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Author Topic: StockUnlimited Brings The Netflix Model To Stock Imagery  (Read 15021 times)

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Hobostocker

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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2015, 11:08 »
-1
If you check out the comments a the bottom, looks like they have employees to create the work, the ones on there from Malaysia I think, so contributors are out the loop on this one.

Disturbing trend, I guess returns per image selling on the sites in the traditional way are so low now that it makes more sense for people in countries with low cost of living to work directly for a site making a few backs per hour.

it's a good idea in principle but i wonder how they can afford it in malaysia.

while malaysia is an excellent country to base an online business it's not a cheap place and even entry-level designers will earn at the very least 500 to 1000$ per month.



« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2015, 12:18 »
+1
Netflix may not own a lot on Netflix, but they do have exclusive content as well



For a time. House of Cards (not current season) is on amazon now. I'm not sure about the details of how things were paid for, but I think they bid for certain rights versus own the show outright

http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/11/netflixs-house-of-cards-is-internet-tv-funded-original-programming-but-dont-kid-yourself-its-ad-free-spoiler-alert/

« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2015, 12:46 »
0
If you check out the comments a the bottom, looks like they have employees to create the work, the ones on there from Malaysia I think, so contributors are out the loop on this one.

Disturbing trend, I guess returns per image selling on the sites in the traditional way are so low now that it makes more sense for people in countries with low cost of living to work directly for a site making a few backs per hour.

it's a good idea in principle but i wonder how they can afford it in malaysia.

while malaysia is an excellent country to base an online business it's not a cheap place and even entry-level designers will earn at the very least 500 to 1000$ per month.

Sorry I think Indonesia, if that makes a difference to cost of living. Take a look at the facebook pages of the illustrators working for 123RF and StockUnlimited commenting under the article.

« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2015, 13:23 »
+3
Still need to really dig through the site and digest this info before I can form an opinion about it, but let me just say this right now:

If designers are your intended audience, maybe you could hire one to kern that logo. Yikes...


« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2015, 15:23 »
0
The problem with the internet is that it needs to have a 'Henry Ford Moment', because right now it's very difficult for anyone (besides big companies) to make money on it.  If the internet actually recognized the value of work with some reasonable prices for things like stock, ad rates, music, etc., that would give a real boost to the economy.  The race to free has done nothing but make EVERYONE poorer.

nonsense - it may be difficult for people who still think in outdated terms (eg a stock photo is worth $500), but a quick look at sites like kickstarter show many people are finding ways to make money on the internet  -- and most of the 'big' companies were tiny startups just a short time ago

« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2015, 15:29 »
0
a quick look at sites like kickstarter show many people are finding ways to make money on the internet


South Park - Go Fund Yourself

« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2015, 15:41 »
+2
So I signed up for a 60 day free trial so I could have a look at some sample files in illustrator.

In addition to the large quantity of really strange color choices or crude shapes or bizarro creative choices (a winking Christmas tree with legs and arms; a woman with shopping bags and cloned & flippped feet, toes touching in the center, an easter egg of dinosaur skin), the files are just sloppy.

The groups and layers aren't named, so doing anything with the file isn't as easy as it should be (and look at iStock's free vectors for examples of how even naming a few top level groups can really simplify things). With the infographics - this is an example:

http://stockunlimited.com/vector/infographic-of-a-house_1390026.html

You're going to want to edit the content given that it's unusable as is, but the entire graphic is one un-named junk pile of groups and compound paths and paths - every letter of the "Lorem ipsum..." text is its own compound path, not separately grouped so you can quickly remove and replace it.

I hope they didn't pay much for this stuff, because I can't imagine signing up for a paid subscription after looking at what I get for my $10 a month.

« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2015, 18:56 »
+1
There's a lot to be concerned about from a contributor standpoint, and I think the reasons are obvious. The pricepoint is eerily similar to DPC, so it's hard to ignore the possibility that the $10 buy-in might have partly been inspired as a means to compete with Fotolia's entry into this nanostock market.

But there are also some things going on with SU (can I be the first to use the acronym? :) ) that are actually really good ideas.

A few random thoughts as I read through the article and browse the site...

I'm biased for sure, but I really like a company launching with vectors ahead of photos. And without a "photo" name. The value of vectors is still largely overlooked despite them being significant in the earnings of every company that offers them. I'm still amazed that so many startups launch without vectors and sometimes without any plan to offer them at all. I think SU got this part right, launching with a high-value product that is a bit easier to handle without the need for model and property releases.

Being founded by people from within the business, there is no way that anyone here isn't at least a little bit more intrigued by this factor. We see stock startups all the time where the founders don't have a clue about the business and are just looking to get rich quick selling pictures. Having people at the helm who have been there before, it's infinitely more interesting.

Exclusive content. This is huge. It's been discussed here before, that the only way for companies to differentiate anymore is through exclusive content. It doesn't help anyone to launch a site with just a small fraction of the exact same content everyone else has. I'm on the fence about exclusivity in general, but the strategy SU is using to launch with all exclusive content that they commissioned is pretty smart. What they lack in quantity they make up for in offering stuff that no one else has.

That said, I also wonder how this might affect the contributor. Obviously the company will prefer that their exclusive content get downloaded more than 3rd party content, since the exclusive stuff is already bought and paid for. Will they modify search algorithms to favor exclusive content?

The site looks good, seems to work well, and aside from a horribly kerned logo the overall look of the company is clean, modern, and professional.

The content they feature looks interesting. Like all companies, they lead with their best foot forward. But digging deeper into the site, I'm not impressed. They have a few really really good images, and then piles of mediocre stuff. Not all bad, but mostly not good enough to really compete with other companies. If high-quality premium content is a major consideration for a buyer, I don't see anyone choosing this over Shutterstock no matter how much of a savings it is. SU lacks the trendy vintage stuff, the more intricate illustrations and popular badge/emblem graphics. Designers want to buy the kind of stuff they're seeing at sites like Dribbble, and SU has almost none of that kind of work.

The Tech Crunch article is weird. Lots of ideas in there that I don't particularly agree with. Like the notion that competition pushes prices down. While that's not totally false, I think in some cases the opposite is true as well. Not all competitors are intent on fighting the pricing wars, with some companies finding success going the other way.

I also disagree with the Netflix analogy. This is commercial use content, the Netflix comparison doesn't apply. And the idea that this service will do any better of a job of bringing image pirates in from the cold is just ridiculous. There have been good, affordable alternatives to image piracy for years, SU doesn't offer anything new in that area.

And the idea that getting lots of content onto the site and that being a significant factor in getting contributors on board is only half true. Having content to show so that new contributors know the company is for real is helpful, but the interest will be dead in its tracks if the offer to contributors isn't good. Which brings us to...

Pricing. Obviously the pricing scheme of $10 monthly subscriptions is problematic. There's really no way to see this working out well for contributors. Let's say (hypothetically) they can offer a royalty rate of $0.25 per download. In order to still make money on the subscription, they need the buyer to download less than 40 images from 3rd party contributors per month. Seems like a risky proposition for the company. Especially if 3rd party content eventually outnumbers wholly-owned exclusive content. The odds that a buyer will surpass whatever break-even number they come up with is too great. They'll need to pay very low royalties per DL.

I definitely can't imagine them paying any better than $0.25 per DL, and more likely they'll have to pay half that or less in order to be profitable. Not a good proposition for us.

And like DPC, being able to jump into a subscription for just $10 sends a really troubling message throughout the industry, that stock images individually aren't even worth $10 anymore, and in fact they're hardly worth pennies and can/should be bought in bulk.

I want to take a "wait and see" approach to SU but it's almost impossible to see any scenario where they can take $10 per month per subscriber and offer anything decent to contributors within that kind of system. I just don't see how it's possible that this could ever be a good thing for us, nor does it do the stock image business any good to offer unlimited subscriptions for the same price that many of us still sell single images for.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 21:57 by EmberMike »

Hobostocker

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« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2015, 00:21 »
0
Sorry I think Indonesia, if that makes a difference to cost of living. Take a look at the facebook pages of the illustrators working for 123RF and StockUnlimited commenting under the article.

well yes if it's indonesia it makes a HUGE different in cost of living, like day and night unless they're based in Bali or in some expensive high-tech office in Jakarta.

there are many IT/ICT startups in Bali, it's really a great place, the problem with Indonesia is the amount of red tape and bribes needed to work and operate there while in Malaysia foreign investors are welcomed with open arms, they have good airports, good trains, world class services, i mean everything just works but it's still a bargain compared to Singapore .. even Malaysia Borneo is quite a nice place, clean, well managed, while the indonesian Borneo is a du-mp.

« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2015, 01:09 »
0
If its like Netflix then its sure to Suck! Netflix online never has anything new even Redbox is better! And I think every contributor here would agree that they would get paid nothing for their photos so my guess is that 123rf or Getty or whoever is behind this new startup will be pulling content from other sites as a partner of some sort since no one will want to contribute!

« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2015, 09:12 »
+2
Quote
...StockUnlimiteds CEO is Christian Toksvig, the former head of business development at Getty Images...

It's worth mentioning that Toksvig wasn't just employed at Getty. His specific role was Vice President for Business Development for Getty and iStock. And he's also currently on the Board of Directors for Yuri Arcurs Photography.

When he left Getty, his stated reason was, "I've accomplished the main objectives that I was brought in to do, particularly around our presence in emerging markets and creating new digital business models and partnerships. On that background it makes sense to move on and work in a more entrepreneurial context."

Sounds like he maybe had a microstock startup on his mind for a while now. The entrepreneurial bug was certainly there when he parted ways with Getty.

I just think it's interesting that this new company is helmed by 4 guys with specific microstock experience. One of whom it sounds like maybe had microstock (or nanostock it seems) startup aspirations and teamed up with 3 guys from 123RF.

OM

« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2015, 19:46 »
+1
Noticed something today on a financial site about Netflix. Downgraded by an analyst because content is becoming too expensive to buy from studios/distributors and to costly to produce in-house. Seems like these 'distributor agents' need to pay more to get content that customers are willing to pay them for.
Not that bad yet for the stock agents/distributors but as the opt outs from DPC have shown by their action, there is a limit to how far creators of content will allow themselves to be fleeced by their distributors.

« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2015, 10:20 »
+1
...but as the opt outs from DPC have shown by their action, there is a limit to how far creators of content will allow themselves to be fleeced by their distributors.

The DPC opt-out did make a statement, but ultimately it didn't stop DPC from moving forward.

It's great that we value our work enough to draw a line in the sand and tell these companies that they've gone too far. I'm just not sure that these companies care. DPC has 30+ million images, more than they had even before the opt-out was made available. I'm sure SU will get plenty of content, either from their exclusive channels or by persuading contributors to sign up. No matter how bad the deal is, if they're offering any money at all, people will sign up. And maybe that's all these companies need. Does it matter if they have mostly mediocre content? Do they really need the best content to succeed?

Until there is a more obvious divide between companies that can get the best content and companies who can't because they pay too little, I don't see how we get off this road to lower and lower pay.

« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2015, 10:35 »
+1
...Until there is a more obvious divide between companies that can get the best content and companies who can't because they pay too little, I don't see how we get off this road to lower and lower pay.


So in addition to increasing the gap in content quality between companies who pay well and those who don't, I'm now recognizing more and more that we'll always have to fight against our own content as well. Even if these low-paying companies can't get content from me, they'll just take it anyway:



Fortunately I think most savvy buyers will still recognize that knock-offs usually aren't as good as the originals, and hopefully they'll still go where they can get the better versions. But still, it's another element in this discussion that will always be there and always make it harder and harder for us to keep any ground we gain in the effort to push for fair pay.

« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2015, 11:13 »
+1
My list of agencies where to upload is shrinking. Mostly because of fact that images uploaded to any agency go out of control. Epidemy of "partners" will bring content to such startups.

« Reply #40 on: December 21, 2015, 16:12 »
+2
I checked an e-mail account I don't use much (except for signups on sites I'm suspicious of) and saw that Stock Unlimited had sent me e-mail on December 18th:

"StockUnlimited is about to revolutionize the stock image business once again. We will soon be launching unlimited stock photos in addition to graphics.
Sounds great, doesn't it? We are very excited about it!
We are still not sure how much the new product should cost, so we thought we would ask you for your input. To say thanks, we will give you 20% off on annual subscription. You'll find the discount code on the last page of the survey. "

I did fill out the survey, although it was very short and didn't have any option to provide comments. How much did I spend on stock photography, what would I pay for an annual subscription for unlimited stock photos and graphics and would I recommend Stock Unlimited to a colleague.

I'm guessing that Stock Unlimited has not been eating into vector sales for illustrators (because we haven't seen anything about it here) so I'm inclined not to be too worried about the addition of photos.

Assuming no one would supply them in return for a royalty, perhaps they are purchasing stock from somewhere cheap to have wholly owned content (which is the only way to create a sustainable business with unlimited subscriptions)?

This would quickly become a stale, dated and limited set of photos (and if it's anything like the vectors, it's not inspiring; more clipart.com than Stocksy). Is there anything else that might make sense of a move like this? Having seen the death of the unlamented Dollar Photo Club, we wouldn't want to see something even worse take its place...

« Reply #41 on: December 21, 2015, 17:17 »
+2
Looks like they have a very limited supply problem.  It wont attract buyers, what's the point of unlimited downloads if you can't get the right image?


« Reply #42 on: April 07, 2016, 15:31 »
+4
I received e-mail this morning from 123rf and StockUnlimited (Tagged as "An Inmagine Company" even though they both are) titled "Creative needs sorted - for life!"

They have a deal - this week only - for unlimited downloads for life! Only $49 (reduced from $999)

I think they've been saying they have 600K images and vectors for ages, so I'm not sure about this "... we add thousands of new
images every week"

"You'll enjoy full access to over 600,000 quality stock photos,
vectors, clipart and other images... And we add thousands of new
images every week.

Don't worry about your content needs ever again! Just make this
one-time purchase now to enjoy unlimited downloads
for life. No catch"

But you have to hurry :) This is limited to the first 1,000 subscribers!

It's carnival barker yelling at its worst IMO

« Reply #43 on: April 07, 2016, 16:25 »
0
Unlimited downloads wont mean much while they have limited content.  Hope it stays that way.  Did they just send the email to registered buyers?  I didn't get it.  Makes me wonder if 123rf is worth carrying on with?  They have never made much for me and I stopped uploading after the commission cut.

« Reply #44 on: April 07, 2016, 16:53 »
0
Not sure why I got the e-mail - I don't buy there (I had someone I did work for buy from them but I just did the searching). It was the e-mail associated with my contributor account and it said I had signed up for newsletters (which I think I did)

I don't expect it to go anywhere but it smells of desperation - $999 on sale for $49...

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2016, 17:44 »
+5
Having Deja Vu yet again.

Here's a quote from this article. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d2e39a0a-eaa0-11e5-bb79-2303682345c8.html#axzz45BJ8Fzam

Quote
Christian Toksvig, the start-ups founder, knows the industry well: he was previously vice-president of business development at Getty, the market leader. But the entrepreneur insists that were not trying to disrupt or steal their business. Stock Unlimited targets those who have never previously paid for professional imagery because of its expense.


Where have I heard this before? Oh yeah. Microstock. And of course we all know micro had no affect on image prices.

I'm on the wrong side of this business.





« Reply #46 on: April 08, 2016, 04:20 »
0
"Toksvig believes that just like Spotify and Netflix made it so easy and cheap to get legal access music and video that piracy wasnt worth the hassle anymore, StockUnlimited will be able to do the same for graphics and photography."

He's right but he's 10 years too late.  iTunes is what made people realize what was legal and what wasn't wirth the hassle and iStock is what made it easy for buyers to license imagery.  Ten years ago.

Complete nonsense, netflix did nothing, there are more torrents f.e. than ever. I remember years ago torrents were often so slow and unreliable many didn't bother with it. Nowadays there is so much content on so many comps, you can downloads things at full speed, so if anything, It juts got a lot bigger. Almost any series (including netflix stuff) is up on torrents in a few hours after release.

« Reply #47 on: April 08, 2016, 07:24 »
+1
After browsing their content it doesn't worry me one iota......I would advice them to give it free....there are gratis sites with much better and usable images than this one......to say it is stale as a rotten tomato is an understatement..............

« Reply #48 on: May 14, 2016, 13:56 »
+2
I was cleaning out last month's rubbish from an e-mail account I keep for signups I don't care about and found a couple of e-mails from late April from StockUnlimited.

They're still peddling the lifetime deal for $49, but instead of saying there were only 1,000 of these available, they're now saying they've sold 10,000 but only 1,000 are left!

Still the same size image collection, but now they say it's growing at 10,000 images a month.

I don't know how it's OK to claim you've sold 10,000 if you haven't, but I have a hard time imagining they've sold that many. Perhaps it was a freebie with some other 123rf package and they're counting those as "sales"?

On the site, they're offering unlimited subscriptions at $19 for one month, $69 a year or $89 lifetime.

But it's not really unlimited or lifetime...

In the FAQ, there's a definition of what they mean by lifetime:

""Lifetime" is defined as the period until StockUnlimited ceases to operate or license the subscribed StockUnlimited content, guaranteed to be at least 36 months from the date of subscription. Please consult the Terms of Use for the full definition."

And in the legal blurb, they point out they have the right to limit the amount of downloads in a 24 hour period:

"Further, in order to facilitate a smooth download process and to ensure the best possible service to all Stock Unlimited users, Stock Unlimited may, at its sole discretion, restrict or limit downloads of the Content by any Stock Unlimited users (including you) to a fixed amount of total downloads of the Content per 24 hour period."

I hope this sort of sleazy stuff doesn't rub off on the reputations of decent sites. But as pointed out above, their collection is pretty sad, so that may limit the audience for their pitch anyway.

« Reply #49 on: May 14, 2016, 14:06 »
+3
Very sleazy. I have a feeling the top sites don't need to resort to these tactics. Fingers crossed.


 

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