Microstock Sales: Top iStock Earners

Posted on 10/7/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

For most of this year I have been tracking the number of downloads for 117 of the 150 most productive contributors on iStock. (I have been unable to identify the other 33 in the top 150.) Total downloads of the 117 during the last seven months represent about 17% of all iStock contributor downloads. Sixty-five of the 117 contributors have seen a slight decline in average downloads-per-month since March.

Forty-seven more may have seen a slight decline. (It is impossible to be more precise. In June iStock changed its method of reporting downloads from precise numbers to ranges. For those with more than 100,000 career downloads it is only possible to determine that the actual number is somewhere in a 10,000 image range. For those with less than 100,000 total downloads the numbers are within a 1,000 image range. To make our estimates we considered both the possible low and high number of downloads.) Only 5 out of the top 117 have definitely seen an average growth in sales in the last seven months.

In the chart below we first listed the number of units downloaded for each photographer in March 2009. We did not include the photographer's name which seems irrelevant to the discussion. Next is the minimum average per-month for the seven months - March through September. The third column is the average maximum number of possible downloads per-month for the seven month period according to the numbers reported at istockcharts.



We have determined from a number of photographers that the average price-per-download has remained about $6.50 throughout this period. If the photographer is non-exclusive his average per download would be about $1.30 and if exclusive it should be double that or $2.60. In the 4th and 5th columns we have multiplied the average minimum and maximum number of downloads first by $1.30 and then by 12 to give us an estimated gross annual revenue for these contributors (some are photographers and many are illustrators). Many of these contributors are exclusive with iStock so their numbers should be doubled to determine their actual potential revenue.

March 2009 Seven Months Seven Months   Annual $ Low Annual $ High
Units Average Low Average High      
28,170 24,342 25,771 $379,735 $402,028
19,616 17,014 18,442 $265,418 $287,695
16,354 13,106 14,535 $204,454 $226,746
14,969 12,709 14,138 $198,260 $220,553
12,109 9,245 10,674 $144,222 $166,514
10,560 7,897 9,325 $123,193 $145,470
7,677 7,472 8,901 $116,563 $138,856
7,657 6,495 7,924 $101,322 $123,614
7,192 5,914 7,343 $92,258 $114,551
5,966 5,008 6,437 $78,125 $100,417
5,046 4,797 6,225 $74,833 $97,110
6,003 4,659 6,087 $72,680 $94,957
5,687 4,515 5,944 $70,434 $92,726
4,856 4,458 5,887 $69,545 $91,837
5,037 4,374 5,802 $68,234 $90,511
5,817 4,193 5,622 $65,411 $87,703
5,091 3,749 5,178 $58,484 $80,777
4,256 3,602 5,031 $56,191 $78,484
4,014 3,508 4,937 $54,725 $77,017
4,495 3,503 4,932 $54,647 $76,939
5,432 3,461 4,890 $53,992 $76,284
4,123 3,424 4,853 $53,414 $75,707
3,599 3,419 4,848 $53,336 $75,629
5,005 3,344 4,773 $52,166 $74,459
5,039 3,113 4,542 $48,563 $70,855
4,817 3,013 4,442 $47,003 $69,295
3,460 2,832 4,261 $44,179 $66,472
4,443 2,822 4,251 $44,023 $66,316
4,350 2,779 4,208 $43,352 $65,645
3,172 2,608 4,036 $40,685 $62,962
4,112 2,545 3,974 $39,702 $61,994
4,268 2,491 3,920 $38,860 $61,152
3,592 2,447 3,876 $38,173 $60,466
3,644 2,436 3,865 $38,002 $60,294
3,447 2,227 3,656 $34,741 $57,034
3,105 2,220 3,649 $34,632 $56,924
3,826 2,219 3,647 $34,616 $56,893
2,972 2,129 3,558 $33,212 $55,505
1,673 1,937 3,366 $30,217 $52,510
2,293 1,890 3,319 $29,484 $51,776
3,005 3,146 3,290 $49,078 $51,324
3,179 3,101 3,244 $48,376 $50,606
3,589 3,057 3,200 $47,689 $49,920
2,152 1,770 3,199 $27,612 $49,904
2,630 1,714 3,143 $26,738 $49,031
4,012 1,672 3,101 $26,083 $48,376
4,244 2,953 3,096 $46,067 $48,298
2,666 1,657 3,086 $25,849 $48,142
3,089 2,900 3,043 $45,240 $47,471
1,898 1,607 3,036 $25,069 $47,362
2,057 1,558 2,987 $24,305 $46,597
3,225 2,838 2,981 $44,273 $46,504
3,152 1,435 2,864 $22,386 $44,678
1,899 1,430 2,858 $22,308 $44,585
2,507 1,401 2,830 $21,856 $44,148
3,817 2,621 2,764 $40,888 $43,118
1,716 1,256 2,685 $19,594 $41,886
2,840 2,486 2,629 $38,782 $41,012
2,973 1,162 2,590 $18,127 $40,404
2,972 1,129 2,558 $17,612 $39,905
2,252 1,107 2,536 $17,269 $39,562
2,438 2,380 2,523 $37,128 $39,359
2,715 1,084 2,513 $16,910 $39,203
2,896 2,340 2,483 $36,504 $38,735
2,907 2,321 2,464 $36,208 $38,438
2,630 2,277 2,420 $35,521 $37,752
2,851 2,172 2,315 $33,883 $36,114
1,720 844 2,273 $13,166 $35,459
2,594 2,129 2,272 $33,212 $35,443
2,503 2,125 2,268 $33,150 $35,381
2,770 2,075 2,218 $32,370 $34,601
2,595 2,064 2,206 $32,198 $34,414
2,550 2,052 2,195 $32,011 $34,242
2,575 2,042 2,185 $31,855 $34,086
2,191 1,980 2,123 $30,888 $33,119
2,340 1,967 2,110 $30,685 $32,916
1,003 631 2,059 $9,844 $32,120
1,913 1,902 2,044 $29,671 $31,886
2,274 1,894 2,037 $29,546 $31,777
2,444 558 1,987 $8,705 $30,997
2,276 1,807 1,950 $28,189 $30,420
2,284 1,742 1,884 $27,175 $29,390
1,967 1,740 1,882 $27,144 $29,359
2,068 1,736 1,879 $27,082 $29,312
1,631 1,679 1,822 $26,192 $28,423
1,976 1,679 1,821 $26,192 $28,408
1,918 1,497 1,640 $23,353 $25,584
2,379 1,494 1,637 $23,306 $25,537
1,846 1,470 1,613 $22,932 $25,163
1,851 1,470 1,613 $22,932 $25,163
1,841 1,446 1,589 $22,558 $24,788
1,428 1,402 1,545 $21,871 $24,102
1,375 1,399 1,542 $21,824 $24,055
1,462 1,396 1,539 $21,778 $24,008
1,118 90 1,519 $1,404 $23,696
1,274 1,366 1,509 $21,310 $23,540
1,242 1,353 1,496 $21,107 $23,338
1,475 1,312 1,455 $20,467 $22,698
1,508 18 1,446 $281 $22,558
1,443 1,229 1,372 $19,172 $21,403
1,468 1,210 1,353 $18,876 $21,107
1,424 1,152 1,295 $17,971 $20,202
1,574 1,126 1,269 $17,566 $19,796
1,046 1,092 1,235 $17,035 $19,266
1,975 1,069 1,212 $16,676 $18,907
1,084 1,068 1,210 $16,661 $18,876
1,223 1,055 1,198 $16,458 $18,689
1,068 970 1,113 $15,132 $17,363
840 953 1,095 $14,867 $17,082
1,236 916 1,058 $14,290 $16,505
889 859 1,003 $13,400 $15,647
611 630 773 $9,828 $12,059
865 622 764 $9,703 $11,918
628 531 674 $8,284 $10,514
506 444 587 $6,926 $9,157
589 405 548 $6,318 $8,549
338 399 542 $6,224 $8,455
414,453 322,579 415,166 $5,032,232 $6,476,589

Note that the total number of downloads in March is just slightly below the total maximum possible downloads for these contributors. We know that many have just recently passed the minimum number and thus the actual number of downloads for this group is probably closer to the 368,873 average of the minimum and maximum than it is to the maximum number.


Copyright © 2009 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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