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Author Topic: More bad news on economy  (Read 15490 times)

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RacePhoto

« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2009, 23:14 »
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It indeed is a 72 dpi world. Couple that with the mega millions of new images coming on line and the slow death of print media and I wonder why I bought a new Mark III. Must be the play value.


I figure having the best toys is always entertaining.  ;D

I had a website editor ask me for a photo, and I gave him seven to choose from. Stupid me, he just looked at me like, "I need a picture of the driver in a car, not some work of art!" Sure it's on the web page, it's slightly larger than a commemorative postage stamp. What was I thinking?

I used to joke that my camera and lenses are worth more than my car. Now I have one lens that's worth more than my car. I always say, keep the priorities in line.  ;)

Reviewers and agencies want perfect photos, they are viewed at 100%, inspected for the tiniest flaws, lighting and fringing. Then someone pays a dollar and we get 38 cents, they put it up on a website at 72 DPI 1.5 inches wide x 1 inch tall. Oh wow! It does seem silly. No wonder Micro is kicking butt on the traditional agencies when even an XL photo is one of thousands to choose from and costs under $10. Buyers market and that's life.

I going to force myself to shut up on the issue of print going down the tubes. It's been on a stead decline since the 80s. Just that we've reach the end of the line, accelerating with the last hold outs reaching free-fall speeds. Chicago Tribune files for bankruptcy, is there a message in that? Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune are in the midst of restructuring.

Any one of us can say how much we like to hold a book, magazine or newspaper. I still do. But the advertisers pay the bills and that's where the profit comes from. If the advertisers don't feel they can target the market they want and get the exposure, they spend elsewhere. That's the root of the decline.

I'm just wondering what waiting rooms will do to keep the people occupied in the future. I can't tear a recipe or article out of a laptop.  ::)

Done...
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 23:35 by RacePhoto »


« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2009, 12:12 »
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 Hi All,

 I agree that print sales are way down compared to the web sized sales of images. As this trend continues for smaller image sizes and more photographers become stock shooters what might occur from this situation? Maybe less downloads each at smaller sizes for less sales each. I have always believed that the bottom two sizes are way under priced. If pulled by all the agencies or the bottom sizes prices where increased it could raise everyones revenue, the agencies and the photographers. As technology changes the product price has to adjust to keep up with those changes.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2009, 13:17 »
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I have always believed that the bottom two sizes are way under priced. If pulled by all the agencies or the bottom sizes prices where increased it could raise everyones revenue, the agencies and the photographers. As technology changes the product price has to adjust to keep up with those changes.

Isn't it the market that ultimately sets the prices and determines the sizes that are required? If one agency tried to dictate to the customer as you suggest then there would be plenty of other agencies prepared to be more flexible. That's basically what led to the macro agencies being so rapidly undermined by micro.

What might help us would be the ability to set our own prices, similar to FT but with less restrictions, according to what we felt our work was worth and how much it cost to produce. It doesn't make much sense that a simple image of an apple is priced the same as an elaborate business team set-up or the capture of a unique moment in nature for example.

« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2009, 15:01 »
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Isn't it the market that ultimately sets the prices and determines the sizes that are required? If one agency tried to dictate to the customer as you suggest then there would be plenty of other agencies prepared to be more flexible. That's basically what led to the macro agencies being so rapidly undermined by micro.

What might help us would be the ability to set our own prices, similar to FT but with less restrictions, according to what we felt our work was worth and how much it cost to produce. It doesn't make much sense that a simple image of an apple is priced the same as an elaborate business team set-up or the capture of a unique moment in nature for example.



Well said.
I have often been frustrated by the simple fact that an easy set up with inexpensive props (fruit and vegies for example) have been handled exactly the same way as a location shoot involving numerous models, assistants, property releases, insurance waivers etc, etc.

Of course one might point out that the number of downloads for such elaborate images mitigates the lost price.
I would venture to disagree with that, with the exception of the very few top shooters whose work is well known and always shows up on the the first few pages of every search.

The rest of us, might was well stick to shooting still lifes.

« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2009, 16:51 »
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Well said.
I have often been frustrated by the simple fact that an easy set up with inexpensive props (fruit and vegies for example) have been handled exactly the same way as a location shoot involving numerous models, assistants, property releases, insurance waivers etc, etc.

Of course one might point out that the number of downloads for such elaborate images mitigates the lost price.
I would venture to disagree with that, with the exception of the very few top shooters whose work is well known and always shows up on the the first few pages of every search.

The rest of us, might was well stick to shooting still lifes.


Doesn't iStockphoto's Vetta collection address this issue somewhat?

« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2009, 17:24 »
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Somewhat is correct.

Vetta is only open to exclusives and the number of files that one is allowed to nominate is fairly limited.
As a matter of fact at my low level, I can only nominate two files per 168 hour upload period.

Pretty limiting don't you think?

Unless all agencies do something similar to Vetta, most buyers looking for a web size shot will just purchase from the regular collection. BTW, there is no xs (ie web only) size available in Vetta.

« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2009, 17:25 »
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Opening the floodgates would not support the "exclusivity" or 'specialness" of the collection.

« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2009, 18:07 »
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I've hit upon the ultimate microstock concept that finally tips the scales in favor of the photographer.  No inspectors. No rejections. No categories. No keywords. No piracy. No expensive equipment investment. Easy search parameters. Plus lightning fast uploads. No underpricing for photographers efforts. Won't matter what the price is. I call it OnePixelStockPhoto.

« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2009, 19:17 »
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Apparently microstock stills don't count as "creative".  ;)


No they don't. Bizarrely, to me at least, microstockers are still largely regarded as 'amateur photographers'.

When you look at what was considered to be 'high-end' professional stock photography just a few years ago it really puts it into perspective. Check out the wholly-owned content at JIU/PC for example. As one of their many acquisitions Jupiter bought Banana Stock just over 3 years ago. They paid $20M for a collection of about 15K images which works out at something like $1300 per image. You can check them out on the link below __ I wonder how much they'd be worth today?

http://www.jupiterimages.com/collections/BananaStock


Actually these are some of the best images ever.

Looking at their conceptual images, I can see that nothing says "eco friendly" like a $399 photo of an Empty fridge on the street. http://www.jupiterimages.com/Image/royaltyFree/78155832
or maybe an Empty fridge with other appliances out of focus in the background? http://www.jupiterimages.com/Image/royaltyFree/78155823

Clearly you guys have been going wrong by isolating things on white - that's so "microstock". If you want to sell a premium stock you really should just shove some random product out on the sidewalk and shoot it out there. That's edgy.

« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2009, 19:58 »
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Opening the floodgates would not support the "exclusivity" or 'specialness" of the collection.

Sean, I actually agree with you on this.
I was just responding to Wiz's contention that somehow Vetta had addressed the issue of undervalued web size images.

Obviously that is not what Vetta was meant for.



« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2009, 21:36 »
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 Yes the market does set the price but if the price is under paying the markets value then the industry are leaving money on the table. When the two small sizes where brought into the stock industry back with Macro RF 11 -12 years ago the amount of internet usage was way down compared to print media so the price was set very low.
 Now it is the highest sales point so an adjustment could be made to counteract this drop and raise opportunity for agencies and photographers to increase their revenue. This is in part why unions were formed years ago, so that the individual workers could not be controlled and under paid by the large industries. Unfortunately unions can be as much trouble for other reasons but talking about an adjustment is an important topic that should not be swept under the rug.
 If you want the market to establish the worth of our product they could easily run the costs down and there rejections up as they overflow with similars. How will that increase individuals sales and grow the market. Trust me the Micro world will meet maturation.
 I hear a lot about BME but that term means nothing until people start talking dollars and cents. If my sales last month were 10 dollars and this month they are 30 dollars well then I did have have a BME but I didn't make much money.
 When we used to use terms like RPI's or sell through rate they were always followed with the actual number. Not many people in Micro share numbers they just use terms like BME. I don't believe this is useful information to anyone. Are we just reinforcing sweat shop mentality in ourselves and the agencies as well? Just asking.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2009, 07:36 »
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When we used to use terms like RPI's or sell through rate they were always followed with the actual number. Not many people in Micro share numbers they just use terms like BME. I don't believe this is useful information to anyone. Are we just reinforcing sweat shop mentality in ourselves and the agencies as well? Just asking.

No, we're keeping our numbers to ourselves, so as not to put too much information on the table for others to benefit from.  This isn't the closed door shop of a few years ago, where you knew everyone you were dealing with.

« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2009, 07:48 »
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Yes the market does set the price but if the price is under paying the markets value then the industry are leaving money on the table. When the two small sizes where brought into the stock industry back with Macro RF 11 -12 years ago the amount of internet usage was way down compared to print media so the price was set very low.
 Now it is the highest sales point so an adjustment could be made to counteract this drop and raise opportunity for agencies and photographers to increase their revenue. This is in part why unions were formed years ago, so that the individual workers could not be controlled and under paid by the large industries. Unfortunately unions can be as much trouble for other reasons but talking about an adjustment is an important topic that should not be swept under the rug.
 If you want the market to establish the worth of our product they could easily run the costs down and there rejections up as they overflow with similars. How will that increase individuals sales and grow the market. Trust me the Micro world will meet maturation.
 I hear a lot about BME but that term means nothing until people start talking dollars and cents. If my sales last month were 10 dollars and this month they are 30 dollars well then I did have have a BME but I didn't make much money.
 When we used to use terms like RPI's or sell through rate they were always followed with the actual number. Not many people in Micro share numbers they just use terms like BME. I don't believe this is useful information to anyone. Are we just reinforcing sweat shop mentality in ourselves and the agencies as well? Just asking.

Best,
Jonathan


Definitely agree with this, however, you can always tell who is really making money.  First, they usually have a portfolio at IS, and so there stats are available (somewhat).  Also, you can look at the portfolio and you can weed out the people who say BME with 250 photos.  Unless they are a stellar 250 photos, I can't see that many making any real money.  Then again, it just depends...

But I prefer to keep my numbers to myself.  Too much information given may not in my best interests in the long-run

« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2009, 08:22 »
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No, we're keeping our numbers to ourselves, so as not to put too much information on the table for others to benefit from. 

Exactly!

Jonathon __ feel free to share all your earnings details from each agency, together with links to all portfolios, with us though! We won't tell anyone else.

« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2009, 10:09 »
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Yes the market does set the price but if the price is under paying the markets value then the industry are leaving money on the table.

I think the point of the "race to the bottom" metaphor is that it's something that got out of hand, and the optimum price point was overshot.  Microstock got going so fast - just a couple of years - and these companies were trying to make back their initial investments virtually overnight.  In other words they were classic dot-com startups.  They got ahead of themselves and drove the price down much further than necessary and now they can't easily bring it back up.

They launched into pricing by image size simply because that was technically possible with web sales and it seemed like the thing to do. They grossly underestimated how many customers would just shoot straight to the bottom tier and buy the smallest images.  And now they're stuck with that pricing plan too.

They battled for market share with ever-trickier subscription plans that now represent a big mortgage on the future.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 11:08 by stockastic »

« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2009, 11:01 »
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gostwyck,

 I already have. Would you like me to do it again, will you join me. I understand some people like to keep things to themselves them why share BME at all. If you would like me to print my numbers again I am happy to do so. I was just saying that BME offers no useful information without numbers to back it up. I made over a 7 figures last year and would be happy to break down where my income came from. What agency, their return per image, the sell through rate. By sharing numbers we become more united against the agencies that control the pricing. Those numbers I share with you do not create a threat to my income they only let you what agency sells what the best.

Best,
Jonathan

« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2009, 11:04 »
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Well put Stockasti,

There has to be a point where this approach is going to cost the agencies a great deal of profit just by chasing this industry to the lowest sales point. We just haven't got there yet, still party time.

Best,
Jonathan


« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2009, 12:03 »
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I don't understand the "race to the bottom" because istock started out at the bottom, free images.  How can you get any lower than that?  Then they started charging 10 cents and the prices have gone up and up over the years.  Subs commissions were also much lower at one time but I don't think they have kept pace with pay per download and some sites are stopping the others raising their prices.  It is our fault for supplying those sites.

I also don't understand why some people get so many sales at the lowest size.  Mine are more frequent at the larger sizes.

« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2009, 12:13 »
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Mine are mostly medium and large on IS - I now have many XL and XXL images and some XXXL images, but they are very infrequent. 

« Reply #44 on: October 19, 2009, 12:20 »
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sharpshot, I can only speak from 9 months of experience with a small portfolio.  

During that time I've seen the percentage of 25 and 30 cent subscription sales steadily increase. It doesn't matter if they raise commissions for on-demand sales if at the same time they're actually herding their buyers onto subscription plans that pay us less.

I no longer get any OD sales on SS.  I stay there because once in a great while I get an EL. Everything else is 25 cent sub sales.  

I am not saying that small images are a majority of sales, but there certainly are a lot of them and I am sure they're increasing.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2009, 12:30 by stockastic »

« Reply #45 on: October 19, 2009, 12:40 »
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Here you go Gostawyk,

 Since this is just Micro I will share my Micro sales since you asked. This is sales over the last 10 months as we did not upload any real amount of imagery before that. I did add 50 images back in 07 to see what there was but that is a very small portion of my sales so I consider the beginning when we made our first big upload.

SS:   $ 21,086.27 from 2500 images making a monthly RPI of 84 cents a download per month or an annual RPI of $10.08 with 100% sell through rate/

IS:  $5570.33 from 454 images making a monthly RPI of $1.02 per download or an annual RPI of $12.26 with a much smaller sell through rate of 60% due to their uploading limits.Tough to get a number on the sell through since we upload every week and it takes a couple of months for us to start seeing real numbers at Istock. So the annual RPI per image on images sold was $20.55.

FT: $ 8,337 from 2705 images making a monthly RPI of 30.8 cents an image or an annual RPI of $3.69 with a sell through rate of 51%

DT: $ 5339.95 from 2582 images making a monthly RPI of 20 cents a month or an annual RPI of $2.40 with a sell through rate of 62%

StockXpert: $ 1169.00 from 2500 images but we just joined this company in the last 6 months so the numbers will be based off of that time frame. A monthly RPI of 5 cents an image with an annual RPI of 60 cents an image.

Total sales in Micro to date for 10 months is now $41,534 from the last ten moths with 2500 images available. Total cost for production $ 40k so in 10 months I am just starting to make money with another 1000 images to add from last years shoot. Actually I have another 3000 to add to Istock but that's going to take a while : )

Any Micro companies I am partnered with that are producing smaller returns ( 5 of them ) are not mentioned because we just brought them on and I do not have any real stats for them.

 The balance of my income comes from Macro RM / RF and RR motion and it isn't much use to break it down in to much detail for a Micro stock forum. I average $127 in sales per image a year from these combined as well as sales from direct buy outs on occasion. I have also become co-owner in two agencies that have a return when sold considering the small cost it took to become an owner and the return possibilities. I am also working on a brand new project that I hope will continue to increase my revenue, just to early to share yet.
 Check Getty alone you will see I have very close to 10,000 images there. The math is no secret and telling you does not threaten my business model. Please explain how the numbers I shared jeopardized my company by offering the information to other shooters and I will gladly listen. Many of you are secret with your stuff and that is cool but it is just what the agencies want to see. Playing the game the way they want you to.

Cheers,
Jonathan


ap

« Reply #46 on: October 19, 2009, 12:55 »
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wow! that's really generous info for you to share. the only reason i won't be divulging mine is because it's still early days...

but, since macro is such a big part of your income, why are you spending so much on the micros to just break even? is this pretty unusual for a getty photog?

« Reply #47 on: October 19, 2009, 13:10 »
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Images don't stop selling after the first year, I am sure Jonathan is going to make a nice profit over the next few years.

WarrenPrice

« Reply #48 on: October 19, 2009, 13:11 »
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Here you go Gostawyk,

  Check Getty alone you will see I have very close to 10,000 images there. The math is no secret and telling you does not threaten my business model. Please explain how the numbers I shared jeopardized my company by offering the information to other shooters and I will gladly listen. Many of you are secret with your stuff and that is cool but it is just what the agencies want to see. Playing the game the way they want you to.

Cheers,
Jonathan



Exactly, Jonathan.  Divide and conquer.  Keep them arguing amongst themselves.  That way, they will never unite ... not just against us ... in any common cause.


« Reply #49 on: October 19, 2009, 13:23 »
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Hi AP,

 Good Question. I am playing all fields because you don't know what tomorrow will bring. After being in this business for over a decade you start to see trends. Diversity is the key in all markets that will take you. Some Micro shooters don't know how to shoot for Macro and their returns show it that's okay but they at least tried and saw it wasn't for them. Before they tried they had no idea same goes for me and Micro.
 Also I have broken even in ten months the rest from here on with my Micro images is all profit and I spent 11 weeks producing the content. I could end up making another 50k or 100k more over the next three years you never know without trying all from a less than three months of testing. Remember I still have 3000 images to add to Istock that are all paid for. it was our R&D for last year so I could get a good grasp on the numbers. I am not focusing as strongly on Micro because I am still able to make a great deal more in Macro but you never know what tomorrow will bring. Get your foot in the door so you are positioned for shift and change in the industry that has always been my approach.
 Also I was speaking in terms of RPI where now we are following data by RPS return per shoot. I make 4 times more images on a Micro shoot day than I do for Macro RF so you have to multiply my Micro by 4 to compare it to my Macro RF. I also get more personal fulfillment and enjoyment with Macro images where I can show my skills and still sell creative images. I am not as limited to my subject and the approach as I am to produce well selling Micro images that serve a more general subject or topic. Helps stretch the creative wings a bit.

Best,
Jonathan


 

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