Videoblocks Gives Still Photo Producers 100% Royalties

Posted on 4/27/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

VideoBlocks is now accepting images for its new artist-friendly stock Photo Marketplace that will reward photo contributors with 100 percent commission from their sales. That 100% is $3.99 per still image download less third-party fees (like credit card charges) incurred when processing the transactions.

Seeing this price many photographers may reject the offer out of hand. But, this is a very different business model from traditional stock agency businesses. Instead of paying a percentage royalty, contributors receive the full amount that the customer pays to use their work. Photographers are encouraged to read on and consider this option for earning revenue from their images.

VideoBlocks says, “In a market where stock photo prices have dropped while commissions have been cut, we believe photographers deserve more. VideoBlocks' new Marketplace will be comprised of images sourced from the industry's most talented photographers and content creators.”

Understanding VideoBlocks.

To understand the potential this business model offers, it is important for still photographers to understand what VideoBlocks has done for videographers since it was founded in 2009.  The company currently has about 200,000 subscribers that pay $149 a year for unlimited access to a collection of about 100,000 video clips and After Effects as well as 500,000 still photos, illustrations and vectors under the brand name Graphicstock. To date they have had more than 55,719,151 downloads.

They acquired this content by paying the creators of these videos and images an upfront fee for non-exclusive rights to license unlimited use of this content forever. Once a customer downloads a clip or an illustration they can also make unlimited non-exclusive use of that content forever.

However, in 2015, in order to grow their collection with more high quality content they created the VideoBlocks Marketplace. Customers still needed a subscription to access any of the Marketplace content, and their subscription still entitled them to download any of the non-Marketplace content at no additional cost. But, if they want a Marketplace clip they must  pay an additional $49 for each HD clip or $199 for each 4K clip. Creators received 100% of what customers pay for these clips. Unlike other photo agencies, VideoBlocks covers its costs of operation and profits from the annual subscription fees paid.

Since most other video suppliers were charging $79 for an HD clip and $299 for a 4K this offer has had a big appeal to both customers and creators. Two years later the Video Marketplace has more than 4 million clips and has paid out over $6 million in royalties to creators. Many videographers report that they earn twice as much from VideoBlocks as they earn from other agencies where they have placed the same clips on a non-exclusive basis.

Photo Marketplace

The Photo Marketplace is collecting images now and expects to make the images publically available to customers in the fall of 2017. It will work in the same way as VideoBlocks successful Video Marketplace.

To get an idea of the potential this strategy offers to photographers and illustrators consider some of these numbers.

Recently, I’ve done some analysis of the sales of major photographers with images on and These photographers received a royalty of less than $4.00 for 90% of the licenses. In 44% of the cases the royalty was less than $1.00. At this point a guaranteed $3.99 royalty for each license looks a lot better. Considering the volume of sales these photographers made – even when a few of the sales were well over $500 – they would have earned quite a bit more if they had been paid $3.99 for every sale. It may be worthwhile checking your own records.

About 10% of Getty’s revenue comes from footage. The rest comes from licensing uses to still images and illustration. If we look at the world market for footage I believe it may represent 20% of all the revenue generated from licensing photos, illustrations and footage. However, we must also remember that much of the footage that is being licensed is historical news footage or outtakes from television and movie productions. If we were able to separate out the revenue from footage that is produced specifically for stock licensing 10% or a little more may be a reasonable estimate of how the demand for footage relates to the demand for still images and illustration.

Thus, if the demand for stills is 8 or 9 times the demand footage, is it possible that the Photo Marketplace could generate 8 or 9 times the $6 million in royalty payments VideoBlocks has paid out in two years?

VideoBlocks sees this new product as the logical next step in expanding its existing service offerings and providing the mass creative community with access to the highest quality, and most affordable, stock media available.

"The success of our Video Marketplace, helping artists earn more through our unrivaled 100% commissions, as well as the incredible choice and savings we have passed on to our members, gave us the confidence that we could build a truly different kind of Photo Marketplace," said TJ Leonard, CEO of VideoBlocks. "Our members told us they were fed up with expiring credits and pricing schemes that required a calculator to figure out what you were paying for an image. They wanted a simple, affordable, on demand photo solution. What better way to do this than to open it up to our talented, creative community to contribute? With this model, everyone wins."

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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