Stock Photo Prices - Electronic Uses

Posted on 9/6/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Pricing rights-managed web uses has become very difficult in the last two or three years. Currently, web uses represent a far bigger share of the market than those for print and the proportional web share seems likely to continue to grow as the print share declines.

Prices often charged for such uses are so low that it has become virtually impossible for image producers to cover their costs by licensing rights for web uses alone. This is even true for microstock photographers who are licensing very high volumes of such uses.

The prices usually charged for web uses have no relation whatsoever to the value many customers receive from using such images. The prices may be justified for someone who uses the image for a personal blog, but they are way underpriced for anyone making a commercial use of the image.



In 2007 Getty Images introduced an across the board price of $49 for any type of web use. But with the microstock companies licensing rights for such uses at between $1 and $3 relatively few buyers have felt the need to pay $49 for an image they intended to use on the web. It is hard to determine how much new business, if any, Getty’s price brought in, but based on sales reported to a number of photographers we’ve talked to it looks like all this price did was dramatically lower the prices being paid by Getty’s existing customers, without bringing in much of anyone new. (For Getty’s prices in early 2007 see the schedules below.)

In 2008 Corbis offered a $15 price, but that also appears to have had very limited success. Now, it seems that if there is a standard rights-managed list price for web or mobile devices most agencies have settled on the $49 figure. But, even then there are a number of very significant discounts being offered, some times even lower than what the microstock sites charge. Recently, one of Getty’s Image Partners reported that one-third of all sales made for his company in a month averaged $2.00 per image.



So should you charge $1, $2, $49 or the prices in the schedules below when someone wants to use one of your images electronically? We believe that the prices below are reasonable and justified based on the value that many commercial customers will receive from using your image. But, if your image is easily replaceable by another you probably won’t be able to get much more than a few dollars. At that point it becomes a question as to whether you want to sell the image for such a low price or not.

The following was first published on January 25, 2007.

As more and more image are being used on the web RM sellers need to find an appropriate way to price based on such usage. In my 2001 edition of “Negotiating Stock Photo Prices” I offered a very simplified pricing system that basically had three categories – National Corporation, Regional Corporation and Local Corporation – and four sizes of uses. Considering the many ways that images are now used on the web this strategy is totally inadequate.



Recently, I have discovered that Getty Images has instituted a much more elaborate pricing structure which I believe is an excellent solution to the problem. Basically, they have five different categories for advertising uses and two for editorial and publishing. Within each category they have an extensive breakdown based on the size and placement of the use and the length of time that the image will be used. The following chart indicates these categories, the base price for the smallest use and a top figure for the most extensive use in this category.

  Base Price Maximum Price
ADVERTISING    
Web Advertisement - Over the Page $660 $2,228
Web Advertisement - In Page $530 $2,862
Web - Corporate or Promotional Site $315 $3,528
Web - Promotional Email $875 $9,975
Mobile Device - Advertising $725 $3,031
     
EDITORIAL    
Publishing - Web/Electronic $120 $315
Mobil Device - Editorial $125 $528

The breakdowns for each category are as follows. In order to find the appropriate price for a given use that is larger than the Base Price you multiply the Base Price for the category by the Factor provided. If there is nothing listed in the factor column then the Base Price is used. In the cases where there is more than one variable in a category multiply the base price by the first variable and then multiply the result by the second variable.

The Web Advertisement Over-the-Page use covers non-user initiated pop-ups, floating, in-stream units and transition ads.
Web Advertisement - Over The Page
Base Price $660
  Multiple
1 Website  
Up to 5 Websites 1.1
Up to 10 Websites 1.2
Up to 25 Websites 1.3
Up to 50 Websites 1.4
Over 50 Websites 1.5
   
1 month  
3 months 1.25
6 months 1.5
1 year 1.75
2 years 2
3 years 2.25

The In-Page web advertisement use covers expandable advertisements integrated into a web page.

Web Advertisement – In Pagez
Base Price $530
  Multiple
small - Up to 180x150 pixels  
Medium - Up to 300x250 pixels 1.05
Banner - Up to 728x90 pixels 1.1
Side Banner - Up to 160x600 pixels 1.15
Up to half page 1.2
Up to full page 1.6
   
1 Website  
Up to 5 Websites 1.1
Up to 10 Websites 1.2
Up to 25 Websites 1.3
Up to 50 Websites 1.4
Over 50 Websites 1.5
   
1 month  
3 months 1.25
6 months 1.5
1 year 1.75
2 years 2
3 years 2.25

The chart below covers all commercial or promotional use on a website, including uses as a design element on a corporate website but it does not include paid advertising.

Web – Corporate or Promotional Site
Base Price $315
  Multiple
small - Up to 180x150 pixels  
Medium - Up to 300x250 pixels 1.06
Banner - Up to 728x90 pixels 1.11
Side Banner - Up to 160x600 pixels 1.16
Up to half page 1.2
Up to full page 1.6
   
Secondary Page  
Home Page 1.5
Repeated Use 1.75
   
1 month  
3 months 1.36
6 months 1.5
1 year 1.75
2 years 2.5
3 years 3.25
5 years 4

The chart below covers all types of promotional email that is sent directly to individuals and the number of units are the size of the mailing list.

Web – Promotional Email
Base Price $875
  Multiple
small - Up to 180x150 pixels  
Medium - Up to 300x250 pixels 1.06
Banner - Up to 728x90 pixels 1.11
Side Banner - Up to 160x600 pixels 1.15
Up to half page 1.2
Up to full page 1.6
   
Up to 1,000  
Up to 10,000 1.12
Up to 25,000 1.25
Up to 50,000 1.37
Up to 100,000 1.49
Up to 250,000 1.6
Up to 500,000 1.85
Up to 1 million 2.1
Up to 2 million 2.35
Up to 5 million 2.6
Over 5 million 2.85
   
1 week  
1 month 1.06
3 months 1.13
6 months 1.19
1 year 1.25
2 years 1.6
3 years 2
5 years 2.5

The following chart covers advertising or promotional use on a cell phone, PDA or any other portable electronic device. This use does not include the right to reproduce or distribute images through a portable electronic device where the image is provided as a stand-alone file, or through an application developed for the primary purpose of making images available for viewing through a portable electronic device.

Mobile Device - Advertising
Base Price $725
  Multiple
Up to 10,000  
Up to 100,000 1.2
Up to 250,000 1.3
Up to 500,000 1.4
Up to 1 million 1.5
Up to 2 million 1.6
Up to 5 million 1.7
Up to 10 million 1.8
Over 10 million 1.9
   
1 month  
3 months 1.25
6 months 1.5
1 year 1.8
2 years 2.2

The following chart reflects Getty’s fees for editorial use of an image on the web or other electronic devices. It also includes the rights to archive the image in context of the original scope of use for up to 5 years. It does not include electronic use for books. That use is priced at a flat $100 regardless of the size of the use of the image or the length of time up to 10 years.

In this area I think Getty has missed the boat on a couple counts. First, for general web use I can understand why the price may need to be low for companies like MSNBC that will only post an image for a day, or sometimes even less. On the other hand I think some additional fee should be factored in for images that are posted for longer periods of time. It is interesting that in Getty’s pricing template the customer must select a duration of from 1 day to two years, but regardless of which one the customer selects it does nothing to change the price.

The second issue is the price schedule for electronic books. At the very least it seems to me that there should be some additional fee the longer the image is on the site because over time more users will see the image. It seems to me it’s the same as publishing 5,000 books or 250,000. I also think a case can be made for charging more for chapter openers and for images that might be used full page. They do this with the other categories and I don’t understand why they don’t do it with books. Readers who choose to employ these pricing charts in their own businesses may want to add some factors for length of time and size of usage.

This use covers: Web or electronic editorial use (no advertising, promotion or commercial use of any kind). Includes right to archive the image in context of the original scope of use for up to 5 years.

Publishing – Web/Electronic
Base Price $120
  Multiple
small - Up to 180x150 pixels  
Medium - Up to 300x250 pixels 1.13
Banner - Up to 728x90 pixels 1.21
Side Banner - Up to 160x600 pixels 1.38
Up to half page 1.5
Up to full page 1.75
   
Secondary Page  
Home Page 1.38
Repeated Use 1.3

The following chart covers editorial uses on a cell phone, PDA or any other portable electronic device (no advertising or promotional use of any kind; for use by accredited news sources only). Includes right to archive the image in context of the original scope of use for up to 5 years.

Editorial Mobile Device
Base Price $125
  Multiple
Up to 10,000  
Up to 100,000 1.2
Up to 250,000 1.32
Up to 500,000 1.4
Up to 1 million 1.5
Up to 2 million 1.6
Up to 5 million 1.72
Up to 10 million 1.92
Over 10 million 1.9
   
1 month  
3 months 1.28
6 months 1.52
1 year 1.8
2 years 2.2

Using The Multiples

To give you an example of how to use the Multiples look at the “Web – Corporate or Promotional Site” chart. The base price is $315. It the images is to be used up to 180x150 pixels on a secondary page for only one month the price would be $315. But assume that it is going to be used in a Side Banner on the Home Page for 1 year. We start with $315 and multiply that by 1.16 which gives us $365.40. Then we multiply that number by 1.5 which gives us $548.10. And finally, because the image is going to be used for one year, multiply the $548.10 X 1.75 to get $959.18.

Readers should also recognize that the Base Prices I have used on these charts and what Getty would charge for a Stone+ image which is the highest priced brand on the Getty site. In you price a Taxi image the Base Prices would be: Web Advertisement – Over the Page, $520; Web Advertisement – In Page, $415; Web – Corporate of Promotional, $250 and Web Promotional Email, $685. The prices for Mobile Device – Advertising, Publishing – Web/Electronic and Editorial Mobile Device are the same for both Stone+ and Taxi.


Copyright © 2008 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  

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