Revenue Per Image Comparisons

Posted on 5/30/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Most photographers use two different figures to track revenue trends – revenue Per-Image-Licensed and revenue Per-Image-In-Collection. It’s easy for a photographer to figure his own per-image-licensed figure, but it is very difficult to determine how that might stack up with all photographers because the specifics of the number of images are usually not available even when you know (or have some idea of) the gross revenue collected during the period.

I often talk about average revenue per image licensed, but today I’m going to look at Revenue-Per-Image-In-The-Collection (RPIITC) for 2015.

I believe Getty’s gross Creative revenue in 2015 was about $280 million. This may be off a little, but I believe It’s in the ballpark. Currently they have 15,101,920 images in the Creative collection and about 36% of them are RM. They have added a lot of images in 2016 so this is an inflated figure in terms of the number of images on the site at the end of 2015, but I’ll work with what I have.

I believe the revenue breakdown for RM and RF was about the same as the size of the collections or $100 million for RM and $180 million for RF. Using those figures here’s how the RPIITC breaks down for Getty Images in 2015.

    2015 2006
Getty RF      
  Gross revenue $180,000,000 $294,930,000
  Images in the Collection 9,621,739 787.281
  Average annual revenue per image $18.71 $374.62
  20% Royalty $3.74 $74.92
Getty RM      
  Gross revenue $100,000,000 $325,700,000
  Images in the Collection 5,480,181 973,933
  Average annual revenue per image $18.25 $334.42
  35% royalty $6.39 $117.05

These figures are for the Creative collection and do not count video and editorial.

I estimate that the number of RM images licensed in the year was about 400,000 and the number of RF was about 2,000,000. If a photographer can make twice as many RF sales as RM then the comparative average annual royalty is $7.48 to $6.39. Remember, that on average it appears that there were 5 times as many RF sales as RM.

See here and here for more historic numbers.


Gross Revenue estimated $11,000,000 to $14,000,000
Images in the collection approximagely 300,000
Average annual return per image estimated between ($36.66 and to $46.66)
Royalty 29% estimated $12 ($10.63 to $13.53)

Based on discussions with contributors, I estimate that something in the range of 30,000 uses of Offset images were licensed in 2015.

My estimate for Enterprise still images is about $104 million annually. Offset is part of this. There is also a Premium Selects (PS) collection that is only available for viewing by Offset customers. As best we can determine the size of the PS collection is about the same as Offset and the prices are a little lower ranging from $150 to $400. A significant part of the images used by Enterprise clients must be from the general collection and offered at prices that are slightly higher than IOD and Subscription prices. Customers are willing to pay these higher prices because they receive additional services such as custom research, monthly billing and indemnity.


Gross revenue $7,928,745
Images in collection 437,401
Average annual per image $18.13
Royalty share -- 54.5% paid out on average $9.88


It is also in also interesting to compare the above figures with what has been happening at Shutterstock in the last couple of years in terms of Return Per-Image-In-The-Collection.

  2015 2013
Gross Sales $374,000,000 $225,500,000
Images in Collection 71,400,000 32,200,000
Average annual Revenue Per Image $5.24 $7.00
Royalty Share – 29% 1.52 $2.03

These figures do not count video and editorial.

Copyright © 2016 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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