Shutterstock Q1 2019 Financial Results

Posted on 4/25/2019 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock has reported Q1 2019 revenue of $163.3 million up $6.7% compared to Q1 2018,  (excluding Webdam which was sold in the first quarter of 2018). The revenue was almost flat with the $162.1 million generated in the previous quarter. During the conference call CFO Steven Berns pointed out that traditionally revenue for Q1 is very similar to revenue in Q4 of the previous year. Revenue per download averaged $3.42 per image, compared to $3.40 in Q1 2018.

Total image and video downloads for Q1 were 47.2 million, up from 43.7 million a year earlier, and 46.8 million in Q4 2018. At the end of the quarter Shutterstock had over 260 million images and 14 million video clips, or 274 million pieces of content in its collection.

Currently, more than 750,000 photographers, videographers, musicians, artists and designers have contributed to the Shutterstock collection, an 88% increase in the last 12 months. About 26.3% of revenue in the quarter,or $42,950,000, was paid out to contributors. Thus, the average contributor earned $57.27 in the quarter. Of course, a huge percentage of contributors earned nothing for their efforts.

About 40% of the revenue, or $65,320,000, came from Enterprise customers. The last we were told there were about 40,000 Enterprise customers meaning that the average Enterprise customer spent about $1,633 during the quarter.

At the end of 2018 we were told that Shutterstock had a total of 1.9 million customers. If we subtract the Enterprise customers that leaves 1,860,000 E-commerce customers who spent a total of about $98,000,000, or an average of $52.69 each during the quarter to purchase imagery.

Sales and marketing expenses were about 27% of total revenue, or about $44.09 million. These costs are roughly split between the amount spent to operate the Enterprise sales operation and direct marketing, most of it online advertising.

Product development costs were about 8% of total revenue, down from 10% a year ago and due mostly to lower personnel and consulting costs. General and Administrative expenses represented about 14% of total revenue.

Future Guidance

Revenue for all of 2019 is expected to between $685 and $695 million, a slight adjustment on the top end compared with what they announced at the beginning of the year. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $118 and $123 million, representing growth of 12% to 17%. Income from operations should be between $37 and $47 million. Capital expenditures, including capitalized labor, should be approximately $37 million and the effective tax rate should be in low to mid 20% range.

Commenting on the Company's performance, founder and CEO Jon Oringer said, "We had a solid start to 2019 with continued profitable revenue growth as well as progress on key strategic initiatives.  Our customers are responding positively to the many ways we are enhancing their experience by providing them with the content and tools they need.  In the first quarter, we continued ongoing localization efforts, making our contributor site available in 21 languages, and launching in-app contributor registration making it easier than ever to sign up as a Shutterstock contributor. We also improved the performance of our site and continued to make improvements to the customer experience on our platform.

"We also launched our first brand campaign in six years, 'It's not stock, it's Shutterstock,' which is designed to showcase the unparalleled quality and depth of our creative content library and results show that it is resonating with the creative community."


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q4 2016. Video downloads are included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q2 2014 see here.) The “Rev Per DL” is the “Downloads” times the “Avg Rev per DL. This differs slightly from “Total Rev.” because a small percentage of revenue comes from other activities not associated with stock content downloads. The 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.

  Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1
  2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 2018 2018 2018 2018 2019
Downloads (millions) 41.1 43.5 42.7 41.9 43.9 43.7 45.2 43.9 46.8 47.2
Avg Rev per DL $3.02 $2.96 $3.05 $3.23 $3.33 $3.40 $3.41 $3.40 $3.40 $3.42
Images/video in collection 116.2 132 144.7 155.8 170.1 196.8 215.1 233 254.8 274.8
Total Rev. (millions) $130.2 $130.2 $134.0 $141.1 $151.8 $153 $156.6 $151.6 $162.1 $163.3
Rev. Per DL (millions) $124.12 $128.76 $130.24 $135.34 $146.19 $148.58 $154.13 $149.26 $159.1 $161.42
Rev/Image $1.12 $0.98 $0.93 $0.90 $0.89 $0.81 $0.73 $0.65 $0.62 $0.59
% Image Lic 35% 32% 30% 26% 25% 23% 21% 18% 18% 17%

    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, I 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 at a much faster rate than image downloads are increasing. For example, if a contributor had 1,000 images in the collection in Q4 2016 on average he would have had 350 downloads in the quarter. In Q1 2019 a collection with 1,000 image would have only had 170 downloads. Back in Q2 2014 a contributor with a 1,000 image collection could have expected to see 840 downloads in a quarter.

Income from Operations

Income from operations of $8.1 million increased by $3.6 million, or 80.4%, as compared to the first quarter of 2018, primarily as a result of revenue growth continuing to outpace operating expense growth. Operating expenses increased $6.7 million, or 4.5%, primarily as a result of increased expenditures for royalties associated with our increased revenues and sales and marketing costs associated with increased performance marketing.  These increases were partially offset by declines in product development and general and administrative expenses.

Net Income

Net income of $7.5 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, decreased $25.1 million for the first quarter of 2019 as compared with $32.6 million, or $0.92 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2018, primarily driven by the recognition of a gain on the Sale of Webdam, net of tax, of $27.9 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Adjusted Net Income

Adjusted net income was $12.4 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2019 as compared to $10.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of $1.8 million, or 16.7%. We define adjusted net income as net income excluding the impact of non-cash equity-based compensation, the amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets, expenses related to long-term incentives and contingent consideration related to acquisitions, the gain on the Sale of Webdam and the estimated tax impact of such adjustments.

Copyright © 2019 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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