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Poll

Microstock in the future

Stable development
46 (41.4%)
Like Nokia
6 (5.4%)
Decline
38 (34.2%)
Rapid growth
2 (1.8%)
No more room for development
19 (17.1%)

Total Members Voted: 97

Voting closed: July 24, 2014, 06:07

Author Topic: about Microstock Golden age  (Read 8525 times)

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« on: April 25, 2014, 05:56 »
0
hi guys
i just want to talking about Microstock Golden age.

someone say Microstock Golden age is over. we no come back at 2009or2010.
but some people say  Microstock still in development. Just more mature。

what do you think ?
How do you think it will develop in the future?


« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 06:02 »
-1
as your 1st post here why don't you tell us?

« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 06:11 »
+4
I think the idea is not dead, the institutions will be a lot of cleaning up old images,then introduction of new creative images.The final formation of monopoly

« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2014, 06:21 »
+2
there is only one agency doing cleaning (Dreamstime), in the other hand there is one accepting pretty much everything (iStock) so your theory may have flaws there

I just wonder if there will be any players apart from SS in a few years? for sure a few because there are quite a few agencies with zero sales still surviving

also believe that we should invest more in selling direct, sort of mission impossible but a sale here and there might be a good start

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2014, 06:24 »
+4
I just wonder if there will be any players apart from SS in a few years? for sure a few because there are quite a few agencies with zero sales still surviving
I don't think a monopoly is ever a good idea.

« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2014, 06:25 »
+3
I just wonder if there will be any players apart from SS in a few years? for sure a few because there are quite a few agencies with zero sales still surviving
I don't think a monopoly is ever a good idea.

and I agree Sue but looking at my earnings it looks like...

« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2014, 06:26 »
+1
yes , Monopoly will bring contributors income cheap

Shelma1

« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2014, 08:38 »
+5
I just wonder if there will be any players apart from SS in a few years? for sure a few because there are quite a few agencies with zero sales still surviving
I don't think a monopoly is ever a good idea.

Agreed. I'd love to see a bunch of agencies with strong sales offering us fair commissions. It's nice to dream. ;)

« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2014, 08:38 »
+4
The industry is in shake out phase. More smaller players will be acquired by larger ones or forced to close down. Barriers to entry are becoming higher and so we'll see less and less new start ups. It may or may not end up in monopoly. It depends on SS's and iStock's next steps.
I personally believe that he current "agency" model of microstock industry will be transformed into something quite different, but I don't know what it'll be. I guess something like Spotify in music industry could eventually rise in our market too.
I'm not too worried about the future though. We create images, our images hold value. If you have a valuable portfolio, there will always be some way of monetizing it.

There is one event in my mind that can potentially change everything very quickly anytime. Just imagine, what would happen if SS starts offering exclusivity at good commission rates? Other agencies would stand no chance. That could be a quick way to monopoly.  :)

« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2014, 09:00 »
0
Continued growth for me or stable development if you like. I find it amusing to talk of a golden age in a ten year old business but there you go. No doubt some were earning more money back then but there are probably more earning even higher returns now.

As with any business, if you can adapt to changing demand and are able to step out of your comfort zone at the drop of a hat, you can still earn a pretty penny....the caveat being that even the most adroit and gifted don't make it without a sprinkling from the Luck Fairy - whose name is Gwendoline by the way.

ETA: Already written numerous times about emerging markets, new platforms and technologies etc that have me convinced this business will grow for years to come. We can expect casualties along the way of course but that is nothing new.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 09:13 by Red Dove »

« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2014, 09:25 »
+12
I'd say it is in decline. There is still a lot of room for growth, but I don't know if it will significantly (at least from the contributor perspective).

« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2014, 14:41 »
+1
someone say Microstock Golden age is over. we no come back at 2009or2010.

Newbie? For me, the golden age was somewhere in the 2005-2006 area. Decent profits for any miserable image I managed to produce... those were the days...  *sigh*

« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2014, 19:45 »
+6
For most contributors I think it is in decline. So many new photographers and photos being uploaded every day, tough to find or hold a spot.


For buyers, i think things are good. Really excellent photos can be purchased for reasonable prices.


For agencies, well, some apparently just keep raking in the millions but a decline for smaller agencies; they will drop by the wayside.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2014, 05:22 »
+2
Sport and News and Fashion and Paparazzi will never die, but the most generic stock stuff can pretty much become worthless before or later.

and for web use i see a strong demand for video but a sharp decline for images as the internet is almost replacing TV as the new medium of choice.

besides, users watching images on a small smartphone screen is not doing us any favour.


i've spoken.

« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2014, 05:43 »
+4

There is one event in my mind that can potentially change everything very quickly anytime. Just imagine, what would happen if SS starts offering exclusivity at good commission rates? Other agencies would stand no chance. That could be a quick way to monopoly.  :)

SS will never do that - offering exclusivity - because than other agencies will be pushed to offer even much higher commission rates - and that would be,let s call it, race to the top - agencies  don t want that...

« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2014, 05:14 »
0
About monopoly, can someone explain?


Sent from my iPod touch using Tapatalk

« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2014, 08:35 »
+10
Hello,

I usually skip the opinion threads, but on this topic, I think it's very important to look at the big picture.   I started in photography as a teenage commercial studio assistant in the late 1980s, eventually working at a wire service who served international newspapers and broadcasters.  At that time, you were looking at a few thousand newspapers, major magazines, book publishers and broadcast outlets as the primary consumers of photography. 

Fast-forward to today. If you take Shutterstock as an example, we have nearly 1 million customers on Shutterstock.com, with an audience of an additional 1 million active advertisers on Facebook (backed by an additional 18 million businesses on the FB platform). That's just one partnership.  There have been over 400 million paid image licenses.  Footage licensing (which is well within the reach of any photographer) is rapidly growing.  We're now paying royalties of $120 or more for image licenses. 

If you're shooting a business handshake, then yes - the market for that image has likely diminished as more artists come to the platform.  But we go into client meetings every day with publishers, brands, etc..., who tell us they need more images and can't find XYZ.   For example, a local publisher will tell you - "it's great, you've got images of children. But in our city, kids wear white and green school uniforms.  There's none of that.  And you've got real estate images.  But who in our country has a stereotypical American suburban house?  There's none of that around here.  And our city has 100 different types of regional ethnic cuisine.  We need more images."   Extrapolate that out to the many millions of searches we get, and there are exponential combinations of topics and concepts still to fulfill as new markets emerge and mature markets look for more images and increased variety.

We have to do a better job of educating you on the gaps, but we've started through things like the
ShutterstockReq Twitter feed.

One thing that has amazed me about Offset, for example, is how -- after 20 years of major talented and smart players in stock -- so many customers are excited about and embracing the collection.  It's just proof that there's still much opportunity to provide something new and unique if you listen to them carefully and focus on the needs of the customer (instead of focusing on other artists or the competition).

Call me biased, ;)  but I think it's a **very** exciting time in the industry.  It's very hard to be able to see the big picture when you're in the middle of a period of change, but between the technology choices, distribution and consumption platforms, learning platforms, crowdfunding, easy access to social media advertising, access to a global customer base, etc...  --- there's tremendous opportunity to be entrepreneurial and successful. 

I think the hardest thing is to break out of old habits, to focus on the customer, and to be very forward-looking on rapidly emerging trends.  But the customer audience and demand is there.

Best,

Scott
VP of Content
Shutterstock






lisafx

« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2014, 10:55 »
+36
Scott, I don't think anyone here would doubt that the future looks rosey for the agencies and the customers.  It just isn't looking too bright for contributors.  With stagnant or dropping prices and commissions on all major agencies,  high volume shooters have seen big drops in income and it only seems to be getting worse.

Sure there are some specialized requests, but to take your examples of regionally specific homes or school uniforms, there isn't going to be enough sales volume to make it worthwhile to shoot these for the micro market.

You mention Offset. Perhaps at those macro prices it would be worth shooting such specific content, but this discussion was about microstock and its decline.  If this is an attempt to recruit micro photographers for Offset, that should probably have its own thread and include instructions on how to submit images there.

farbled

« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2014, 11:02 »
+7
Lisa beat me to it, and said it much better than what I was working on.

« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2014, 11:05 »
+4
Sure there are some specialized requests, but to take your examples of regionally specific homes or school uniforms, there isn't going to be enough sales volume to make it worthwhile to shoot these for the micro market.

I'll occasionally do custom work for low prices, but it definitely can be a slippery slope looking like you are on call for the price of a subscription royalty. I definitely don't want to give that impression.

« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2014, 11:26 »
+5
The problem is the one-size-fits-all pricing.    Go into a "dollar" store in a strip mall.  What sorts of products do you see?  What would happen if those stores were the only retail outlets in existence?  Welcome to the future of microstock.

Goofy

« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2014, 11:28 »
+3
"You mention Offset. Perhaps at those macro prices it would be worth shooting such specific content, but this discussion was about microstock and its decline.  If this is an attempt to recruit micro photographers for Offset, that should probably have its own thread and include instructions on how to submit images there."


Now this would be a great topic to get into great detail for sure...

« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2014, 11:38 »
+2
Do they actually want bog-standard micro shooters on Offset? I've got shots of Qatar 5 to 10 years ago that are now historical documents. the world's gas capital changes that fast, I sell them as micro because the likes of Offset and Stocksy want really cool commercial shots with high production costs. I'm not sure how their concept differs from the old Getty idea. (I can't vote on this topic because I think the future of microstock depends on whether you are an agency or what I guess we now call an "old-time microstocker".)

« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2014, 12:16 »
+14
...We have to do a better job of educating you on the gaps, but we've started through things like the ShutterstockReq Twitter feed.


Great post Scott, and I'm glad you decided to weigh in on the topic.

I hate to sound critical, but I'm going to have to :)

I would say "Yes, but..." to your suggestion that what needs to happen is just that Shutterstock has to educate contributors on the gaps in the collection.

I've been producing images for stock for a little longer - although much less successfully :) - than Lisa. I'm not a volume shooter, but I do mix what I like to photograph with what I think will sell. The change I've noticed most is how agencies have changed as they've become very successful - less communication with and reduced focus on contributors and their issues (and I'm thinking of the large mass of smaller contributors, not the big factories with whom I'm sure agencies stay in touch).

I haven't done something semi-custom in a while, but I used to when I was fairly sure the results would be more broadly useful. For these sorts of requests I would only shoot things that cost me nothing but time and weren't hard to set up.

Do a search on Shutterstock for septic tank and although there are only 125 results, 7 of my images are in the first few rows.

The way that a bunch of these items (including the series above) came about was the iStock Request Forum. The iStock forums are currently largely useless, but they were once pretty active with both designers and contributors. Twitter isn't a bad vehicle for many things, but when you're limited to 140 characters, (a) there's not a lot of detail and (b) there's no way to ask the designer a question. Asking questions is less about doing a custom shoot than getting a better understanding of what they need to produce more usable stock. That was the case with the septic tank images and several others in the same vein.

Take a recent tweet from Shutterstock about women in their 50s reading tablets. Inside or outside? Isolated on white or in a setting? In business attire or home/weekend? With makeup or in their jammies? Caucasian, Asian, African, Indian - what would be the point in me sending in something of a blond 59-year-old if they wanted another ethnicity?

If there's to be something usable here, (a) I think you need a place on the web site where people can review past requests (don't get rid of Twitter); (b) you need a way to give more detail and allow potential shooters to ask questions. In the iStock past, that was directly with designers. Possibly in the current environment the agency doesn't want contributors in touch with buyers directly but somehow there needs to be a way to get questions answered.

The other aspect of this is inspections. I have more recently had some images of subjects like the septic tanks (this was a valve setup in the dirt for inground sprinklers) rejected (not for noise or focus). Some of these subjects that sell don't look pretty - you'd never hang them on a wall - but they sell. 

After I have a few from a series of this sort rejected, I just stop submitting more like that to SS and return to things I'm fairly sure I can get approved. I'd like to see the inspection issues get resolved in general, but especially if you want people to respond to requests, you probably need a way to tag something that was submitted for a request to stop the rejections for non-technical reasons so the buyer can get what they need.

How about putting a feed of the last few requests up on the contributor home page? How about doing a survey of contributors to find out how getting them information might work best? If contributors are really to be the agency's partners (versus just a cost to be minimized) improvements on that side of the operations as well as on the customer facing side could be more of a priority?

« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2014, 12:25 »
+12
Scott,

As I've said in a similar thread, there's a significant supply/demand gap that is inevitably widening. The growth in supply is massively outstripping the growth in demand. That's not going to be good for contributors and ultimately will probably hit the agencies too.

The emergence of DPC is evidence of just one potential threat to the incomes of both contributors and other agencies. It seems that FT themselves have effectively 'given up' on trying to grow the main Fotolia site and now want to 'disrupt' the microstock industry with a new lower-priced business model (which, if successful, will also kill their main brand).

If DPC succeeds, or even if it does not, then you can be sure that others will follow and introduce their own disruptive model. IS have become pretty desperate of late to breathe life into their ailing business. If the new subscription thing doesn't work for them, as it probably won't, then a mega-low priced model could be the next thing they'll try.

I'm a huge optimist by nature but I struggle to see much of a long-term future for microstock contributors who undertake it as their main occupation.


 

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