Questions Agencies Should Be Asking

Posted on 4/4/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Here is a list of 13 questions agencies should consider asking themselves. They might even want to consider asking their top producing photographers and illustrators questions 3, 4 and 7.

First the agency should organize its sales based based the on gross 2016 revenue generated by each contributor. Starting with the contributor who generated the most revenue and working down determine the smallest number of contributors that generated 50% of the company’s gross revenue in 2016. Next, identify the smallest number of contributors that represent 75% of the company’s gross revenue.
    Based on my January analysis of iStock contributors and my July 2016 report probably around 1% of the contributors generate 50% to 75% of all the agency’s revenue. I suspect the same is true for most other big agencies.
Do the same calculations for years 2014 and 2015.?

1 – Compare the 2016 list to 2015 and 2014. Are there a lot of new contributors on the list each year, or is it mostly made up of the same contributors?

2 – In 2016 how many of these contributors added as many, or more, new images to the collection as they added during 2015? Do the same calculation for 2015 compared to 2014.

3 - If contributors cut back on their production what were the reasons?

Was the number of top producers cutting back on production greater in 2016 than in 2015 or 2014?

4 - Is there anything the agency can do to encourage these contributors?

Would it help if contributors were given more specific information about the type of images that are in greatest demand and generating the most revenue for the agency? Contributors need information about the relative demand for certain types of office shots, relative to children playing, families at home, travel or wildlife shots. They need better information about what specifically the agency is selling, not just information about their own sales, if they are to use their shooting time most productively.

5- Has your average revenue-per-image-licensed for these top contributors been growing annually?

If not, what was the percentage of decline?

6 -Does your agency need those who are cutting back on production, or will new contributors entering the market produce enough of the kind or images customers are purchasing? Will the new contributors be able to replace the work of those who are dropping out?

7 – How many of these top contributors are dependent for their livelihood on earning a significant percentage of their income from the stock images they produce? If their stock income is declining are they forced to look for another source of income?

8 – What percentage of those cutting back on production live and work in North America or the European Union?

9 – What percentage of your gross annual revenue comes from customers in North America or European Union countries?

10 - What percentage of the images you actually license (not just images in the collection) come from Eastern European (non EU) and Asian creators?

11 – What percentage of the images you have in your collection come from Eastern European (non EU) and Asian creators? How has that changed in the last 2 or 3 years?

12 - What percentage of your gross revenue comes from images produced by Eastern European and Asian creators? Is that increasing?

13 – Will images produced by Eastern European and Asian creators satisfy most of the needs of the North America and European Union customers?

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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