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Author Topic: 2015: your image market predictions & personal resolutions ?  (Read 39657 times)

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« on: December 18, 2014, 12:12 »
0
Predictions and guesses: What will happen and how are you planning to take your work forward ?

BTW: here is the thread which I started this time last year. 2014: your image market predictions & personal resolutions ?


« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 12:17 »
+17
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 12:20 »
+6
Well let me offer a burst of cheer.

I expect more pricing schemes - subscriptions, packages, special deals for 'big important' customers - that pay less and less to the contributor and conceal the real charges to the buyer.  I expect more small agencies, paying fair commissions, to go out of business.  I expect SS to continue gaining market share, and maybe this will be the year they start trying to increase profits by paying out less to contributors, employing some smokescreen tactic like setting up a separate 'brand' or concealing a price rise to buyers in the form of increased up-front subscription fees.

I stopped doing microstock early this year and I don't plan to do more unless something starts making sense again.  I'm now focusing on print sales, had some promising results this year and hope to build on that in the future.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 17:09 by stockastic »

Shelma1

« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 12:23 »
+7
I expect SS will continue to gain market share, but I have the opposite prediction. I think they'll start making more big sales to ad agencies and pay contributors more. I say this because for the first time, I'm working in a major ad agency that has a contract with Shutterstock. It was all Getty until recently. And the art director I'm working with is impressed by the rise in image quality over the past couple of years.

« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2014, 12:49 »
0
I expect more exciting news.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2014, 13:43 »
+14
Predictions >

Mobile stock will grow exponentially. Many new sites will open. Existing sites will make mobile more of a priority. The ones that have their act together will aggressively build their worldwide network of smartphone users who meet the current trend of authentic and timely photos. Sites will start to put in more controls to weed out unsellable images and promote salable mages. Because Joe/Jane-smartphone contributor has never made a penny with their photos they will be glad to accept peanuts, or even nothing but exposure, that the vultures offer them. Overall stock prices will be pushed down and the majority of non-specialty contributors will earn less. The good news about this is the general public will now become more aware of piracy and fair compensation which if it picks up enough steam may end up pushing prices back up a few years down the road when enough Joe/Jane-smartphone contributors realize they're being taken advantage of.

Competition will heat up. Getty and Shutterstock will wait to see what Adobe does and then will need to react by making changes in order to compete. I don't see rainbows, unicorns or a money tree from this. Contributor royalty models will turn into vague shell games. Additional competition will come from at least one more big player/company entering stock. This will either come from acquisition or from an existing established image company like Instragram, Flickr, or Google introducing stock licensing to monetize their massive image database. This may or may not be good for contributors but I would predict sometime during 2015 at least one company will attempt to monetize images without compensating their owners.

A new licensing method will be introduced. Companies will move away from pay-once models like RF. No more perpetual licenses. There aren't enough buyers or sales to sustain perpetual licensing anymore. The new model will essentially be a hybrid of subscription and Rights Managed. I think the first one will be Getty will monetizing embeds. They're currently evaluating the free embed model to gather data and figure out how to monetize it. If they come up with a user-friendly pay and license model this may catch on. Embed would allow Getty to track usage. It would also allow them to have a new usage-based rights managed license. A buyer could license an image for a month, year, and so on. The buyer would get better pricing but would also need to renew which would generate the recurring revenue. If the buyer doesn't renew the image gets turned off and there's no more indefinite usage. If the image is only available through Embed this may lessen piracy.

Personal >

I will transition out of micro. I may leave my generic something-isolated stuff in micro but I'm not producing that kind of work anymore anyway. I'm now producing higher value work and will move existing work to macro and see how the return is. If it's bad I will drop agencies. All new work I will sell directly through my website with a simplified hybrid RM license.

I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

I will make changes so I can pursue infringements. It's disgusting. A quick Google Image search turns up hundreds of suspect uses and some obvious theft. But by using RF licenses through micro agencies I have no solid evidence and little control. Since my new work will be sold directly using RM I will be able to tell who are customers and who are thieves. I will then look to start using the legal system and my copyright registered images to take advantage of the $120K per violation fees.

On a side note, I wish there was a better platform for selling direct. Nothing is getting better for contributors. They only way we have control is by selling direct. We need a buyer friendly method of pooling contributor images together into a virtual stock agency. I can't see a co-op working. Symbiostock had great potential but no strategy or commitment. Photoshelter Agency is nice but I don't have much confidence in their leadership. I think Photodeck has the capabilities but I don't know if they would pursue something like this. Somebody needs to.

« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2014, 14:09 »
+6
More agencies will emerge to challenge Stocksy and OFFSET providing higher-end RF imagery at Macro(ish) prices. More and more high end shooters will abandon the Micros as royalties become increasingly unsustainable - clients will follow them.

Please let this come to fruition....

« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2014, 14:13 »
+8
More agencies will emerge to challenge Stocksy and OFFSET providing higher-end RF imagery at Macro(ish) prices. More and more high end shooters will abandon the Micros as royalties become increasingly unsustainable - clients will follow them.

Please let this come to fruition....
Stocksy and Offset are not microstock sites pricing at macrostock levels, they are macrostock sites pricing at microstock (midstock) levels.  They are trying to take customers away from more expensive agencies (going after the RM market with cheaper RF images) not trying to convert lower paying customers into higher paying ones.

« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2014, 14:16 »
+10
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...

« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2014, 14:35 »
0
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...
I doubt Stocksy is taking too much business, they are pretty small relatively.  If they can put upward pressure on royalty rates that would be great but at the same time Shutterstock's Offset pays a lower royalty rate (Getty RM is 30-40% depending on the type of file and where it's sold while Offset is about 30%).  Last I saw SS said it pays about the same at Offset as the overall rate which, depending on which exec or which day is 27-30%, does anyone know what the royalty rate is at Offset or is it variable depending on the contributor?
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 14:37 by tickstock »

Uncle Pete

« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 14:36 »
+8
Prediction:

Personal Targets?
Make more money = pay more taxes. Plant an herb garden four times larger than what I had last year. Photograph a meteorite shower and get more than one marginally good shot! Hang four more bird houses in the back yard. Keep working on the daily time-lapse "camera in a box" and other projects. 

Unchanged view of living life:
An oxen may pull a heavy cart, but a bird builds it's nest in a tree.

« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2014, 14:43 »
0
There's a lot of truth in that. I suspect Stocksy is taking a lot of business from Getty. But as Getty pays an unfair royalty rate I have no sympathy...
I doubt Stocksy is taking too much business, they are pretty small relatively.  If they can put upward pressure on royalty rates that would be great but at the same time Shutterstock's Offset pays a lower royalty rate (Getty RM is 30-40% depending on the type of file and where it's sold while Offset is about 30%).  Last I saw SS said it pays about the same at Offset as the overall rate which, depending on which exec or which day is 27-30%, does anyone know what the royalty rate is at Offset or is it variable depending on the contributor?

OFFSET is 30% royalty

« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2014, 14:45 »
+1
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2014, 14:48 »
+3
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.

« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2014, 14:59 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 15:02 by tickstock »

« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2014, 15:14 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??

« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2014, 15:23 »
+1
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??

Edit: Multiple sales to the same client, of course. Doh..!


« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2014, 15:24 »
0
OFFSET is 30% royalty
Ok so that is worse for contributors than Getty RM.

But at least prices are fixed at OFFSET. I removed everything from Getty because many sales to high value clients were comparable to Microstock.
I guess that's because of the difference between RM and RF.   I know on Alamy I've had some RM sales that recurred whereas if they were sold as RF I would only have had one sale.

I don't follow. Why would they only make one sale as RF..??
Because RM sales have limits.  I've had a few one time use sales for $50-100 that were then licensed again a few months later by the same company.  $100 isn't too much but if it happens a few times it adds up.  If those same sales were of an RF image (like at Offset licensing RF images to compete with RM sales) they would only need to licensed once and then they could use them over and over.  A lot of RM sales are lower priced because of limited usage.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2014, 17:26 »
+2
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

Yeah after looking at it there are a few greyed out people and a lot of other people that don't seem to be active

« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2014, 18:17 »
+3
Based on the thread from last year I predict this forum will disappear.  A lot of people have left here since then haven't they.

Yeah after looking at it there are a few greyed out people and a lot of other people that don't seem to be active

Some of those who left have been through one and sometimes two alternative usernames since then. And I have noticed that some people are running more than one username.

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2014, 19:00 »
+4
microstock is closing it's boom/bust cycle and in 2015 we will see further consolidation of the market in favor of SS and lots of merges and acquisitions while many of the smaller agencies will eventually sink as they've just no money to compete with the big guys and to stay afloat.

as for pricing and fees there could be some adjustments but no big deal as the trend now seems to be all about subs and how to squeeze more money out of subs.

IPTC and keywording : i don't see any reason to predict agencies will finally agree on a unified industry standard IPTC and Adobe could even come make it more cumbersome now that they own Fotolia and they think they know better !

uploading : same as above, Alamy doesn't seem to be on a rush to allow us FTP or a quicker keywording.

software : i wouldn't expect any revolutionary app coming up in the scene, actually some will abandon the market as they become more and more irrilevant or they are facing competition from free or semi-free apps and addons.

mobile : despite all the hype, where is the money in mobile stock and mobile images ? this is still the million dollar question that nobody ever answered with facts and cold data ... of all the mobile startups that promised wonders selling or monetizing mobile images i haven't seen a single one actually delivering and keeping his promises, as expected it was 99% smoke and mirrors or outright scams which perfectly fits the startup mumbo jumbo and the actual inflated and hyper up dot-com boom 2.0 environment.

----------------------

in conclusion : no good news for us at the horizon but neither a negative outlook, life goes on as usual and the stock industry is here to stay.


« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2014, 19:07 »
+1
Alamy doesn't seem to be on a rush to allow us FTP


???

http://discussion.alamy.com/index.php?/topic/3417-changes/?p=55710

Quote
The good news is that we are rolling the FTP option out to all contributors over the next month or so.

« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2014, 19:43 »
0
I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

are you talking about print on demand or other things like selling in a market or a local shop?

cheers and thanks for sharing your strategy!

« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2014, 21:16 »
+4
Predictions >
I will transition out of micro...
+1  Last week I submitted what I expect was my last microstock image - now on to what I hope will be bigger things (still enjoy reading MSG though - and best of luck to everyone in 2015 :D)

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2014, 21:41 »
+7
I will find more non-stock methods of monetizing my images. A couple years ago when I could see where things were going with stock I started experimenting with non-stock sales. This month my non-stock sales revenue is currently on track to be 3X my stock revenue. I'm glad I made changes back then.

are you talking about print on demand or other things like selling in a market or a local shop?

cheers and thanks for sharing your strategy!

At the moment I'm talking about prints in general and also direct licensing. I may at some point do commission portraits but I'm more interested in recurring revenue and not dealing with people.

I think a lot of us, me included, get stuck in the micro mindset that images aren't worth much. I've spent the past couple years brushing up my SEO skills and optimizing my images and am getting contacted directly regularly by companies who want to license my work.

Because of my exclusive IS agreement I've had to send them to Getty/IS. These companies were willing to pay thousands. They were amazed with IS low pricing. So this was a customer I developed and got a small percentage of peanuts instead of 100% of thousands of dollars. And this was with the old IS pricing.

I recently was contacted by another company who wanted to use several images on their products. This one was prepared to pay a license fee and also pay me per product sale royalty. And so I'm supposed to send them to IS where with the new pricing they can get an image for $30 and I get $10? No way. Not anymore. I told the guy I'm interested but we'd need to wait a while to do anything.

I've also been contacted by an event rep who suggested a booth with prints at their show. Huge show with a lot of sales potential. I may consider doing this. I've done plenty of tradeshows for my day job and the right ones can pay off big.

The bottom line is there are plenty of buyers willing to pay a premium for the right images and there are plenty of sales channel opportunities beyond stock. Experiment outside of stock and see what works.

ETA: Just wanted to add. I appreciate the opportunity I've had with the agencies. But they continue to make changes that for each of us there's a point where it just no longer makes financial sense to continue doing business with them.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 21:57 by PaulieWalnuts »


 

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