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Author Topic: 3 years in the future. What are you seeing?  (Read 17169 times)

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« Reply #50 on: June 12, 2014, 16:55 »
+7
I have been transitioning to video for years but I see a saturation and market growth problem in video. It is just not as popular as photo.  You need to use it in a produced piece or video web ad.  Photo probably sells 20:1 compared to video. 

With the 4k transition I guess you could see footage taking off as having stills taken out from video by clients buying it or extracting a frame from the site.   

I have more video than ever but revenue stays the same and sales are inching downward.   

My final guess is that Microstock right now is at a low point in the multi-year sales curve.  Be it reduced advertising budgets and or the recession still holding a grasp in consumerism. We will probably see better times ahead but also tougher times in the short term.  It will be a test of endurance and the ones surviving it will probably be able to reap the benefits.

All in all I think the real future of Stock media is for a search engine like google image search to allow us to list content for sale or on youtube and license it directly. Youtube Stock or Vimeo Stock.   Like direct image sales with some sort of revenue model for the sites but much more favorable for the contributor.

We need a patron St. of Microstock to light a candle and say some prayers.   St. DSLR?   :-X


« Reply #51 on: June 12, 2014, 17:07 »
0
I see the same trend as James. It is going to take a lot of work to stay in microstock at this time! Now more then ever you need to up your skills and push your limits to survive. Soon there will be fewer and fewer artist as there will not be any money in it for them and people will not want to go through the hassle of getting releases. I project a slow rest of the year and maybe an uptick next year but not for all artist. I have taken on other projects that pay decent in order to offset the micro side. I still wouldn't change a thing in my life as I love what I do. You need business sense to survive now and if you lack that then it will be a rough ride. There will always be a need in the market for unique good quality content.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #52 on: June 12, 2014, 21:48 »
+2
Have the past three years changed much? There will be more of what's already happening now. Supply of images is outpacing demand which will decrease perceived value and force lower prices of easily produced content. Eventually supply will stall from people not making enough money. Those who have rare or higher value content will move to specialized agencies or focus on selling direct. Generic stock will compete on lowest price.

I think the biggest change may come from a completely new licensing model. Either from a non stock company like an Instagram or from a completely new company. If this really is a multi billion dollar industry there are plenty of new generation entrepreneurs out there working on something innovative to replace the current old model. Not sure if that will be good or bad for contributors but it's only a matter of time.

Theres plenty of opportunity for those who can analyze the trends and adjust accordingly.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #53 on: June 12, 2014, 22:03 »
0
The big attraction with video is the huge amount of potential advertising revenue there is with forcing viewers to sit through 10-30 second sponsored commercials. Unfortunately most of that isn't stock video. It's a custom shoot or some amazing event someone captured on their phone. So video may be the future but not sure where stock video fits into that opportunity.

« Reply #54 on: June 12, 2014, 22:20 »
+4
I guess I'll look into my crystal ball and toss in my two cents... Getty Images/istockphoto - they are saddled with the H&F debt as well as the Caryle Group probably giving themselves a generous dividend (another debt) and trying to sell off the whole package again. The Getty family may attempt to buy up the rest. I predict istock HQ in Calgary will be closed and absorbed into Getty USA since that is how corporate works. Question: How do I lose 30 pounds? Corporate answer: Cut off your right leg. Ask the people who used to work at Veer. Exclusivity will be a thing of the past, as the actions of 2014 are already putting that in motion. (istock subs) A flat 20% (or less) for everybody. I also predict some shake-ups at the top office floors as they are unable to meet any expectations or have a solid plan of action.

Shutterstock - yes the stock is horribly overvalued and it will come down - it has to. Just like Yahoo, it will undergo a dramatic "plunge" and the CEO will soon be facing angry stockholders (mostly mutual fund managers) who will demand more value and scream bloody murder if you try and increase royalties. Also their contributors will be asking for some kind of increase after so many years and with eyes on the company earnings being made public. It may buy up some smaller companies or partner with some big boys (Google?) in an attempt to shore up it's business. Also I should point out here that both Getty and Shutter will be looking more towards the east for image markets and supply. Why pay an American to photograph that apple when I can get someone to do it in China or India for a few cents?

The smaller companies/agencies - some will change, some will consolidate, and a few will go "tits up". Like the early days of the car, there were hundreds of  businesses, and now there are a few. (RIP Packard)

However - all is not lost, I predict more will simply tire of the nonsense and go off on their own to brand themselves and become 100% independent. Also I predict we'll see small groups of artists form their own private markets. Stocksy is a good example, Symbiostock is another. And you can bet that there will be more solutions in the future. We live in a great time, we all have the ability to create great work in the comfort of our home businesses, and instantly access millions of people from around the world. We all have the power to become our own little Getty or Shutterstock. No, it's not easy, you need to work at it. But it's not impossible either.... Glass half full or empty? Forget the glass, there's plenty of water right here in the lake!

« Reply #55 on: June 12, 2014, 22:50 »
0
...Exclusivity will be a thing of the past, as the actions of 2014 are already putting that in motion. (istock subs) A flat 20% (or less) for everybody...

This is one thing that I can't believe hasn't happened already. Even though there may be value in a partially exclusive collection (especially today when so many of these companies have almost the exact same content) I've just always suspected that Getty must hate the idea that iStock pays their exclusive contributors more than 20%. Can't say I blame them. For years they've paid 20% and demanded exclusivity in the Getty house collection, and yet they're paying the same percentage for non-exclusivity at iStock and paying more (in some cases double) for exclusive content. It has to drive them a little crazy.

I agree with you, it could go away in the next 3 years (or far less). Or at the very least restructured in some way. Whatever they do, I can't imagine that anyone at iStock will ever get more than 30%.

Uncle Pete

« Reply #56 on: June 13, 2014, 09:07 »
+1
Both interesting and probably mostly right for the future. Many exclusives have said, they feel like IS/Getty is pushing them out the door and trying to make them "decide" to drop exclusive, so it feels like it's the individual's decision, not IS saying "We're dropping Exclusive".

It's a multi-billion dollar industry for the agencies, not for us. Lets not merge the two into anything. Agencies will grow and prosper. Individuals will become less and less important. Agency income and profits will grow, artists income will drop. This is not some wizards forward view, we're already seeing that and have for a couple of years.

The rapid growth period has passed, for them and us. Now things will be sorting out, leveling off and becoming more stable for agencies. Expect more closings or at least, dormant agencies that keep a presence and take the profits, but don't put out any effort, investment in advertising, for a greater market share.

Myself, I'll continue to shoot what I love and upload when I can, and take the money that I get from SS and IS. If the returns increase, I surely will not complain!  8) But I don't have expectations that overall Microstock is going to improve for artists.

This is not the time to be a new Microstock contributor and try to build a collection and income. At least not using the old methods that worked five to ten years ago.



...Exclusivity will be a thing of the past, as the actions of 2014 are already putting that in motion. (istock subs) A flat 20% (or less) for everybody...

This is one thing that I can't believe hasn't happened already. Even though there may be value in a partially exclusive collection (especially today when so many of these companies have almost the exact same content) I've just always suspected that Getty must hate the idea that iStock pays their exclusive contributors more than 20%. Can't say I blame them. For years they've paid 20% and demanded exclusivity in the Getty house collection, and yet they're paying the same percentage for non-exclusivity at iStock and paying more (in some cases double) for exclusive content. It has to drive them a little crazy.

I agree with you, it could go away in the next 3 years (or far less). Or at the very least restructured in some way. Whatever they do, I can't imagine that anyone at iStock will ever get more than 30%.

« Reply #57 on: June 13, 2014, 13:58 »
+1


Shutterstock -  the CEO will soon be facing angry stockholders (mostly mutual fund managers) who will demand more value and scream bloody murder if you try and increase royalties.

Agree with everything you said, especially the above. The minute there are stockholders, raises become endangered. We can always hope I guess

« Reply #58 on: June 13, 2014, 14:48 »
+1


Shutterstock -  the CEO will soon be facing angry stockholders (mostly mutual fund managers) who will demand more value and scream bloody murder if you try and increase royalties.

Agree with everything you said, especially the above. The minute there are stockholders, raises become endangered. We can always hope I guess

Shutterstock obviously doesn't have a problem attracting new content so I don't think a raise will be on the horizon any time soon. Especially given the fact that they have to keep impatient investors happy.

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #59 on: June 13, 2014, 15:49 »
+1
There will be technological advances like no other!

Everyone will still be here and elsewhere discussing the same thing on all new threads.

We will all be on the new thing from Honda that is like the speeder on star wars.

Etc.

ACS

« Reply #60 on: June 13, 2014, 18:16 »
+1
The overall demand for RF content will increase, MS market will get bigger. This growth will mostly be driven by the emerging economies; buyers from Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa, Turkey, Nigeria, Malaysia, Gulf countries will demand more content especially on "local" subjects. Video and illustration will take bigger pie from the cake when compared to photograph. Some agencies may start to pay more for new/less saturated more demanded/local content...

« Reply #61 on: June 13, 2014, 18:39 »
+1
I guess I'll look into my crystal ball and toss in my two cents... Getty Images/istockphoto - they are saddled with the H&F debt as well as the Caryle Group probably giving themselves a generous dividend (another debt) and trying to sell off the whole package again. The Getty family may attempt to buy up the rest. I predict istock HQ in Calgary will be closed and absorbed into Getty USA since that is how corporate works. Question: How do I lose 30 pounds? Corporate answer: Cut off your right leg. Ask the people who used to work at Veer. Exclusivity will be a thing of the past, as the actions of 2014 are already putting that in motion. (istock subs) A flat 20% (or less) for everybody. I also predict some shake-ups at the top office floors as they are unable to meet any expectations or have a solid plan of action.
I also do think that iStock (and Getty) are under very tight financial constraints and that they want to reduce the payout to Exclusives. However, they are just smart enough to know an across the board whack of percentages would likely stir such outrage that many Exclusives and Independents would bolt for the door. At least enough would that they would see further damage to their business. So here is an opportunity to get rid of the current RC system and install a new (or revive the old) scale system and, under the cover of change, try to lower the payouts once again. Once the contributors see that they lost ground it would again cause more ill will, but it would take some months be able to confirm the losses. Over months some of the energy of an uprising dies down and not as many bolt for the door. On the other hand, burnt once, we all will be watching any of these moves very closely.

iStock could also change to image exclusivity, keeping current photog exclusive images as image exclusive. Then photog exclusivity would be gone and new submissions all track at the lower levels. At least us photog Exclusives would be free to take _new_ images to additional sites and iStock would not be adding images at the higher payout levels. With new images not selling, this might be a viable consideration to transition iStock Exclusives out of the pay scale and allow them more freedom in image placement and exposure for sale (albeit maybe not within the Getty network).

« Reply #62 on: June 13, 2014, 19:08 »
+1
There will come a time very soon that agencies, in addition to contributors, will have to create new differentiators other than using price as the carrot.  I completely side with other here who have mentioned image exclusivity.  In my humble opinion content will be the next differentiator, and the way to attract artists with good content is to make it worthwhile financially.  Many of the good artists, especially niche artists, will contribute to making the difference in collection quality.  The only gap I see is do buyers care? Will they simply be happy with a 25 cent point and shoot image, shot without skill, planning, thought by joe blow sand his digital 110 instamatic? That's, to be, the bigger debate.

« Reply #63 on: June 13, 2014, 19:44 »
+1
...I completely side with other here who have mentioned image exclusivity.  In my humble opinion content will be the next differentiator...

I think this came about sort of organically. Not long ago the idea of any sort of exclusivity was a lot more unpopular. Image exclusivity was always talked about, but not with the same enthusiasm we see today.

The "organic" part of it I think is that it's not that opinions changed, but more that the market has changed to such a degree that we feel compelled to look to this sort of option with renewed interest.

...The only gap I see is do buyers care? Will they simply be happy with a 25 cent point and shoot image, shot without skill, planning, thought by joe blow sand his digital 110 instamatic? That's, to be, the bigger debate.

I think buyers absolutely care. If they didn't, niche shops wouldn't stand a chance. And now more than ever I think that they have good reason to care, when it seems like more and more of the content they find at these big agencies is more of the same stuff that Joe Blow has been doing. If they're content with what Joe produces, then maybe they have no need to look elsewhere. But I suspect that more and more often buyers are expressing an interest in other options.

I would almost guarantee that Offset came about from exactly these types of conversations with buyers. One of the things that Shutterstock does better than pretty much anyone in the business is talking to buyers and contributors. On a daily basis they interact with members of both groups. And since Shutterstock doesn't seem like the kind of company that would make a big move like Offset without at least some indication that buyers wanted it, I'm very inclined to believe that Offset was born out of buyers saying that they do care about quality, planning, concept, skill, etc., and that they want more choice.

« Reply #64 on: July 04, 2014, 05:30 »
+3
I remember studying a business model at university that may explain what is currently happening in the micro stock market.

The model explains that when someone invents new technology or product that consumers want, the market takes off and more and more businesses jump onto the bandwagon, and soon the market becomes over saturated, and eventually this forces down the price. But with the falling prices, eventually the price gets too low for anyone to profit, and the bulk of businesses either go broke, shut down or do something else.

However, if the product is still desirable by the consumers, often one large organisation will dominate and take over the market. The organisation that succeeds will be the one that has the best internal management, systems, etc. For example in the past, IBM with computers, Microsoft with software.

That one organisation will then continue to dominate that market until new technology comes in and takes over. Eg Apple with iPod, iPhone technology.

I think this business model can demonstrate what is happening here with micro stock, and they have hit the top of the market saturation point, and prices have to then naturally decline, until one large organisation remains.

So who will it be? Shutterstock perhaps, if they are smart enough.

« Reply #65 on: July 04, 2014, 05:52 »
+2
So, I don't think micro stock is dead, because there is still a high market demand for it especially with the continuing growth of the internet market. Eg online shopping, information resources, etc.

We are just in the middle of a market correction with too many players in the game. And of course, this goes for contributors as well, until the market corrects and those who do not find it profitable fall away.

« Reply #66 on: July 04, 2014, 15:22 »
+3
Very smart analysis Anja.  You could be right.  I think Getty expects to be the one remaining, but their terrible business decisions and disorganization have left Shutterstock the most likely winner.

But if this consolidation happens won't that be bad for the contributors?


« Reply #67 on: July 04, 2014, 16:02 »
+1
Yes, it would be bad - especially in the interim period. But there is also now, since the digital camera became more available, a glut of contributors, and if this economic model is correct then there will be a rationalisation of contributors as well, and eventually only those who can maintain a good income from it will remain.

It is not a pleasant time for all concerned when there is market over-saturation - a very turbulent time. But eventually the market corrects itself and the main players who remain and survive will do well.

Its been a few years since I studied economics, but I remember there are exceptions to the rule, so depending on the market tolerance, sometimes a small group of businesses rather than just one take over the industry, such as in the petrol industry - an oligopoly instead of an monopoly. And maybe we will be left with just the Big 4 stock agencies, if they do the right thing and look after both contributor and customer.

Tror

« Reply #68 on: July 04, 2014, 16:16 »
0
Sooner or later a smart entrepreneur will enter into the market and screw everything up with a bunch of mentionable investors in his back.

Shutterstock is good atm, but imho they do not understand images (or videos) and thus lacking a critical part of knowledge. They understand business structures, advertising, SEO and search algorithms - and for now it is enough. But their business course is on kamikaze - not only for photographers. Something like a microstock stocksy may very well enter the market at any given moment with a fresh paradigm and attitude. And, just to repeat, I am talking about a well funded, thought through and built business, not just a nice site with a good idea and attitude. You need loads of money to blow into marketing these days.

And regarding style and a shift in paradigms: look at many of the nowadays big sites. You see them linked on Facebook. Other create suddenly major headlines although you never heard about them before (eyem, anyone?). And as soon as you see those sites you immediately understand: "ahhh, that other one I used to use so long really looks like retro now". That hopefully will happen to SS. I say hopefully not because of bad or ill will. I say it because I think the economic scheme (subscription mixed with SOD and special uses and zero innovation) is not sustainable like this nor healthy for us or them. Off course they have the opportunity to evolve by themselves. But given the current ignorance is hinting out a business which sacrificed innovation and flexibility for numbers and size.

3 years? Current big microstock sites will be like the wallmart of stock (or art). If you have no choice you submit there. If you need a quick fix for low budget design you will find there what you want, but anyone with special needs, style or even self esteem will got somewhere else with more specific products or better style.
You may buy a 10$ coffee machine at wallmart because yours suddenly broke friday evening and it is 8pm. But you only buy it as a quick fix until you have the time to order a nice one and compare some products. At least if you have money. Most likely shutterstock (or similars) will even produce a negative image of themselves because of their lack of understanding inspection, creativity and leading of trends. People may say: "What you are able to buy there must be generic rubbish" . And maybe they will be right. "If you want some great stuff go to stocksy, or spacesimages, or 500px prime or whatever".
« Last Edit: July 04, 2014, 16:18 by Tror »

« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2014, 20:37 »
+2
.....

All in all I think the real future of Stock media is for a search engine like google image search to allow us to list content for sale or on youtube and license it directly. Youtube Stock or Vimeo Stock.   Like direct image sales with some sort of revenue model for the sites but much more favorable for the contributor.

.....

stocksy looks like a good step forward, and picturengine might be if it ever makes it to beta

global search was part of the idea behind symbiostock - and though the project has halted most sites are still active and there are 2 global searches across all symbio sites

http://symbiostock.info
and http://symbiostock-search.com

unfortunately, while many folks talk about collectives and ther combined efforts there are only a few who actually do anything.

« Reply #70 on: July 05, 2014, 07:11 »
+1
Creo que el futuro de microstock sera la especializacin de pequeas agencias, como 3stock.es que son mas cercanas para nosotros y pagan mejor sin entrar en guerras de precios y cuidan mejor a los contribuyentes, creo sinceramente que vale la pena apoyar iniciativas as.

« Reply #71 on: July 05, 2014, 13:19 »
+1
What am I seeing?
Nothing, emptiness, lot of clouds and smoke...
But I am hearing, drums... Drums, in the darkness....

« Reply #72 on: July 05, 2014, 13:37 »
+1
The model explains that when someone invents new technology or product that consumers want, the market takes off and more and more businesses jump onto the bandwagon, and soon the market becomes over saturated, and eventually this forces down the price. But with the falling prices, eventually the price gets too low for anyone to profit, and the bulk of businesses either go broke, shut down or do something else.

Interesting. I'd say the only flaw is that it doesn't take all that much to run a bare bones micro agency. You don't even have to compete or pay any attention to/with Shutterstock or any of the big 4 to be profitable.

« Reply #73 on: July 05, 2014, 14:26 »
+2
global search was part of the idea behind symbiostock - and though the project has halted most sites are still active and there are 2 global searches across all symbio sites

http://symbiostock.info
and http://symbiostock-search.com


But both of those sites produce lousy results. The quality just isn't there. Trying search for, say, business team. Compare the results with any microstock site. That is the downside of content which is not curated even by search algorithms.

Symbiostock has not worked so far (regular sales and loyal customers are the test) because it does not have adequate investment or group vision. The individual sites which have done okay (mostly established illustrators) would have done okay, perhaps better, on managed platforms.

The least important thing is writing the actual software. Software practically writes itself when a problem is thoroughly specified from the bottom up. It's the design, the concepts and the model which need to be defined first. Then the contracts and all legal issues. And the whole thing needs to be about a sense of what sort of work should be represented - who the customer is and how the business is being pitched.

« Reply #74 on: July 05, 2014, 14:58 »
+1
........

The least important thing is writing the actual software. Software practically writes itself when a problem is thoroughly specified from the bottom up.



you don't seem to have much actual experience in software development to make a statement like this!!! bottom up is one of the worst methods of software design!

Quote
It's the design, the concepts and the model which need to be defined first. Then the contracts and all legal issues. And the whole thing needs to be about a sense of what sort of work should be represented - who the customer is and how the business is being pitched.

and your actual contribution is going to be ready when??? are you looking to DO something, or just attack anyone who actually makes an effort?


 

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