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Author Topic: Is there a new king?  (Read 7621 times)

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« on: July 09, 2014, 08:28 »
+2
I thought several times over the current situation across various agencies. Sales are all time low now everywhere.  The dismal state points to an interesting factor; the low earner sites are selling more images these days than top agencies.

It looks like there is a new king somewhere in the form of new best selling agency. My question is, is there an agency which we are yet to discover and is taking away all the sales which has dried across well known agencies. There must be an answer.  Are deep discounts somewhere driving the customers to polarization to various poles. May be some of us established and new artists have some reasonable answers. World still needs images and it is buying but from where?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2014, 08:34 by 08stock08 »


« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 08:46 »
0
shutterstock?

« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 08:50 »
+15
Google changes make it easier for image users to take images without paying and Getty gives them away free to bloggers in some viewer thingy.  My sale drops happened at the same time.  Maybe not coincidence?

Could be the new king is free.

« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 09:35 »
+6
Maybe the queen is the huge influx of contributors.

« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 10:03 »
+15
I think we face a diabolical, multi-pronged threat.

1. Many more contributors.
2. Many more good-quality, easy-to-use cameras in phones.
3. Many more free or easy-to-steal images.
4. Many more agencies racing each other to the bottom.

The outlook ain't good, folks.

« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2014, 13:49 »
+2
There is no new king.
But there is nobility.
And there is nobility degraded to robber barons.

And as a peasant its about choosing sides and not have your head chopped off. And in these days of new digital feudalism, I choose to stay loyal to the count and not be a mean of the robber baron.


« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 13:55 »
+8
It's a democracy. You vote with your images, but so will everyone else.

« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 14:11 »
+1
Sales are all time low now everywhere. 

Nope. I'm f.e. heading for a BME.

the low earner sites are selling more images these days than top agencies.

No the aren't, not even close.

All wrong, so the rest is ignored.

« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 14:14 »
0

2. Many more good-quality, easy-to-use cameras in phones.


That's not supposed mean anything for you, unless it's just a hobby and you are uploading your snapshot-best-of...

« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 14:21 »
+9
I think we face a diabolical, multi-pronged threat.

1. Many more contributors.
2. Many more good-quality, easy-to-use cameras in phones.
3. Many more free or easy-to-steal images.
4. Many more agencies racing each other to the bottom.

The outlook ain't good, folks.

Diabolical? Not sure about that. Are all of those new contributors better than you or me? If so, don't they deserve to sell images? What would you propose otherwise? That no matter who comes into this business today they always get pushed to the back of searches?

Phones don't matter. Cameras don't matter. IF someone can shoot a better photo with their phone, it's because they're good at shooting photos. The phone doesn't matter.

Some agencies are racing to the bottom, others are moving up. It's your choice who you supply with your images.

« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 05:44 »
+3
I must be out of touch - I thought Mike Ledray was the King of Microstock.


« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2014, 05:52 »
+11
I must be out of touch - I thought Mike Ledray was the King of Microstock.

He's 'king something for sure.

« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2014, 06:24 »
+7
I think that one factor that most of us discount is that people now might be willing to use a lower quality image rather than pay a perceived exorbitant price for a good quality image. Let me explain, all the DPCs and subscriptions have taught people that images typically cost a few dollars at most. Now if Getty/Alamy/Stocksy offers you a high quality image for a couple of hundred dollars you might feel that it they are ripping you off, which would lead you to searching for and settling for a slightly lower quality image from SS or Fotolia.

I think the problem is that even we as photographers (or by proxy our agencies) can't really differentiate between what images go at what price. What image deserves a 100$ price and which is only worth a couple of cents. If that is the scenario then you really can't fault the buyer for finding the best deal.

Unpopular opinion I know, maybe I should put a penguin somewhere

Uncle Pete

« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 19:38 »
+4
5. The market is over-saturated with agencies. They compete with mostly the same images, based on lowest price. (we get less as a result) We need some to close down before the remaining ones will become healthy and profitable.


I think we face a diabolical, multi-pronged threat.

1. Many more contributors.
2. Many more good-quality, easy-to-use cameras in phones.
3. Many more free or easy-to-steal images.
4. Many more agencies racing each other to the bottom.

The outlook ain't good, folks.

« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 19:54 »
+7
5. The market is over-saturated with agencies. They compete with mostly the same images, based on lowest price. (we get less as a result) We need some to close down before the remaining ones will become healthy and profitable.

I'd say the opposite. There are definitely not enough good agencies out there. I tried to leave a lot of the ones I thought weren't offering the best deals, but ended up signing back up at some of them because I couldn't find enough good places to sign up at. I'd love for a better agency to either emerge from the existing ones or be created. It could put pressure on the other places to offer better deals.

Ed

« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2014, 21:26 »
+1
Forget about the kings and queens.  Focus on the guy/gal building the castle they live in.  ;)

« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2014, 03:49 »
+3
I'd say the opposite...... I'd love for a better agency to either emerge from the existing ones or be created. It could put pressure on the other places to offer better deals.

That would be nice. Effective competition with a proper business plan and an understanding of the needs and aspirations of their contributors....as opposed to the plethora of bungling opportunists we have seen in recent years and as a counterpoint to the money grubbing tactics we have witnessed of late.

There are still gaps in the market....here's hoping someone out there has the gumption to fill them.


« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2014, 12:10 »
+3
I think the economy is still sputtering along on 5 cylinders.  The DOW may be at an all time high but that is because of  quantitive easing  (money printing).

The economy in my eyes is still sick, it never really came back to life and it also changed the spending habits of a lot of people forever.  Some businesses may be doing well but others are still struggling with the great recession.

« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2014, 13:03 »
+5
The mystery is, The commercial production houses which do advertisements, magazines and other  image related work, are not closing down. They are still using images and they are still being supplied the fodder.  The missing piece is, who is the new supplier? I read newspapers still they have stock images and numbers have not gone down even a bit. Everything is going up for them but for the photographers and artists the market is in reverse mode. In a growing, forward and parallel economy the market grows for everyone. Now here, buyer is still getting the things he needs while seller is starving.

« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2014, 20:36 »
+2
If you have the only image of a polar bear wearing pants in 2006 you get the sale when an ad agency needs a polar bear wearing pants. When another company needs the same image in 2009 there are 6 images of polar bears wearing pants at different price points and you miss out. In 2014 there are now 32 images of polar bears wearing pants, but the CEO says, "cut the advertising budget for the next year as sales are down, no more images of polar bears putting on pants" and the blogger gets to use a small one for free. Nobody gets a sale.

« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2014, 09:11 »
+4
They cut royalties, and sold subscriptions plans where they get all the money in up-front fees and we get nothing. They kept saying we'd make it up on volume, but with 10s of millions of images on line  there's no volume left for any individual contributor.   And now they're promoting the idea of free images in exchange for ad revenue which they don't share with the producer of the image. 

There's no point left and like many posters here, I should probably close my MG account because I don't do microstock any more.

Eventually, some of the big remaining agencies will start to admit they've gone down the wrong road and issue "mistakes were made" statements.  But that's a long ways off. 

« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2014, 10:14 »
+1

That would be nice. Effective competition with a proper business plan and an understanding of the needs and aspirations of their contributors....as opposed to the plethora of bungling opportunists we have seen in recent years and as a counterpoint to the money grubbing tactics we have witnessed of late.

There are still gaps in the market....here's hoping someone out there has the gumption to fill them.

There are huge gaps in the market, and so much opportunity to improve on what even the current "best" companies do. We're seeing hints of this already, small companies developing better ways to connect artists with buyers, offer more versatile files (vectors with editable text, etc).

So many companies lag behind, not just in contributor-facing areas like pay and royalties but also in customer-facing areas as well. Lots of room for small companies to build systems and company cultures that are better than what the big companies currently offer.

« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2014, 10:48 »
+2
I think that one factor that most of us discount is that people now might be willing to use a lower quality image rather than pay a perceived exorbitant price for a good quality image. Let me explain, all the DPCs and subscriptions have taught people that images typically cost a few dollars at most. Now if Getty/Alamy/Stocksy offers you a high quality image for a couple of hundred dollars you might feel that it they are ripping you off, which would lead you to searching for and settling for a slightly lower quality image from SS or Fotolia.

I think the problem is that even we as photographers (or by proxy our agencies) can't really differentiate between what images go at what price. What image deserves a 100$ price and which is only worth a couple of cents. If that is the scenario then you really can't fault the buyer for finding the best deal.

Unpopular opinion I know, maybe I should put a penguin somewhere

That's because images on Getty, Stocksy and Alamy aren't any better in quality, nor are they unique.

« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2014, 11:25 »
+3
They cut royalties, and sold subscriptions plans where they get all the money in up-front fees and we get nothing. They kept saying we'd make it up on volume, but with 10s of millions of images on line  there's no volume left for any individual contributor.

I agree that volume is the issue - but my feeling is that the large number of images isn't so much the issue - it is the growing number of contributors that cut the volume too thin.  The agencies can't grow customer demand as fast as we are supposed to grow our inventory, but if there were no new contributors the pie would at least be divided up amongst the same number of people.  I realize the hypocrisy of saying they shouldn't have new contributors (given that at some point I was a new contributor!), but the point is more that as long as a agency accepts new people they are purposely pulling market share from existing, proven contributors.  They have to realize at some point that no serious contributors will be left producing new work if they can't get enough share of the market...

I imagine selling my work at an Art Gallery where every year they take on twice as many new artists as the year before and doubled their gallery space, cut my commissions, and put my older work furthest from the door.  I'd decide it wasn't worth it pretty quickly!

I'm certainly not seeing any of the 'low earners' picking up the slack.  Just my top dog losing ground.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2014, 18:22 »
+1

That's because images on Getty, Stocksy and Alamy aren't any better in quality, nor are they unique.
Even if they were better in quality and/or unique, the buyers on Getty and Alamy (have no idea about Stocksy, but I don't think so) might have huge discounts which unique images have no immunity to.


 

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