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Author Topic: Microstock has reached a plateau...  (Read 24164 times)

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« on: July 11, 2010, 18:34 »
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From Jim Pickerell (Jim has been involved in the stock photography business for more than 40 years as a photographer, newsletter writer, pricing guide author, industry analysts, expert witness and co-owner of the stock agency, Stock Connection.) He recently wrote this -

A 14-month review of downloads of images belonging to 198 of iStockphotos leading contributors has led me to the inescapable conclusion that microstock has reached a plateau in terms of number of images downloaded. The number of images customers are purchasing is no longer growing, and may, in fact, be in a slight decline. A combined total of 567,324 images on the iStock site belong to these 198 individuals and they represent about 5.2% of iStocks total collection. In the past six months these individuals have increased the number of images they have in their iStock collections by an average of about 10%. Also, in the past 14 months approximately 29% of all the downloads iStock has made were of images belonging to these 198 individuals.


« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2010, 19:18 »
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I don't want to be Captain Obvious, but didn't iStock significantly raise prices for exclusives 6 months ago. That usually results in lower downloads, but higher revenues for contributors. Just a theory though.

« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2010, 21:08 »
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I don't want to be Captain Obvious, but didn't iStock significantly raise prices for exclusives 6 months ago. That usually results in lower downloads, but higher revenues for contributors. Just a theory though.
That's a fact for me

alias

« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 02:17 »
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From Jim Pickerell (Jim has been involved in the stock photography business for more than 40 years as a photographer, newsletter writer, pricing guide author, industry analysts, expert witness and co-owner of the stock agency, Stock Connection.) He recently wrote this -

A 14-month review of downloads of images belonging to 198 of iStockphotos leading contributors has led me to the inescapable conclusion that microstock has reached a plateau in terms of number of images downloaded. The number of images customers are purchasing is no longer growing, and may, in fact, be in a slight decline.

The collection is growing more quickly than 198 portfolios. So it seems unlikely that the state of the business could be divined from 198 artists. He seems to be ignoring the many - to - many nature of crowd sourcing.

Quote
A combined total of 567,324 images on the iStock site belong to these 198 individuals and they represent about 5.2% of iStocks total collection.

567,324 is not 5.2% of 7m.

Quote
in the past 14 months approximately 29% of all the downloads iStock has made were of images belonging to these 198 individuals

If the total number of downloads could be calculated from public data then that would be the number to puzzle over.

« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 02:34 »
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And this is just istock, what about all the other sites?  Lots of people have mentioned FT sales are improving more than istock.  I'm not sure istock is still a microstock site, prices are so much higher than the early microstock years.

« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2010, 03:25 »
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Microstock reaching a plateau based only in this data, I don't think so....
Microstock might not be called microstock in few years anyway:)
 
We should ask Paul the Octopus, he probably have a more accurate prediction than JP  ;D

« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2010, 03:35 »
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Internet is developing market, also a microstock even younger and a few steps behind .
Another thing, even the largest markets (India and China) are not fully opened to the internet...

RT


« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 04:04 »
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We should ask Paul the Octopus, he probably have a more accurate prediction than JP  ;D

Couldn't have put it better myself.

I wonder if JP like many of the other "industry experts who have been in the business 40 years...blah blah blah" ever predicted that digital would never take over from film!

« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2010, 05:21 »
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Although the data and the statistics quoted are somewhat suspect, to say the least, I think most of us know that microstock will eventually plateau. With supply growing faster than demand it is inevitable.

What we don't know is what will happen next __ and neither does Jim Pickerell. I guess the 'photo factories' may act as early indicators of the marketplace. All those shoots cost money and once they find that the return is declining they'll be less inclined to invest in them. The next 5 years should see a good shakeout of contributors who decide their money and time are better spent elsewhere.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2010, 05:52 »
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photo factories are early but partial indicators

they can produce an high number of technically perfect - albeit similar - pictures, but have huge production costs and can't adapt easily to changes or take risks, since they have to pay employees

on the other side, one-man / one-woman photographers - either professionals or high-end hobbyists - may actually profit from the photo factories leaving the game, and still guarantee enough quality for microstock to stay interesting for buyers

so I agree that there may be a shakeout of contributors

and I especially agree that nobody knows
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 06:04 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2010, 06:32 »
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I think it's a bit silly to state that a particular industry has reached its peak while we're in the middle of one of the worst global enconomic recessions in recent history.  Buyers have scaled back their purchases in ALL areas, including microstock.  Yes, large companies and ad agencies have gone from macro to micro to cut costs, but consider the case of small businesses, which have taken the biggest hit during the recession.  They have scaled back to survival levels, cutting marketing and advertising completely, or have gone out of business altogether.  Considering all this, it's shocking that microstock isn't completely in the toilet.

Now think about a global economic recovery, which will happen someday, hopefully soon.  Companies large and small will ramp up their communication efforts very quickly, and as their budgets return, they'll have learned from the lean times to spend it very wisely.  Microstock will be the big beneficiary from this. 

No, microstock has not already reached its plateau.  Tomorrow people will still need images to help their businesses communicate, and they'll want to pay as little as possible for those images.   For the forseeable future, until another business model emerges that makes sense to contributors (free? that's an argument for another thread) microstock will prosper, and will become much larger than it is today.

« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2010, 06:42 »
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No, microstock has not already reached its plateau.  Tomorrow people will still need images to help their businesses communicate, and they'll want to pay as little as possible for those images.   For the forseeable future, until another business model emerges that makes sense to contributors (free? that's an argument for another thread) microstock will prosper, and will become much larger than it is today.

Shhhh.  That won't sell article "credits".

« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2010, 06:44 »
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Plateau will be manifested in a way that the average photographer will have to make one shift  in stock of 8 hours daily, for average monthly earnings in the world...

This will be the plateau and the end of the growing recruitment of new photographers...

What powerdroid said is true...

Internet isn't yet fully marketing tool for all business and companies, but likely it will be in the future...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 06:49 by borg »

« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2010, 07:17 »
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Should we expect a birth of Nanostock for markets like China and India?

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2010, 07:22 »
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completely agree with PowerDroid

and many other "real" jobs in other industries are far less certain than microstock nowadays
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 07:26 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2010, 08:14 »
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According to what I see here in Malaysia  DSLR are very expensive and then copyright laws weak.The numbers of microstock contributor appears to be very small, photographers  prefer to shoot weddings, quick and good money  ;D

« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2010, 09:53 »
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Analyzing the present and predicting the future are two different things. Jim's pretty good at analyzing industry data. Those closest to an industry tend to be the most myopic and I think Jim is farther from it than most of us guys. Everything can change tomorrow for unknown reason but I tend to agree, a plateau is here for the moment.

lagereek

« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2010, 10:19 »
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198 ports?  doesnt say much at all, had they taken the yop say 1000 ports it would have been much more interesting.

« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2010, 11:12 »
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198 ports?  doesnt say much at all, had they taken the yop say 1000 ports it would have been much more interesting.

Do you really need to look that far down a list? Elections are usually forecast by asking a very individuals how they voted as they left the stations. The 198 ports represent, according to JP, over a half million of the best images. To me that's a very good sample size, especially off the top. There seems to be a desire to disbelieve any stat or indication that the micro business might be on a plateau. Which of course gives the opportunity for a decline.

« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2010, 13:20 »
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Should we expect a birth of Nanostock for markets like China and India?

I don't think so!

Today they have more buyers than stockers...

« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2010, 13:41 »
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For the forseeable future, until another business model emerges that makes sense to contributors (free? that's an argument for another thread) microstock will prosper, and will become much larger than it is today.
Bingo. Ellen Boughn had some slips of the tongue a while ago, and also Arcurs. There is something being cooked, and one of the most prominent artists here made a slip of the tongue too. All those people were in Dublin and they apparently conspired there about that new "free" business model. It seems to be covered by an NDA, but we will know soon enough, I've been told in private.

« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2010, 13:49 »
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Great.  Just what we need is a couple of "industry leaders" messing it up for the crowd.

cascoly

  • Photography, travel & online games at cascoly.com

« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2010, 15:15 »
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198 ports?  doesnt say much at all, had they taken the yop say 1000 ports it would have been much more interesting.

Do you really need to look that far down a list? Elections are usually forecast by asking a very individuals how they voted as they left the stations. The 198 ports represent, according to JP, over a half million of the best images. To me that's a very good sample size, especially off the top. There seems to be a desire to disbelieve any stat or indication that the micro business might be on a plateau. Which of course gives the opportunity for a decline.

right the sample size is certainly significant, but not random .  an even more telling stat is
"Also, in the past 14 months approximately 29% of all the downloads iStock has made were of images belonging to these 198 individuals.
"

so 5% of contribuimages have 29% of sales - thus confirming sturgeon's law that " 90% of anything is crap"

« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2010, 15:48 »
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Quote
A combined total of 567,324 images on the iStock site belong to these 198 individuals and they represent about 5.2% of iStocks total collection.

567,324 is not 5.2% of 7m.

Quote
in the past 14 months approximately 29% of all the downloads iStock has made were of images belonging to these 198 individuals

If the total number of downloads could be calculated from public data then that would be the number to puzzle over.
[/quote]

You're absolutely right. 567,324 is about 8% of 7.1 million. I made a mistake in my calculations.

As to calculating from public data, I can be done -- at least to get a ballpark -- but it is a little harder if you tried to start today than if you started before June 2009. In May 2009 I started recording the total downloads for my 198 photographers at the beginning of each month. At that time the actual number of downloads was listed on the photographer's page on iStock and on istockcharts.multimedia.de. After June 2009 iStock changed the game and is only reporting ranges.

Anyway, now I have an actual beginning number and a range (>75,000 but <76,000) of the ending number. I can't tell the exact number, but when you're looking at people with more than 50,000 downloads even the range provides some interesting trend numbers.

« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2010, 15:58 »
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Even without exact data, it sounds reasonable to me that microstock has plateaued.  At least for the moment.  It certainly seems to match the anecdotal data from the few in that higher sales level that have been willing to reveal their sales trends. 

Personally I would much rather see articles written that are realistic (the industry has plateaued) vs. the ones still claiming this is a source of easy money/untold riches. 


 

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