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Author Topic: iStock announces how much contributors got paid last year  (Read 12478 times)

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« on: April 02, 2008, 10:30 »
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"it's not the $71.9 million in revenue we generated last year (although that is really, really exciting). The amazing thing is that we paid out $20.9 million to contributors last year. That's one h*ck of a lot of money, and doesn't include the $110,000 we gave out on Punctum Day. We are now selling an image every 1.4 seconds through this industry changing marketplace. It even gives us pause every time we look at these stats."

from:
this thread

just so you know, that number works out to 29% - they kept 71% to run the biz.


lisafx

« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 11:17 »
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Would seem then that the vast majority of their sales still come from non-exclusive images, otherwise the % should be higher....

« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2008, 11:28 »
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Would seem then that the vast majority of their sales still come from non-exclusive images, otherwise the % should be higher....

The 'vast majority'  ???
Check your math!

lisafx

« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2008, 12:03 »
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Feel free to offer your own calculations Mike.  That is if you know the specific breakdown. 

I look forward to being enlightened :)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 12:06 by lisafx »

« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2008, 12:56 »
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No inside information on specific breakdowns are needed.  If all the sales were made by diamond exclusives the maximum %age payout to contributors could only be as high as 40%. A 50/50 split between exclusives and non exclusives  would give a %age  payout of 30%. But as most exclusives are not diamonds at 40% royalty the 29% in the provided figures would imply that more than 50% of the sales had come from exclusives, and certainly not the vast majority from non exclusives.

The point you may want to make is the levels of royalty being too low, but that is not the point I am correcting.

« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2008, 12:59 »
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The point you may want to make is the levels of royalty being too low, but that is not the point I am correcting.

THAT is the key point yes! :)

thanks for the analysis... makes good sense to me

« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 13:09 »
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No inside information on specific breakdowns are needed.  If all the sales were made by diamond exclusives the maximum %age payout to contributors could only be as high as 40%. A 50/50 split between exclusives and non exclusives  would give a %age  payout of 30%. But as most exclusives are not diamonds at 40% royalty the 29% in the provided figures would imply that more than 50% of the sales had come from exclusives, and certainly not the vast majority from non exclusives.

The point you may want to make is the levels of royalty being too low, but that is not the point I am correcting.

I agree with this analysis 100%. And I am amazed that exclusives contribute to more than 50% of the sales. I would guess that they contribute to about 60-70%. That is not really good news for us (non-exclusives) since it shows that we are not as importnant as we thought.

« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2008, 13:11 »
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I agree with this analysis 100%. And I am amazed that exclusives contribute to more than 50% of the sales. I would guess that they contribute to about 60-70%. That is not really good news for us (non-exclusives) since it shows that we are not as importnant as we thought.

plus it may put some more weight behind the belief that exclusives get higher rankings in the best match.

« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2008, 13:31 »
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plus it may put some more weight behind the belief that exclusives get higher rankings in the best match.

If that is true, that would be another reason to become exclusive (which I think iStock wants, if everyone would be exclusive, they would dominate the market).


« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2008, 13:53 »
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The problem with iStock is the percentage period exclusive or not, 40% max. is insulting considering most other sites give a min. 33% and more at 50% and some %70%....

« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2008, 14:03 »
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Another piece of math to consider is what happens when prices go up with a split that gives less than 50% to the contributor, as the monetary difference between what is retained by the company and given to the contributor increases!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 14:15 by thesentinel »

« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2008, 14:18 »
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The problem with iStock is the percentage period exclusive or not, 40% max. is insulting considering most other sites give a min. 33% and more at 50% and some %70%....

Tough call.  70% of no sales is zero, but maybe you feel better.  20% and up of some $$$ might upset you, but at least it buys a value meal :) ...

« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2008, 14:45 »
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The problem with iStock is the percentage period exclusive or not, 40% max. is insulting considering most other sites give a min. 33% and more at 50% and some %70%....

The subscription sites make money on the subs whether or not the clients download their full monthly quotas of images. They pay a fixed amount and we therefore have no idea what percentage of the income is being paid back to the contributors.

The greater the advertised monthly subscription image quota ... so the more generous the stock site seems to its contributors.

But unless we know how many images have been downloaded and how much money has been paid in subscriptions it is impossible to know the average price which the buyers are paying for images. And therefore the percentages paid to the contributors.

Example  - if a subscription site were to increase the size of the monthly quotas by, say, 200 .... it would make their images seem even cheaper than they are already .... making them seem like even better value. And it would make their payout to the contributors seem even more generous. A win - win for the stock site (assuming - and we can assume this - that there is a mathematical model aimed at finding the ultimate sub price / monthly quota / payout combinations .... and which will be based on actually knowing the extent to which the monthly download quotas go un used.)

iStock is much more transparent. Old credits don't expire - therefore most are probably used in the end. The contributors get a percentage of the credit price paid. This seems much more transparent to me.

The only thing that matters to me is how much the site makes for me.

abimages

« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2008, 14:55 »
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The problem with iStock is the percentage period exclusive or not, 40% max. is insulting considering most other sites give a min. 33% and more at 50% and some %70%....

So many people get hung up about this. Concentrate on the bottom line/amount of sales. IS sales produce more $$ than the rest because they generally sell more by far.

Funny, why everyone seems happy to get the flat rate .30 at SS because of volume, but cant see the earning potential at IS.

Still, if 50-70% of not much helps you sleep then enjoy.

« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2008, 15:52 »
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In the early days of Shutterstock Jon said that he aimed to pay 35 - 40% of the net.

I assumed that he meant 35 - 40% of the total amount of subscription money received. Just recently, I've been wondering what exactly is meant by "net".  I would think of the total money received as the gross. Maybe net means what's left over after everything else has been paid. Can anyone enlighten me? What does "net" mean in an American company?

Of course I don't know if he changed his mind, or found it impossible, along the way :)

« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2008, 15:56 »
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In the early days of Shutterstock Jon said that he aimed to pay 35 - 40% of the net.

I assumed that he meant 35 - 40% of the total amount of subscription money received. Just recently, I've been wondering what exactly is meant by "net".  I would think of the total money received as the gross. Maybe net means what's left over after everything else has been paid. Can anyone enlighten me? What does "net" mean in an American company?

A quickie google search found this in the dictionary:

Net
The sum that remains following all permissible deductions, including charges, expenses, discounts, commissions, or taxes.

Net assets, for example, are what remain after an individual subtracts the amount owed to creditors from his or her assets. Net pay is the salary an individual actually receives after deductions such as income tax and Social Security payments.


Mitch

PS - net also is called profit :)


"idioms:

net profit "

lisafx

« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 16:59 »
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I appreciate being enlightened on the math. 

Checked with my husband who is the math wiz in the family and he concurred with Mike that the 29% paid out does imply more sales of exclusive images, although without more data it is impossible to know the breakdown for sure. 

Whether istock, shutterstock, or anyone else should be paying more to contributors would appear to be a separate discussion.   

« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2008, 17:22 »
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Exclusives can have higher upload limits than non-exclusives and more motivation to upload, so I am not surprised that there are more exclusive images on istock.  When I do a search, there are usually more exclusive images than non-exclusive and this isn't just on the first few pages.

« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2008, 17:41 »
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The last official numbers I saw (a few months ago) were that only 28% of photographers are exclusive and 38% of content.

I imagine those percentages are a little higher now; perhaps 40/42% of content is now exclusive.

It appears (rough calculations) that the exclusive 40% content generates approximately 63% of contributor commission.

DanP68

« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2008, 01:12 »
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Tough call.  70% of no sales is zero, but maybe you feel better.  20% and up of some $$$ might upset you, but at least it buys a value meal :) ...


It is a tough call.  I definitely agree regarding FeaturePics, which seems to do zero advertising.  They could have 99% commissions and it still wouldn't buy me a value meal.

However there are some much better deals for contributors, imo, to compete with iStock. I look at Dreamstime as being the best of all.  They pay a minimum of 50% per credit sale.  Higher Level images pay an even higher % amount.  But the kicker is the cost of the Higher Level images themselves.  Once my stronger images start hitting Level 4 and Level 5, my income will nearly double, and that will put DT at or slightly ahead of iStock in earnings.

But as has been suggested, and beaten to death, on various boards...all iStock has to do is raise commissions 10% across the board.  Doing so would make them the #1 earner for the vast, vast majority of independent contributors out there and make exclusivity a lot more enticing.  I'm honestly surprised they still haven't done it.

DanP68

« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2008, 01:16 »
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So many people get hung up about this. Concentrate on the bottom line/amount of sales. IS sales produce more $$ than the rest because they generally sell more by far.



This simply isn't true.  As has been pointed out in other threads, just look at the monthly earnings breakdowns from the last several months.  Many of the largest contributors on this board rank either Fotolia or Shutterstock as #1 in earnings.  For me, Shutterstock blows iStock away for bottom line earnings.  I love iStock, but their dominance is overstated.

« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2008, 01:46 »
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Dan, most people do not have as many images on IS as they have on other agencies. Shutterstock is very good on short time earnings and a lot of contributers here have not been very long at SS. On a per picture basis IS earns much more/image than SS and FT.
Yes there are top contributers who earn a lot at FT, but do not forget they can charge much more than the regular FT contributer can.

DanP68

« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2008, 01:53 »
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Right Freezing,

But the question comes down to earnings power.  You have to take all factors into account, and that includes higher prices for images at DT and FT as more sales are made. 

« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2008, 02:25 »
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Right Freezing,

But the question comes down to earnings power.  You have to take all factors into account, and that includes higher prices for images at DT and FT as more sales are made. 

Exactly! this is what matters. People go on about how istock earns more per image, how in fotolia you can put prices up, how on DT images with sales get you more after a while etc... etc ..... All these are advantages and disadvantages that sites have. All I care about is how much money I have in the bank at the end of the month.

The reason IS and SS have low payouts it's because they spend heavily on advertising, there isn't a UK design/photography related magazine that I open where I don't see an IS + a SS add, Fotolia is there often too.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 02:36 by andresr »

« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2008, 02:38 »
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well put.

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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