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Author Topic: Stock Photo Pricing Survey  (Read 5470 times)

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« on: June 19, 2014, 09:20 »
0
In general, prices and revenue have been declining in the stock photo industry. To a large extent this has been due to oversupply and more and more customers finding the images they need at lower price points.

Based on the information Ive been able to collect, I have made estimates of the average 2013 gross license fee for images in the five major price categories RM, traditional RF, Midstock, Microstock and Subscription. My figures can be found in the chart below.

                                           2013 Downloads (est.)           Average Price
Rights Managed                          1,300,000                    $298 (my Getty est.)
Traditional Royalty Free               3,000,000                     $133 (my Getty est.)
Midstock                                    5,000,000                      $35.00 to $45.00
Microstock                               44,000,000                        $6.00 to $7.00
Subscription                           130,000,000                              $1.25

To get a broader cross section of data and opinion, I have prepared a brief 5 question survey (http://www.selling-stock.com/Stock-Photo-Pricing-Survey.aspx) to determine if these averages are high or low based on my readers experiences. Many readers will only license images in one or two categories. Please check Not Applicable for the questions where you have no data.

I am looking for gross license fee, not your gross income. Since many photographers will not have easy access to gross license fees averages can be determined by dividing your total gross income for the year by the total images licensed. In parenthesis, I have included some sample royalty percentages of the gross my gross license fee calculation to save respondents from having to make their own calculations. Photographers should look at the dollar amount next to their royalty percentage and determine if their average is higher or lower than this number.

Exclusive contributors to iStock should consider their sales in the Midstock category. Non-exclusive contributors would fall into the Microstock category. In general I consider gross license fees that range from $1 to $20 for the largest file size to be Microstock and prices that range from $10 for the smallest size to $250 for the largest to be Midstock.

Click Here To Complete The Survey
http://www.selling-stock.com/Stock-Photo-Pricing-Survey.aspx




« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 10:24 »
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I don't split out my subs from my micro earnings, so I'm not really sure.

« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 11:00 »
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same here - I don't separate hundreds of DLs by type, especially for the lower performing agencies (ie, anything other than SS);  to complicate further, we'd have to calculate based on the differing royalty % for each agency

« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 03:06 »
+1
It's a bit unusual to view non-subscription prices for microstock as separate from subs since all the micros now seem to have some sort of subscription plan, but I did my best and answered the survey.

Similarly, I consider ELs to be part of my microstock earnings. However, Shutterstock charges around $100 for an EL, so should that be lumped in with midstock? If so, that would raise my midstock gross commissions above your $40 average. I answered the midstock question, however, based solely on my earnings from Alamy and another midstock traditional agency I'm with, where the average commissions were around the same as yours.

 
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 03:12 by wordplanet »

« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 03:43 »
+1
In general, prices and revenue have been declining in the stock photo industry......

Not correct. If anyone has Microstock Analytics or some other software that will tell them the royalty per download for their portfolio for sites per year or month you will see that the opposite is true for micro. If you think that IStock was the first micro site and was charging .25c per image in 2001 that will give you some idea of how much prices have come up. The only exception being IStock itself, which when you include PP saw a massive drop in in RPD with the introduction of ThinkStock.

The volume of sales in micro is so huge this increase could even mean the average price per sale across the industry has come up in the last 10 years or so (after the initial massive drop when micro first appeared).

The problem is that we are seeing this RPD spread out across too many images now so RPI is what has dropped.

« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 05:20 »
+2

In general, prices and revenue have been declining in the stock photo industry. To a large extent this has been due to oversupply and more and more customers finding the images they need at lower price points.



The first sentence needs qualification. ie whose revenue, measured how and between which specific dates ?


The second sentence assumes that the first sentence is correct and then makes then makes 2 further unqualified assumptions.


These two sentences alone address 4 main questions for which the answers are not known:


Q: Have prices been declining ? A: Over what period of time ? There is no comprehensive data detailing actual sales prices achieved across the whole market.
Q: Has photographer revenue been declining ? A: Over what period of time ?There is no comprehensive data. Total photographer revenue ? Per photographer ? Who ?
Q: Has agency revenue been declining ? A: At some yes. At others it has been increasing. But there is no comprehensive data. Over what period of time ?
Q: Has total industry revenue been increasing ? A: We can only guess. There is no comprehensive data. Over what period of time ?


I doubt that this survey will produce enough responses to draw any useful conclusions.

« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 05:33 »
+1
Exclusive contributors to iStock should consider their sales in the Midstock category. Non-exclusive contributors would fall into the Microstock category. In general I consider gross license fees that range from $1 to $20 for the largest file size to be Microstock and prices that range from $10 for the smallest size to $250 for the largest to be Midstock.

iStock Exclusive sales include both 'microstock' and 'midstock' prices. But you seem to be saying that iStock Exclusives should put all of their sales in the 'midstock' category. The potential (likely IMO) would be to underestimate the average 'midstock' price.

« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 07:39 »
+1
I thought Midstock was just a made up term to describe microstock with higher prices. Does it really exist in any formal capacity?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 08:42 by cthoman »

« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 08:36 »
0
Exclusive contributors to iStock should consider their sales in the Midstock category.

I thought Midstock was just a made up term to describe microstock with higher prices. Does it really exist in any formal capacity?

The way you have quoted that it looks like I wrote it. I didn't. If you read his site he defines his use of the terms. I think his definition of midstock goes back to the piece in which he was extrapolating iStock sales from assumptions derived from credit agency report about Getty corporate funding.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 08:39 by bunhill »

« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 08:45 »
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The way you have quoted that it looks like I wrote it. I didn't. If you read his site he defines his use of the terms. I think his definition of midstock goes back to the piece in which he was extrapolating iStock sales from assumptions derived from credit agency report about Getty corporate funding.

My mistake. Modified. I'm not sure I remember that definition. It just seems like one of those terms thrown around a lot without many agencies defining themselves or being defined as that.

« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 09:08 »
+2
The way you have quoted that it looks like I wrote it. I didn't. If you read his site he defines his use of the terms. I think his definition of midstock goes back to the piece in which he was extrapolating iStock sales from assumptions derived from credit agency report about Getty corporate funding.

My mistake. Modified. I'm not sure I remember that definition. It just seems like one of those terms thrown around a lot without many agencies defining themselves or being defined as that.

I think the term 'mid stock' is conceptual rather than being accurately definable in terms of $'s.

When microstock arrived there was such a wide differential in pricing between it and traditional stock that it was always assumed that there *must* be a market for images priced somewhere in the middle. Many sought to discover it but it was always incredibly elusive. Maybe Istock's Vetta and Stocksy have finally established it?

« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 09:31 »
0
The way you have quoted that it looks like I wrote it. I didn't. If you read his site he defines his use of the terms. I think his definition of midstock goes back to the piece in which he was extrapolating iStock sales from assumptions derived from credit agency report about Getty corporate funding.

My mistake. Modified. I'm not sure I remember that definition. It just seems like one of those terms thrown around a lot without many agencies defining themselves or being defined as that.

I think the term 'mid stock' is conceptual rather than being accurately definable in terms of $'s.

When microstock arrived there was such a wide differential in pricing between it and traditional stock that it was always assumed that there *must* be a market for images priced somewhere in the middle. Many sought to discover it but it was always incredibly elusive. Maybe Istock's Vetta and Stocksy have finally established it?

That makes sense. Thanks.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2014, 10:00 »
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Counting iS exclusive as midstock, my port is hugely underperforming compared to the suggested figures. 

« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 10:10 »
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Counting iS exclusive as midstock, my port is hugely underperforming compared to the suggested figures.

FWIW - my average sale price this year is appx $10. Although I do not especially believe that this is a meaningful number. I might have only sold 1 picture.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 10:25 »
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To be honest, I think any stats are essentially meaningless, as they are all port-specifc, and have no relevance for anyone else.
Several people here have posted that they think rpi is a better measure, but if I took out all my non/low selling files, my rpi would increase considerably for no other purpose than vanity, while negating any chances of sales down the line.

« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 18:36 »
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I guess if you're just looking at figuring out the average price for a stock photo, the survey makes sense. As I've been licensing a lot more stock directly, it's always good to have a sense of going rates, though that too is so dependent on rarity, skill, and the client's traditional budget.

Look forward to seeing your results.

Sue - would you just separate out your Getty income from the rest to compare micro RPD to traditional stock RPD?

The "midstock"  name is still confusing - because you've got RM and RF lumped together and microstock sites licensing some images at "midstock" prices. Meanwhile, if you take out all the sub-$100 sales say from Getty as midstock and count them separately from those over $100 (gross), then your "traditional" number gets skewed higher than if you average all your Getty (i.e.e "traditional") sales together. Or is "Midstock" just a way to separate out the renegade sales that are too high to be "micro" and too low to be "traditional?"

ELs at most of the micros and much of the editorial sales at Alamy fall into the "midstock" price range - so I think there is a market for it.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2014, 19:07 »
0
Sue - would you just separate out your Getty income from the rest to compare micro RPD to traditional stock RPD?
Ha, I've had Getty sales as low as 40c net / $2 gross. I haven't had a sale that low on iStock for years.


« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2014, 14:45 »
+1
Thanks to all who responded and completed the survey. Bunhill was right that the survey hasnt produced much in the way of useful conclusions. And I sure wish there was some way to get comprehensive data for the industry. However, the only people who have any comprehensive data are Getty and Shutterstock and they are not sharing.

Nevertheless, I think what little data we can collect can be useful, and better than no data at all, as long as we recognize its limitations.

About 56% of the respondents sell in the RM and traditional RF categories and about 44% sell Subscription and Microstock. It seems that a good portion of the Microstock sellers also had sales in the Midstock category.

The $298 RM price may be high as twice as many said the gross fee for their sales was lower than those in the 5% range and even fewer said their average was higher. With the Traditional RF all three price ranges (Higher, Within 5% and Lower) had about the same number of respondents. From that I draw the conclusion that $133 is about the average for Traditional RF today.

Midstock had the smallest number of responses. There were slightly more Lower responses than Within 5% and almost no Higher responses. My general thinking is that Midstock would include Exclusive contributors to iStock, Stocksy, Alamy, the high end Fotolia and others in that category. It is sort of a made-up category, but Getty says that 75% of iStock revenue comes from Exclusive contributors and Im trying to get some sense of the number of licenses it takes to generate that kind of revenue.

Overall the average for microstock sales seemed to be lower than $6.50 and the Subscription sales seemed to be pretty much on target at $1.25.

As I said in the beginning, I wish there was some way to get more comprehensive data, but for me this is better than nothing. Thanks again.





 

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