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Author Topic: Do you count on having microstock income in 5 years? 10? 20?  (Read 15300 times)

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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2010, 23:10 »
0
Isn't the average wage in China around $3,000?
No. Top wages in the glitter cities on the east coast (Shanghai, Shenzen, HK) maybe. Beijing is much less and the giant mainland is still very poor. That's where the sweatshops are. Every 2 years or so, they move west about 200km to keep up with the receding low wage line.

The typical wage in India (Chennai) or the Philippines is about 0.70$/hr, 0.25$/hr if you provide food and a (crap) place to sleep. The call-center industry pays 1.1$/hr in the developed areas, 0.5$/hr in the rural areas. If you are a foreigner operating these, you need to double the price for the obligatory bribes or you will drown in red tape, mysterious power and net outages.

The main problem for photographers there is that they totally lack cultural empathy with the western market and lifestyle. The Chinese will have great autumn leaves shots but as to concepts involving models, they are totally in the dark. Filipinos for instance have a totally different perception of female beauty than the west. One striking difference: girls need to be fat to be attractive there. When they're about 18 they all start to eat 6 times per day till they look like their mom at 22. The west still has this "slim" preference, what Filipinos call "skinny" and "poor".

A very conspicuous exception on all this is Singapore with some great and productive model photographers (Phildate). But it's a totally westernized city. South Korea has very western tastes too. I wonder why there aren't more of them on stock.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 23:19 by FD-amateur »


« Reply #51 on: February 12, 2010, 00:20 »
0
Huchen Lu - iPandastudio - seems to be doing pretty well as an istock exclusive.

« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2010, 00:45 »
0
Huchen Lu - iPandastudio - seems to be doing pretty well as an istock exclusive.

Fantastic talent... he got it totally. And... he is in Shanghai, the most westernized city of mainland (apart from HK).

« Reply #53 on: March 29, 2019, 09:03 »
+6
This old thread popped up, and I realized it might be relevant for some. Same old comments even 9 years ago... Race to the bottom, too much competition, evil agencies...

So, anyone still doing stock from the beginning of this thread (2010)?

« Reply #54 on: March 29, 2019, 09:17 »
+3
This old thread popped up, and I realized it might be relevant for some. Same old comments even 9 years ago... Race to the bottom, too much competition, evil agencies...

So, anyone still doing stock from the beginning of this thread (2010)?
As I was reading, I thought it was from this year. When I realized it was from 2010 I thought maybe that was all paranoia

« Reply #55 on: March 29, 2019, 09:18 »
+4
This old thread popped up, and I realized it might be relevant for some. Same old comments even 9 years ago... Race to the bottom, too much competition, evil agencies...

So, anyone still doing stock from the beginning of this thread (2010)?
It seems the imminent death of the industry may be somewhat exaggerated.

« Reply #56 on: March 29, 2019, 10:28 »
0
This old thread popped up, and I realized it might be relevant for some. Same old comments even 9 years ago... Race to the bottom, too much competition, evil agencies...

So, anyone still doing stock from the beginning of this thread (2010)?
As I was reading, I thought it was from this year. When I realized it was from 2010 I thought maybe that was all paranoia

Same here :)
As making more income requires more and more effort - the question whether all this will justify itself in 5-10 years always comes to mind.
I tend to divide the answer into 2 -
1- the demand for stock video will be on the rise in the foreseeable future in all aspects of the media - web, TV commercials, mobile apps and so forth...
2- As the result of the drop in video gear prices, along with the great video quality these cameras give, the amount of video contributors will rise greatly - and so will the amount of content they produce.

This will make our lives under the search engines tougher then ever.

What will make some clips stand out from the crowd then? I think it's a combination of: first and foremost - great and useful concept - a result of market research, and thought before shooting. Then - fine technical aspects - lighting, camera movement, color grading etc. 

What I would really like to know - if great content that sells well today - will still be up in search results in a few years. From my experience - even great clips slowly sink down the search results, as a well established stock agencies strategy.

Good luck to us all :)

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #57 on: March 29, 2019, 11:15 »
+3
I don't want to pick on anyone, because who knows what I would have said, or what I did on other threads. But a couple had me laughing. Some were right on. Some editing was done on the quotes to make them shorter, no words were changed.

Video is just a passing fad?

And, I think Video is the way to go in microstock.


I think Warren had it right, that video was the next opportunity.

Call me a pessimist, but I think microstock is drying up for individual contributors. The agencies are laughing all the way to the bank, as the microstock market is (and will be) very strong for years to come. The problem is that there is just too darn much competition between the contributors, and our individual slice of the pie is getting smaller and smaller each day.

Think about what Shutterstock is doing at the moment: 100,000 new images every week! Five years from now, my individual portfolio will have increased by 5000 to 7000 images. But the large agencies are growing at a substantially much higher rate and it will be very difficult for individual contributors to get noticed in a sea of millions and millions of images.

Sounds like he was right?

I think that in 10 years 3D technology will have reached the point where realistic people can be dialed up in an application and eliminate the need for 'real' models in 'real' situations completely. 3D animators will become the major content producers.

Or maybe it was eight years?  ;) But so far not easy or replacing real people, still a good prediction.

I think most people will find that eventually their sales and income will stabilise and then gradually start to slip downwards as the market matures.

The growth in new images will continue to increase and no individual contributor will be able to maintain their own share of the marketplace __ just as they haven't been able to for the last few years.

Yeah we see that now, he was right.

What I don't think anyone saw coming was, agencies declaring "Unsustainable", cutting levels, combining tiers, or removing potential for higher percentage based on performance. Dropping nearly all referrals for artists but also limiting them to two years and new buyers for shorter terms. Changing percentages down. Dropping prices so our smaller percentage was of a smaller number. Some cut commissions in half, by the way. Higher quotas were set.

Some saw the increase in new artists from countries that had a lower cost of living.

In 2010 illustrators were on top of the heap. In demand, as fast as they could make something, there was a sale and more demand. Photographers were already on the down trend. By 2012 we saw that photography had hit the wall, competition exceeded the capability of individuals to keep up and no number of new buyers would ever balance for the losses in market share. Photos had become a commodity for most content.

Sure there are still areas and ideas that are unexplored and with room to make some gains, but nothing of the easy subjects, like it was in 2010. Optimists were predicting that they could go for five more years and see. I don't think anyone saw that 2010 was already the beginning of the end, or that in two years, almost everyone would see the growth and early entry profits, were over.

I'll admit I thought that the need and demands and ability to build a collection that would bring some return on the investment, was more possible. I was too shallow and it was too easy, not big waves or running against the tide. Once that changed, and the ship hit the rocks, I figured it was time to do what was best for myself, because bailing and hoping wasn't going to make Microstock float again.   ;)

With that, I'll answer the OP. Yes there will be Microstock in 5, 10, and beyond. No I wouldn't count on income growth like most of us did in 2010.

What I'm not seeing, like what happened with computer makers, software companies and other recent technology is the big sorting out where over 80% of the contenders are forced out of the market, bought or merged. Maybe that's for "old timers" but there were an easy 50 computer makers, and everyone with a bit of software, became a software company.

The only reason I can see that the weak and lame Microstock agencies have been able to hold off their own demise for so long, past the usual business adjustments and market weeding is the unfairly low percentages that they pay for the supply of images and products. There you go, global economics, anyone with a camera, anywhere, can sell their photos for a small commission.

Good news, that's not going to change. We have the whole world as competition, not many new areas to be jumping into the business.  8)

Hopefully the business will go so flat some day, so that new people will seek some other new "gold rush" or fad for making money, and we can have some stability. That's next, even without new entry stopping altogether. Microstock will reach a stable point or plateau, and the extreme growth and change will be much less. Our earnings won't be as high or low or as unpredictable. Income might not be good or great, but it will be more predictable.



« Reply #58 on: March 29, 2019, 14:29 »
0
I disagree about video - I think it's a trendy fad that will quietly go away sooner rather than later. Those investing time and money into it are going to be very disappointed.

I think you are right about most things but I disagree with you on this one.  I am a complete amateur with video and I have uploaded a small portfolio to a few sites.  The sales are reasonable and the commissions are good.  It is worth getting in to, have a look at the number of sales some people are getting, I was surprised.  Wont most advertising be moving images in the future?  Print is dying, everything is moving to the internet and screen advertising.  I see more and more moving images taking over from stills.  I still prefer stills but what do the advertising people think?

None of us can predict the future with any real accuracy and I think it is sensible to diversify in to footage, there is a chance it wont pay off but it is just as likely to be the next big thing.  I also like the fact that it isn't as simple as taking a photo, most people can master that now.  Footage has a steeper learning curve and at the moment it isn't as easy to upload 500mb files.  There is less competition at the moment, that will probably change in the future.

I agree, keep producing good quality niche photos, a much better option than video IMO

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #59 on: March 29, 2019, 16:15 »
0
I disagree about video - I think it's a trendy fad that will quietly go away sooner rather than later. Those investing time and money into it are going to be very disappointed.

I think you are right about most things but I disagree with you on this one.  I am a complete amateur with video and I have uploaded a small portfolio to a few sites.  The sales are reasonable and the commissions are good.  It is worth getting in to, have a look at the number of sales some people are getting, I was surprised.  Wont most advertising be moving images in the future?  Print is dying, everything is moving to the internet and screen advertising.  I see more and more moving images taking over from stills.  I still prefer stills but what do the advertising people think?

None of us can predict the future with any real accuracy and I think it is sensible to diversify in to footage, there is a chance it wont pay off but it is just as likely to be the next big thing.  I also like the fact that it isn't as simple as taking a photo, most people can master that now.  Footage has a steeper learning curve and at the moment it isn't as easy to upload 500mb files.  There is less competition at the moment, that will probably change in the future.

I agree, keep producing good quality niche photos, a much better option than video IMO

Or both?  ;D I'm just starting into video and my observations are from friends who were and are heavily in photos who started adding many videos the last couple years and found that video is holding up or increasing where photos have been losing.

In the end, video will be just like photo and illustration and whatever the next hot area is, when the producers start to make so much that anything easy or common, will start to wither.

100% behind you and everyone who continues to point out that niche subjects, unusual, or find something that's in short supply. I think I've been promoting that theory for about seven years. That doesn't stop me from making some of the worst Crapstock some days, but I know you are correct.



 

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