Shutterstock 2015 Financial Results

Posted on 2/24/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock has reported Q4 2015 revenue of $115.9 million and a total of $425.1 million in revenue for all of 2015. The full year revenue was up about 30% from $328 million in 2014.

Approximately, $8.6 million of the annual revenue was generated by Rex Features and PremiumBeat that were acquired during Q1 2015, and the impact of foreign currency exchanges. Excluding these contributions to revenue the company’s revenue growth was approximately 27% in 2015 down from 39% in the previous year.

During the conference call it was reported that Rex and Penske Media had covered more than 200 events and added over 200,000 images to the editorial collection during the year.

Royalties paid to contributors during the year were about 29% of total revenue, or approximately $124 million. Currently, there are over 100,000 contributors meaning that the average contributor earned $1,240 during the year. Marketing expenses were about 23% of total revenue or $98 million.

The average price per download during the quarter was $2.86 up from $2.76 in Q3. But with the exception of Q3 the average price has been around $2.86 for the full year (see chart below). This would indicate that pricing is very stable and the mix between subscriptions, Image-On-Demand and higher priced Enterprise sales has been about the same throughout the year. As you will note there was a steady rise in the average price in the previous years.


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q3 2013. Video downloads are not included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q1 2011 see here.) The "Rev/Image" row is "the average revenue per image in the collection." For this figure I divide total revenue by the sum of still images.
  Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
  2013 2013 2014 2014 2014 2014 2015 2015 2015 2015
Downloads (millions) 25.4 28 29.7 31.5 31.2 33.5 33.4 35.9 38.1 39.8
Rev.per DL $2.35 $2.43 $2.45 $2.52 $2.65 $2.68 $2.87 $2.85 $2.76 $2.86
Images in collection
31.3 32.2 35.4.1 38.8 42.7 46.8 51.6 57.2 63.7 71.4
Total Rev. (millions) $56.8 $68 $72.8 $80.2 $83.7 $91.2 $97.5 $104.4 $107.3 $115.9
Rev/Image $1.81 $2.10 $2.06 $2.07 $1.96 $1.95 $1.89 $1.83 $1.68 $1.62
% Image Lic 81% 86% 80% 84% 81% 72% 65% 63% 60% 56%

    The "% Image Lic” row measures the odds that a single image in the collection will have been licensed one time within the quarter. To arrive at this number, we divide the total downloads by the number of images in the collection at the end of the quarter. This number is significant because it shows that new images are being added to the collection at a rate faster than image downloads are increasing. For example, if a contributor had 1000 images in the collection in Q4 2013 on average he would have had 860 downloads in that quarter. The same 1000 images in the collection in Q4 2015 would have only resulted in 560 downloads.

Estimated Breakdown Of Revenue

My estimates of how total 2015 revenue breaks down in terms of number of downloads and revenue for each segment of Shutterstock's business are as follows:

  Shutterstock Percent Average Total 2015
  & Bigstock Total
Price Per Downloads
  Revenue Revenue
Subscription $166,600,000 40% $1.25 133,280,000
Image on Demand
$104,125,000 25% $9.50 10,960,526
Enterprise $104,125,000 25% $50 2,082,500
Video & Music $41,650,000 10% $60 694,167
  $416,500,000 100%   147,017,193
Rex, Premium Beat, Other
Total 2015 Revenue $425,100,000      

Financial Outlook

Revenue for all of 2016 is expected to be between $495 and $510 million. This would result in between 17% and 20% growth over 2015 revenue. It is worth noting that while revenue is continuing to grow the rate of growth is slowing.

Year Gross Annual Percent
  Revenue Rev. Growth Rev. Growth
2011 $120.3    
2012 $169.2 $48.9 41%
2013 $235.5 $66.3 40%
2014 $327.9 $92.5 39%
2015 $425.1 $97.2 30%
2016 Estimate $500.0 $74.9 18%


Shutterstock says they have 1.5 million customers, but it is not clear if all of those people who have purchased images in the last 12 years continue to buy some images every year. My rough estimate of the share of revenue from Subscriptions is around $166,600,000. The annual prices for subscriptions vary between $2,028 and $2,388. Assuming that most subscription customers purchase the service for an entire year that would mean that there are roughly 75,000 subscription customers.

Currently there are over 24,000 Enterprise customers. The gross revenue generated from these customers is about $144 million (Enterprise plus Video categories) meaning that the average Enterprise customer spends about $6,000 a year. However, there are a number of clients who spend tens-of-thousands annually. In the past year the number of customers spending over $100,000 annually increased by 70%.

The remaining $104 million in revenue comes from customers who purchase Images-On-Demand. On average these customers spend $74.28 a year for the images they get from Shutterstock.

The company reported that 39% of revenue came from North America, 34% from Europe and 27% from the Rest of the World. In the past they have said that 70% of revenue comes from outside the U.S. meaning that about 9% of revenue comes from Canada and Mexico and 30% from the U.S. They also indicated that Asia is a strong part of the Rest of the World and that sales are particularly strong in Korea, Germany and the UK. 

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA of $84.7 million increased $13.6 million or 19% as compared to the full year of 2014. The 30% revenue growth was partially offset by an increase in operating expenses primarily from higher royalty costs associated with the increase in paid downloads.
Additionally, 2015 included higher personnel and marketing expenses to support growth, severance costs associated with executive management and operating costs from businesses acquired during the first quarter of 2015.

Net Income

Net income available to common stockholders for the full year was $19.6 million ($0.54 per diluted share). That decreased 11% as compared with $22.0 million ($0.61 per diluted share) in 2014. Improved operating performance in 2015 was partially offset by an increase in non-cash equity-based compensation expense, changes in the fair value of contingent consideration, amortization of acquisition related intangible assets and an unrealized non-cash loss associated with foreign currency movements.


The Company's cash, cash equivalents and short term investments totaled $288.4 million at December 31, 2015 as compared to $288.3 million at December 31, 2014, primarily reflecting the $85.3 million of cash generated from operations, which was partially offset by cash paid for acquisitions of approximately $65.0 million and cash used to repurchase shares of approximately $15.6 million.  The Company generated $25.9 million of cash from operations in the fourth quarter of 2015, as compared to $23.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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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