Shutterstock Q2 2018 Financial Results

Posted on 8/1/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock has reported Q2 2018 revenue of $156.6 million up $22.6 million or 16.9% compared to Q2 2017. (The comparison excludes the 2017 revenue from Webdam which was divested in Q1 2018.) Revenue per download averaged $3.41 per image, an increase of 12% over Q2 2017. (Much of this growth is probably due to increased sales of video content offered at much higher prices than still image content.)

Total downloads for Q1 were 45.2 million, up from 42.7 million a year earlier. At the end of the quarter the company had 204.2 million images and 10.2 million videos or 215.1 million pieces of content in its collection. Compared to the previous year the image and video collection combined expanded by about 49%.

During the quarter they had a loss of $4.8 million relating to the impairment of Shutterstock’s long-term investment in SilverHub Media.

Revenue generated through the company’s e-commerce platform increased approximately 11.6% as compared to the second quarter of 2017 to $91.7 million, representing 58.6% of total revenue in the second quarter of 2018. Revenue from enterprise customers increased approximately 34.9% as compared to 2017, to $64.9 million, representing 41.4% of total revenue in the second quarter of 2018.

During the quarter the company celebrated its 15th anniversary. Since Shutterstock’s launch in 2003, more than 450,000 photographers, videographers, musicians, artists and designers have contributed content to the platform. It is important to note that since the company pays out about 26.8% of gross revenue to contributors the average contributor earned about $93.26 in the quarter, or $373.00 annually. Of course, the vast majority of contributors earn much less from the imagery they have contributed and a very small percentage earn significantly more.

At the end of the quarter Shutterstock had about 1.9 million customers meaning that the average customer spent $82.42 with Shutterstock during the quarter. It seems obvious that many customers purchased nothing during the quarter.


The chart below shows some of the trends in downloads, images in the collection and revenue growth since Q1 2016. Video downloads are not included in this calculation. (For earlier data going back to Q3 2013 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.

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2
  2016 2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017 2017 2018 2018
Downloads (millions) 41.2 43.4 41.2 41.1 43.5 42.7 41.9 43.9 43.7 45.2
Rev.per DL $2.77 $2.81 $2.91 $3.02 $2.96 $3.05 $3.23 $3.33 $3.40 $3.41
Images/video in collection 81.0 92.1 102.7 116.2 132 144.7 155.8 170.1 196.8 215.1
Total Rev. (millions) $116.7 $124.3 $123.1 $130.2 $130.2 $134.0 $141.1 $151.8 $153 $156.6
Rev/Image $1.44 $1.34 $1.20 $1.12 $0.98 $0.93 $0.90 $0.89 $0.81 $0.73
% Image Lic 51% 47% 40% 35% 32% 30% 26% 25% 23% 21%
    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 Q1 2016 on average he would have had 510 downloads in that quarter. In Q2 2018 a collection with 1,000 image would have only had 210 downloads. Back in Q2 2013 a contributor with a 1,000 image collection could have expected to see 870 downloads in a quarter.

Future Outlook

The full year guidance for 2018 remains at between $625 and $635 million or about 15% to 17% growth compared to in 2017. There has been no change in the guidance since the first of the year. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $105 to $110 million, representing growth of approximately 19% to 25%.

Sales Breakdown

About 33% of sales were in the U.S. with roughly 33% in Europe and 34% in Asia/Pacific Latin America, Canada and the Middle East combined. These percentages are very similar to what the breakdown has been for some time.

Expense Increases

Sales and Marketing expenses were about 26% of total revenue. These costs were split roughly equally between branded performance marketing and the personnel costs of those charged with working with the Enterprise customers. These costs increased about 28% compared to Q1 2017.

Product and Development costs were 38% higher in Q2 2018 than in Q2 2017. This was mostly the result of higher personnel and consulting costs involved in re-engineering the company's platform in order to better service customers and make better and more efficient use of the data Shutterstock is collecting.

General and Administrative Expenses were down 13.5% from Q1 2018 and up 5% Q2 2017. As a percentage of revenue G&A expenses were 13.1% compared to 14.6% in the Q2 2017.

The company saved some money on taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Job Act passed by the U.S. Congress late last year. During the 6 months ending June 30, 2018 the net taxes for the company were a cash refund of $124,000 compared to $3.3 million paid in the comparable period of 2017.

Copyright © 2018 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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