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Author Topic: Exclusive stuff hotting up....  (Read 7363 times)

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« on: April 14, 2008, 23:48 »
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As I reported in another thread, many of you will have noticed the little '% of exclusive files' note that has appeared next to 'number of files online' in your personal Fotolia statistics.

It is my belief that later this year we will start to see the demand for exclusive material start to gather some momentum.  And in 2009 perhaps we'll see the battle for exclusive stuff really hot up.

I wonder which agency will be the first to charge higher prices for exclusive content - higher prices for exclusive also means higher commissions for the artists.  I'm surprised iStock hasn't implemented this already.

Frankly, its really only exclusive material that adds any value to an image agency; nobody is going to come along and bid millions to buy x agency or y agency if all they've got is the same library as everyone else.  The thing that makes an agency gain value is an exclusive portfolio.

Perhaps this little note from Fotolia is the first sign that agencies are going to get serious about exclusive content.

My bet is that by the end of 2009 many of us here will have chosen to go exclusive with an agency, or will be submitting many more exclusive images than we do at present.  By then, exclusive images will be being given much higher preference in search results as agencies try to build their exclusive asset value at the expense of independent images.


helix7

« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 23:55 »
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...My bet is that by the end of 2009 many of us here will have chosen to go exclusive with an agency, or will be submitting many more exclusive images than we do at present...

One of two possibilities could lead me to exclusivity:

1.) Diminishing returns at SS brings istock up to at least 55% of my monthly earnings (preferably 60%).

2.) istock offers a fair commission for exclusivity.

At present, things are going well at SS for me, so #1 isn't likely to happen any time soon, especially with the raise coming next month. And I doubt very much istock will raise commissions. And if they did, it would probably just be the long overdue Black Diamond raise. At my present level (Silver) the exclusive commission is far too low, and even at Diamond it's not very good. How can they pay less than 50% for exclusive content?

As long as exclusivity still means a 20-30% paycut for me, I'll keep my distance.



« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2008, 00:36 »
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Quote
Frankly, its really only exclusive material that adds any value to an image agency

That is exactly the reason that I cannot see how a new startup agency can still make it today. Sites like LO, Albumo and SV arrived too late on the scene, while sites such as CS did not use the opportunity at the time to establish their market share.  No photographer will give them exclusive images and they simply cannot offer any customer more than what is available on the big 6 sites.  I am amazed that there are still new sites that popped up every month (and photographers that actually give them a try).   While they may lure an occasional buyer all the serious buyers will in the end make use of the one of the well established sites and no amount of marketing will change this.

« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2008, 09:26 »
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Very good point about value, not just value to customers but also corporate value.  An agency without exclusivity isn't worth much more than than their equipment, structures, and holdings, the intellectual assets that they have, being non-exclusive, lack much in the way of value.  Exclusive intellectual assets on the other hand are much more valuable.  If a dollar value were to be placed on an agency's library, Istock's would be worth significantly more than anywhere else because of their content.  As a company, this is a very good thing, at allows a more favorable standing with financial institutions and should the owners decide to sell out (or the opposite not sell out), having the value of the company very high is always advantageous. 

I think that you are right on this one hatman, exclusiveness is the next step.  IS are the trailblazers of the industry on many fronts, and their foot is soundly in the door.  I think though that the FT approach is going to catch on, instead of full artist exclusivity like IS has, the push for single image exclusivity will enable the same net end result on the collection, while at the same time not turning away contributers because they must close up shop elsewhere.

If this is the way the industry is moving, and it really looks like it is, single image exclusivity will eventually lead to partial site specialization IMO.  For example say that you produce file X and you know that it is a good one.  It really fits what sells well at site Y, so offer it exclusive there.  Site Y now becomes better at what sells best and further cements their hold on that segment.  They all will still have the general libraries, that won't change, but single image exclusivity, if it becomes lucrative, leads to the decision, where do I list this.  The primary answer is where will it sell the best, the little differences and nuances between each site now will begin to become more and more magnified, and as the gaps in differences grows, the buyers too will slowly learn and adapt and migrate to whoever suits them best, further widening the margin.

« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2008, 10:51 »
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All great comments, and glad to see them coming from knowledgeable people.

FeatPics has a "can only be found here" checkbox, but the have no clue as to how to market it. So in addition to having the exclusive feature, you as an agency also have to properly broadcast that fact.

For survival, offering at least some unique content will be necessary. I like the DT deal where I can set invidual images to exclusive if I want. I have some strange little images that seem to sell well there but probably would not do well elsewhere, so just assigned them Exc to DT.

helix7

« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2008, 11:10 »
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There was a thread at SS a while back asking people if they would go exclusive with SS should the option ever become available. I said no, because SS isn't always my top earner. My ranking fluctuate too much between agencies to make exclusivity with any one of them too risky. But for many people SS soundly represents more than 50% of their monthly earnings consistently. Many people said that they would go exclusive, as long as the added pay per image was fair.

All SS would need to do is offer double commissions for exclusive artists, and I would guarantee that they'd have a nice roster of exclusives.

For IS, all they need to do is offer 50% commissions for Diamond earners and I would guarantee that their exclusive numbers would climb significantly. The top tier of 40% right now is too low.

Same for any other company: Offer a fair exclusive commission, and have proven sales records, and people will go exclusive.

Of course only a handful of companies can make this work right now, since a certain level of sales volume is required to entice people towards exclusivity. I just think that it would only take a small added commitment from the big sites to make exclusivity a realistic option for more people.



lisafx

« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2008, 11:15 »
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As usual, Waldo makes a lot of sense. 

I would like to add, though, that there really needs to be some significant financial gain to contributors for making content exclusive.  So far I have not seen that from any agency that offers per/image exclusivity.

Yes, you can charge more and get a higher % of payout, but from the few exclusive images I have at DT and FOT there does not seem to be enough to offset lost sales from selling on multiple sites.

I am happy to put one or two images from a series exclusively on one site, or concepts that are fairly commonplace.  But I really don't see the financial incentive to put my best images or most unique content on one site exclusively. 

Fotolia's Infinite Collection sounded promising, but even there I would be hesitant to put more than a few test images there, and then if those paid off significantly then maybe I would consider shooting more unique concepts for them. 

But as my first efforts to submit to the infinite collection were universally rejected it may be a moot point anyway ;)

« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2008, 04:12 »
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I wonder which agency will be the first to charge higher prices for exclusive content - higher prices for exclusive also means higher commissions for the artists.  I'm surprised iStock hasn't implemented this already.


You can charge more for exclusive content on FT already as you start moving up though the bronze, silver, gold ranks etc - and get a higher percentage return for them

« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2008, 07:16 »
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I have 50 % of my photos exclusives on FT (was my first micro), I am bronze and I put prices the highest I can. Got an EL last time and got $ 26 not bad at all... and got for L sizes $ 4.16....
I guess it is good sometime to play with exclusivity at FT....

Ah yes and for the 1st time in 8 months, FT will be my number   one earner ahead of SS...

L
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 07:18 by ldambies »

jsnover

« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2008, 11:00 »
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Fotolia's Infinite Collection sounded promising,...But as my first efforts to submit to the infinite collection were universally rejected it may be a moot point anyway ;)

So what was the rejection reason - type of photograph or some type of technical complaint?

« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2008, 12:49 »
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I quite like the Infinite collection at Fotolia, it is a brilliant idea. However this is not an aim for exclusive material as infinite collection images are not exclusive. You can submit them to other mid/macro agencies as long as they are not sold for a lower price.

Fotolia as usual is simply cleverer than the rest and is offering an opportunity for us to sell our best work for more money as simple as that. 123rf is also coming up with their EVO collection which is basically the same thing.

I see many microstock agencies doing this, it makes sense to sell the best photos at good prices while keeping the "normal" average photos at microstock prices. I am going to shoot for mid/macro stock exclusively and I will be submitting the not so good photos to micro from now on.

lisafx

« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2008, 13:18 »
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Fotolia's Infinite Collection sounded promising,...But as my first efforts to submit to the infinite collection were universally rejected it may be a moot point anyway ;)

So what was the rejection reason - type of photograph or some type of technical complaint?

No idea.  "Image quality".  No specific explanation offered. 

I contacted Chad, who had encouraged me to submit in the first place, for an explanation, but that was a couple weeks back and no word yet.

helix7

« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2008, 13:57 »
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...it makes sense to sell the best photos at good prices while keeping the "normal" average photos at microstock prices....

I agree. Microstock companies are wise to try differentiating their better quality work from the "dollar stock" stigma. It's a natural evolution in stock, and it is good to see microstock finally getting into it. Macro companies have done this forever, creating special collections, premium collections, etc.

It's a good move.



jsnover

« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2008, 15:17 »
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I quite like the Infinite collection at Fotolia, it is a brilliant idea. ...Fotolia as usual is simply cleverer than the rest and is offering an opportunity for us to sell our best work for more money as simple as that.


Well the infinite collection certainly sells for more money, although I'm yet to be convinced that the work is actually all that much better. Not casting aspersions at you in particular Andres - your work is excellent.

Take a look at this:
http://us.fotolia.com/id/6800274

An XL of this image will cost you $480

Compare with any number of others, but for the sake of argument this one, where an XL will cost you $5

http://us.fotolia.com/id/1834279

I don't see how you can argue that the first (more expensive) shot is anything more than a competent, if uninspired shot. Lighting OK, models OK, but how is it worth nearly 10 times the price of the second?

Here's another example pair from a search of woman gardening (again $480 vs. $5 for an XL):
http://us.fotolia.com/id/6645259
http://us.fotolia.com/id/2664903


I suppose I should find it heartening that there is so much truly ordinary stuff in the Infinite collection - pricing that higher would make the regular collection (where my images live) more appealing.

OTOH, I recall some article a while back in the New York Times business section where a bag manufacturer was saying how sales went from lackluster to stellar when they started doing wait lists for the bag and controlling supply so that you couldn't just walk in and buy one. The appearance of something "special" doesn't always have to go with the reality of the product to boost sales.

« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2008, 18:44 »
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Hip Hip hoera....  excactly what i was saying several post ago...

Eather some stock site pushes you or not... it's just a numbers/popularity thing.

Patrick H.


« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2008, 11:46 »
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The real problem is that microstock is too undervalued  (as today's prices) to make it attractive to become exclusive in any way.  If prices were midstock prices then one would consider becoming exclusive (image exclusive that is) with one agency.  The exclusivity model implemented by IS is absurd, to say the least.  They offer a less than generous comission and you become artist exclusive, which was unheard of before IS created this figure.  In todays market, with low prices, and suscriptions, we rely on every single sale to make our portfolios work as a whole.  To require exclusivity with today's prices is to ask too much from photographers without offering anything in return.

I agree that micros have to become more exclusive with their material buthave to pay more (way more) to attract photographers into this model. 

jsnover

« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2008, 11:58 »
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A small but significant correction. You become RF exclusive if you choose to go that route at iStock. You may still sell RM elsewhere.

« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2008, 14:19 »
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The market value of the stocksite is not in the number of images exclusive or not, but just like the "real world" the value is in it's business model which means its Market Share, Turnover current and projected and the bottom line is the Order Book

So is exclusives good for the buyer, if you were looking for images would you prefer sites with more exclusive images, which could mean you have to buy credits and spend time at a number of sites to fill your picky clients requirement, or a one stop shop where you have a good range?

When you go to the supermarket you have a choice of branded or Store Branded economy and exclusive store branded goods, that is a good model in a free market, clothing is different if you want top end designer then you go to the designers outlet, but I would think stock sites are supermarkets, bringing a big range of different branded goods to a single outlet.

For the stocksites exclusives are not as profitable as they cut into thier margin, but may add a needed sales dimension to the business to attract buyers, who then purchase both the exclusive and non exclusive images, and overall everyone is happy, so I do not think there will be an exclusive war, just that other sites like SS may soon see the benefit of having a collection of exclusive images as a lower markup sales pulling strategy, but they will only be looking for a limited number of exclusive images.

That is I.M.H.O.   

David
« Last Edit: May 23, 2008, 14:22 by Adeptris »

Yuri_Arcurs

  • One Crazy PhotoManic MadPerson
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2008, 15:06 »
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I quite like the Infinite collection at Fotolia, it is a brilliant idea. However this is not an aim for exclusive material as infinite collection images are not exclusive. You can submit them to other mid/macro agencies as long as they are not sold for a lower price.

Fotolia as usual is simply cleverer than the rest and is offering an opportunity for us to sell our best work for more money as simple as that. 123rf is also coming up with their EVO collection which is basically the same thing.

I see many microstock agencies doing this, it makes sense to sell the best photos at good prices while keeping the "normal" average photos at microstock prices. I am going to shoot for mid/macro stock exclusively and I will be submitting the not so good photos to micro from now on.


I have 270 files in the inf collection and they sell quit well. It is very easy for agencies like fotolia with a high commission and higher prices to compete surprisingly efficiently against agencies like IS. I am still testing the Inf collection, but so far it is able to produce 80% of the RPI I have in my microstock non-exclusive channel. 80% is pretty good considering that you only have to upload to one place!


 

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