% and 10%
    Flat (less than +/- 5%
    Declined between 5% and 10%
    Declined by more than 10%
3 – What was your average revenue per image licensed in 2016?
    (For reference purposes here are some historical and recent averages:
In 2006 for Getty RM $536.11
In 2006 for Getty RF $292.45
A recent major RM contributor to Getty $42.05
A recent major iStock exclusive contributor $9.17
Shutterstock’s – 166,900,000 images licensed $2.96
    (On average each image in the Shutterstock collection was licensed 1.43 times in 2016.)
4 - Are your contributors who do expensive production shoots cutting back on new productions?
        Yes      No
5 – If contributors are cutting back is that a problem? Are customers using more natural, real life, target of opportunity images that are less expensive to produce? In the future will you need much less of the more expensive, planned productions in order to satisfy the needs of your customers? (Have you really tracked this usage?)

6 - What percentage of your gross annual revenue comes from sales in North America and Western Europe?

7 - What percentage of the images you actually license (not just images in your collection) are produce by Eastern European (non EU) and Asian creators??

For background on these issues click here for links to some recent Selling Stock stories that might be of interest.

Copyright © 2017 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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