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According to Bloomberg
(July 30th) Getty Images Inc.’s bonds and loans rallied as a report to creditors showed improving profit after several quarters of sinking earnings.
has won the most images race with Alamy
. Shutterstock now has more than 60 million royalty-free images in its collection in addition to 3 million video and music clips for a total of over 63 million pieces of content.
For new readers, or those who may have missed some of what I have written over the last few months, the following are a list of stories worth looking at to get a sense of where the industry is headed.
Shutterstock has released a new infographic
on Design and Emotion in Stock Photography.
(SSTK) was under heavy pressure Tuesday (-7.2%) after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on the stock with an Underweight rating and a price target of $40. The company traded down 6.49% on Tuesday, hitting $52.33. About 6% (2,134,222 shares) of the company’s stock traded hands. Morgan Stanley analyst Dean Prissman said based on their proprietary AlphaWise study and bottom-up analysis, they believe Adobe's aggressive entry into Shutterstock's market is set to pressure growth.
Visual China Group (VCG), the Getty Images representative in China, has resumed trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Composite market in China. The stock closed at 27.52 RMB ($4.40) per share up from 25.02 RMB ($4.00) last week when trading was suspended.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from investors trying to assess the stock photo industry growth potential and figure out where Shutterstock, Adobe and Getty Images are headed. In general here is what I’ve been telling them.
An increasing number of iStock’s most productive contributors seem to be pulling back on their production of new images. Of the 430 photographers and illustrators we have been tracking for more than four years only 34% have added more than 100 images to their collections in the last six months. That leaves two-thirds of this group of contributors who have added fewer than 100 images or removed images from the collection.
Since 2009 I have been tracking the image downloads of some of iStock’s leading contributors. Beginning in 2012 I increased the number of individuals tracked on a semi-annual basis to 430. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which number more than 100,000 combined this small group has at least 55,479,000 downloads and given the way iStock reports these numbers possibly as many as 58,416,000 downloads. I believe these numbers represent about one-third of all iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002.
Thanks to Adobe Stock
gross microstock revenue will start to decline. Let me explain why. I estimate that about $143 million of Shutterstock’s 2014 revenue
came from subscription and that there were about 114 million subscription downloads. It all those customers were to switch to Adobe Stock they could probably get all the images they need for $43 million or less and save $100 million annually
. Check out the numbers.
During the CEPIC Congress
in Warsaw a Russian stock photo agent told me that Russian photographers can live and support a family very comfortably on 50,000 roubles a month. At today’s currency exchange that works out to about $886 per month or $10,632 per year.
has reported $97.5 million in revenue for Q1 2015, a 34% increase over Q1 2015. There were 33.4 downloads for the quarter. About 28% percent of revenue for the quarter was paid out to contributors in royalties. The average price per download was $2.87 up from $2.68 in the previous quarter and a 17% increase compared to Q1 2015. There were 51.6 million images in the collection as of March 31, 2015 plus 2.6 million video clips. At the end of the quarter the company had 542 employees worldwide.?
In March we reported that an ACSIL survey
of stock footage distributors concluded that globally $550 million in revenue was generated from the licensing of stock footage in 2014. The 53-question survey was sent to over 400 companies that license stock footage and 90 responded. The following is an executive summary of the results.
I’m getting more frequent requests from long/short hedge fund investors about Getty Images’ turnaround potential in 2015. Getty’s $550 million of 7 percent unsecured notes due in October 2020 are selling for approximately 50 cents on the dollar. Investors are trying to determine if that is a good price, or if they could go even lower. (Getty also has about $2 billion in additional debut.) Here’s some of what I tell them.
According to Meredith Kopit Levien, New York Times EVP of Advertising, speaking to OMMA SXSW in Austin, TX recently, “Last year the Times did about $180 million in digital advertising and almost that much in digital subscriptions. That puts us at a digital business that’s in the $350 million range."
Shutterstock has put together a very interesting Infographic related to Contributor Earnings
. Everyone engaged in stock photography -- regardless of whether they have ever licensed an image through Shutterstock, or any other microstock distributor -- should examine this Infographic carefully. It contains a lot of important insights.
The Microstock segment of the stock photography business has grown rapidly over the last few years. I estimate that in 2014 gross microstock revenue, worldwide, was approximately $850 million. Sales by the Big Four distributors – Shutterstock, iStock, Fotolia and Dreamstime – represented about 85% of this total.
The oldest photo on record is of a man on a Paris street getting his shoes shined. It was taken in 1838. In the first 170 years of photography up to the year 2000 it is estimated that 85 billion photos were taken. In 2014 alone, thanks to selfies, almost 1 trillion photos were taken and the number is expected to grow in 2015.
Based on the searches they have been getting in the last few months Shutterstock has just released a new infographic on 2015 Creative Trends
in the demand for still images, illustration and video clips. One of the interesting trends for photographers is that searches for “top view” have increased 66% in the past year.
After last week, readers probably feel they have more information about iStock than they ever wanted to know. But an analysis of where contributors who produce microstock images live provides some additional insights into the future of stock photography. I promise this will be the last analysis of iStock data until July.
Most stock contributors want to believe that if they continue to produce more and better images more of their work will be downloaded (purchased by customers), and they will make more money. That’s not the way it seems to have worked at iStock in the last two years.
Since 2009 I have been tracking sales of some of iStock’s leading contributors and beginning in 2012 I have tracked 430 of them on a semi-annual basis. While 430 is only a small percentage of iStock’s total contributors which may number over 100,000 at the end of 2014 this small group had a combined total of over 54,982,100 image downloads in their careers with iStock. I believe this is about one-third of total iStock downloads since the company’s founding in 2002. Thus, the combined experience of this group is significant.
Getty’s simplification and dramatic lowering of iStock prices in September
in an effort to better complete with Shutterstock doesn’t seem to be working. The number of images downloaded in the last half of 2014 for 431 of iStock’s top producers was down about 34% compared to the first half of 2014.
The results of the annual GDUSA Stock Survey
of graphic designers in the U.S. is now available online. For several years nearly every graphic designers has answered that they use stock sometime during the year, but this year, for the first time, two-thirds of those answering the survey use stock more than 20 times a year and one-third use stock imagery more than 100 times a years.
As of October 1, 2014 authorized legal entities in the UK will be able to collect payments for the use of your photographs even if you are not a member of the organization. This is known as Extended Collective Licensing (ECL).