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Author Topic: How is the earnings affected after going exclusive on Istock????  (Read 3693 times)

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« on: April 26, 2017, 13:45 »
0
Hi
I'm considering going exclusive on Istock but I'm still not sure if it's worth it. Anyone who has become an exclusive contributor and can shed some light on this.
Does your earnings increase in a way that it's worth it??
I submit images to Istock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Bigstock, 123RF and Dreamstime. Decent earnings from IS, SS and FT. I'm curious if it's possible to make more money on Istock alone then all of them together? Would be nice to have only one agency to upload to, but I hesitate because I can't see how Istock alone can generate more income than all of them together.

Any thoughts and experiences???

Best
Pelle.........feeling uncertain


ShadySue

« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2017, 13:57 »
+5
i'm exclusive, but since way back in 2007, and I never submitted to any others, so my experience is irrelevant to you.

However, nowadays, the situation is very different. (If I were starting out now, I wouldn't bother.)

Consider this: your exclusive files will be 3x more expensive than indie files - are they 3x better? And even if they are 5x better, a proportion of buyers would satisfice with a cheaper image.
The search sometimes favours exclusives, but too often (speaking as an exclusive) favours indies.
Exclusive files are excluded totally from certain searches.
Your new files will not be mirrored onto Thinkstock, so if you sold a lot there, you'll probably lose out, though cheaper sales.

If you make high-end, often multiple-model files, your images might, or might not, be made Signature Plus. (The thread with images accepted/non-accepted for Sig+ is often perplexing [actually, not sure if that thread still exists]) On Getty, you might hit lucky and get a high price sale, of which you get only 20%, rather than your iStock percentage. Or you might get a buyer with a huge discount and get tiny value sales.

In the old days, the convenience of one agency and (in those days) avoiding subs was worth it for me and I know I personally wouldn't have done better as an indie, but most (not all) people who report are reporting falling sales.

As well as all that, they keep changing their policies, so you have no security - they ask for certain types of files, then decide they aren't taking them any more. For example, you can't now upload e.g. editorial Sports or Celebrity photos, even with permits now, and some people had a lot of pics deactivated.
Also, they don't keep promises, e.g. they promised that exclusive files would never be excluded from searches, they promised that exclusive files would always have priority in searches, they promised to mirror all exclusive editorial files on Getty, they promised that we would be 'grandfathered in' at our next incremental rate. All promises they have reneged on.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 14:16 by ShadySue »

« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 14:38 »
0
A lot of information, thank you. But, Im a little bit surprised about your thoughts of Istock policy etc... I though that Istock favored exclusive contributors and is about to do so even more in the future.
I am a bit disappointed with their unwillingness to accept sertain editorial images, I have had several rejections of images with political themes as demonstrations etc... :(

Pelle

« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 15:10 »
+2
Look the numbers at the right of this page. If you contribute to the top 5 sites as non-exclusive you will make more money than as a single iS exclusive. Granted, we have no basis for knowing any accuracy of those numbers but it is a rough and wild comparison point - for lack of better. I've been exclusive at iS since about 2005 and am at 30%. My income is falling so fast that I have to consider jumping out. At 30%, my numbers are included in the right hand iS Exclusive total. You won't ever reach 30% with the structure as it is these days and the falling sales counts. You may never reach the relative exclusive number on the right since we don't know the mix of percentages by the reporters. But, you are certainly starting at the bottom rank.  if they didn't grandfather me based on better past sales years, I would no longer be at 30%. Today, you are likely better off to ignore iS and take the remaining of the top 5 or 6. There would be a whole lot less drama if you avoid iS.

ShadySue

« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 15:54 »
+2
I though that Istock favored exclusive contributors and is about to do so even more in the future.
Sometimes I've done searches and found 15/20 of the top files are indie. Admittedly, it's not always that bad, and sometimes exclusives have over half of the top files, but they said "Always. Period."

Maybe you have some inside info about how they are going to favour exclusives in the (near) future?
They've been promising "exciting infomation for exclusives, coming soon" on and off for years, and we've never seen anything yet which has actually come to pass.

« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 16:05 »
+4
I was an iStock exclusive a long time ago, so none of my experience is relevant to you, but while it was once a great place to sell, I don't see much of a future for the site. Based on the steady stream of exclusives who are leaving (with stories similar to Stan's) I can't see how you could make financial sense of such a decision.

Bear in mind that iStock's owner, Getty, is struggling with a massive debt burden left by two rounds of private equity owners. They have competition for large business customers from two other agencies (Adobe Stock and Shutterstock) and when the good news about revenue is that it isn't falling this year, you may want to think hard about selling exclusively through them. I have no clue what all the press releases about focusing on the consumer is - at least no clue how that will make them or contributors money. iStock used to have a healthy trade with small businesses - designers - but drove most of them away over several years of terrible decisions.

If you're thinking about exclusivity, stop uploading to DT so the 6 month lock will not be a problem (I think they still have this; at least check it out)

« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 18:17 »
+6
Getty continues to push down the percentage paid out to contributors. Years ago I think I recall they wanted all sales to pay 20%. What was once 20% for non-Ex is now 15% at iStock. Even large collections are seemingly being pushed to 15%. Reference: http://www.selling-stock.com/Article/15-royalties (to be fair, I did not pay to read the complete article). I figure Getty/iS will continue to lower payment percentages, either by changing category percentages on the face, or by changing sales levels required to move up in the categories. This may have already happened with this year's restructuring but the system is so convoluted that we cannot be sure looking in as contributors. As Jo Ann noted, the debt burden has them scratching for any loose change they can find and contributor payouts are one of those sources.

ShadySue

« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 18:27 »
+4
 And remember the Premium Access stuff, where they get a fee which we don't share, then the buyer buys files for a lower price out of which we get our percentage, so as a 30% exclusive, I can get as little as 11c (maybe less, I've tried to forget  >:()

« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 21:50 »
0
Look the numbers at the right of this page. If you contribute to the top 5 sites as non-exclusive you will make more money than as a single iS exclusive.
Pond5 is almost all video and Alamy does a lot of RM so you can still go exclusive for photos and get the bulk of those numbers.  30% should be easy to reach, even higher levels are much easier to reach with the changes.  I'm up every month this year over the last 2 years, about 20% overall from last year and around my best ever.  Not saying that will happen for anyone starting now, there are some obstacles (your old files won't be priced higher as far as I understand it for example).  I think if you produce a good amount of work with good quality you would do well but you need to be honest with yourself. 

« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 01:34 »
+3
I am sure Is is Ok for many of their top exclusives The trouble with IS however is that I am sure at one stage or another Getty will close them down. Istock is nothing but a thorn in the side of Getty and thats why they bought it from Bruce in the first place. Not for making good but to destroy!  and yes they have succeeded in that!

« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 01:40 »
+2
I am sure Is is Ok for many of their top exclusives The trouble with IS however is that I am sure at one stage or another Getty will close them down. Istock is nothing but a thorn in the side of Getty and thats why they bought it from Bruce in the first place. Not for making good but to destroy!  and yes they have succeeded in that!
As they own it they could just shut it down if they wanted. I prefer the theory they are just incompetent.

MxR

« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 01:44 »
0
If you make quality images exclusivity can works. Signature + are well paid as subs and mirrowed in Getty (yes i know Getty is evil... but now exclusives with 1,5$- 2$ or RPI/month)

If you make average images... not.

drd

« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 03:09 »
+3
If you make quality images exclusivity can works. Signature + are well paid as subs and mirrowed in Getty (yes i know Getty is evil... but now exclusives with 1,5$- 2$ or RPI/month)

You are wrong with this. There is no price difference between an S or S+ subscription sale since the unification.

« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 03:18 »
0
Not to sound like a broken record but when adding up the numbers on the right please also bear in mind that the there's a certain level of bias built into how the poll works with regards to IStock exclusivity.

You have to have a certain level of sales before you become exclusive, so there will be low earners averaged into the non-IStock figures that wouldn't even be able to go exclusive (potentially a lot of them as most people fall into the low earner category in this industry, with a few people at the top making most of the money).

In other words the difference for a person who can become exclusive will be even more slanted towards non-exclusive=more money.

« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 03:25 »
+4
One factor to consider is that the exclusives reporting earnings on the Poll Results table will almost all be long-term exclusives whose files/sales history may have benefited from that. If you are independent and switch to exclusive your files (and you) will have an existing history that may give them a poorer search position than files that have always been exclusive. So you might not get as much benefit from switching to exclusive as the poll suggests.
Another thing to remember is that there was at least one leading agency (can't remember which it was) that used not to allow people to return to it if they went istock exclusive and then wanted to go independent again. I don't know if that is still the case, but if so it might be a problem later on.
All this is speculative, of course. These days you'll struggle to find people who drop independence to become exclusive ... there are reasons for that.... so an informed response to your question will be equally hard to find.

MxR

« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2017, 03:38 »
+1
If you make quality images exclusivity can works. Signature + are well paid as subs and mirrowed in Getty (yes i know Getty is evil... but now exclusives with 1,5$- 2$ or RPI/month)

You are wrong with this. There is no price difference between an S or S+ subscription sale since the unification.

Look the signature+ minimun PPF 4,15 for s+ vs teh minimun ppf 0,75 essential or signature. 

« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2017, 03:58 »
+1
I have done some serious thinking after taking part of all the knowledge and thoughts in this thread and trying to line up the pros and cons about going exclusive on IS. It seem to me I will be better of uploading images in the way I do to day in terms of income from sales.
But Im pretty tired doing all the boring work....uploading.....keywords.....etc. etc....to different agencies.
I dont think I ever will be a top producer of images that sell in thousands, so I would probably be comfortable in uploading to just one agency but a very poor exclusive contributor  :'( :'( :'(
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 05:40 by PelleBo »

« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2017, 09:08 »
0
One factor to consider is that the exclusives reporting earnings on the Poll Results table will almost all be long-term exclusives whose files/sales history may have benefited from that. If you are independent and switch to exclusive your files (and you) will have an existing history that may give them a poorer search position than files that have always been exclusive. So you might not get as much benefit from switching to exclusive as the poll suggests.
Another thing to remember is that there was at least one leading agency (can't remember which it was) that used not to allow people to return to it if they went istock exclusive and then wanted to go independent again. I don't know if that is still the case, but if so it might be a problem later on.
All this is speculative, of course. These days you'll struggle to find people who drop independence to become exclusive ... there are reasons for that.... so an informed response to your question will be equally hard to find.

People who left exclusive did so because they could make more with a variety of agencies after cuts, more cuts and changes at iStock. Add another reason why the numbers are slanted. The same happens at places like Deposit. People who stay are there because they have good numbers, people who left, did that because of low sales, earnings cuts and ethics. That makes the DP numbers look better, when it's actually a self selected grouping.

Sure Getty cares about owning IS, they are paying us a pittance 15% for work that they can sell for 85% return. Then they cut the editorial so only Getty can get that action. Getty has cash flow problems but is paying the minimum and would probably be happy if there were no indigent, idjet, oops, independent contributors. But of course for 15% they will promise to care about us, as they are picking our pockets and paying the minimum of the industry.

Right, there have been places in the past, if you leave, you can't come back DT was one. There has always been a revolving door and keeping track of the in and out was just a big problem for keeping records. Easier to say, you leave, you're out.

The new exclusive on IS doesn't require any level of sales, they changed that to anyone who wants, can be exclusive. Kind of like, one photo and you pass on SS. Open door isn't bad as it allows anyone who wants to enter the business at the level of their choice. https://workwithus.istockphoto.com/en Funny how this page has a grammar error. Also how the application review time is 30 days or more. They don't really seem very concerned.

« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2017, 09:20 »
+2
My non-exclusive iStock revenue accounts for ~16% of the total.
So even if, by some miracle, I could end-up getting 5 times more for being exclusive, I would still lose ~20% of my revenue. I consider this loss significant.

Besides, putting all your eggs in a single basket is a big risk in this rather uncertain market.
I would not consider taking this risk even for 6-7 times more.

Maybe at 8 times or more, this could become interresting.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 12:34 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2017, 21:24 »
+1
I have done some serious thinking after taking part of all the knowledge and thoughts in this thread and trying to line up the pros and cons about going exclusive on IS. It seem to me I will be better of uploading images in the way I do to day in terms of income from sales.
But Im pretty tired doing all the boring work....uploading.....keywords.....etc. etc....to different agencies.
I dont think I ever will be a top producer of images that sell in thousands, so I would probably be comfortable in uploading to just one agency but a very poor exclusive contributor  :'( :'( :'(

If you put your titles, descriptions, and keywords in the metadata once in photoshop or lightroom then you won't have to do it on each site.  I haven't uploaded anywhere in awhile, but istock always used to take as much time/effort to upload to as the next 6 or 7 sites combined. 

With the ESP upload do we still have to deal with the CV, disambiguation,  etc.?

« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2017, 02:10 »
+2
Hi
I'm considering going exclusive on Istock but I'm still not sure if it's worth it. Anyone who has become an exclusive contributor and can shed some light on this.
Does your earnings increase in a way that it's worth it??
I submit images to Istock, Shutterstock, Fotolia, Bigstock, 123RF and Dreamstime. Decent earnings from IS, SS and FT. I'm curious if it's possible to make more money on Istock alone then all of them together? Would be nice to have only one agency to upload to, but I hesitate because I can't see how Istock alone can generate more income than all of them together.

Any thoughts and experiences???

Best
Pelle.........feeling uncertain

don't waist your time!!! istock don't want exclusive, they are promoting no exclusive content since 2 years...and you have no perks if you become exclusive...your download also will decrease bc your files are more expensive !!!


 

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