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Author Topic: This boat is sinking. So why aren't we jumping?  (Read 11231 times)

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« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2015, 17:24 »
+5
I am not jumping ship because it is still nicer to be on the somewhat dry deck rather than in the water. Do I expect my earnings to increase forever - no. In fact they have gone down since 2012 and unless I up my game or find new outlets that will probably continue. The number of images I have submitted has dropped as my motivation has decreased. Also I am less likely to set up and take pics specifically for micro. Instead I mostly just submit pics I am taking already that might have sales potential. I am way down on the long tail for the most part. Most of my few images that had good search placement lost them overnight in a search shakeup. If I had lots of best sellers that would have been a bloodbath for me.

I think in some ways micro is going to return to what it should have been - low cost images sold for low prices. The anomaly was the relatively brief time when it was worth it to put high production images there. The question is will the buyers still be able to find what they need there or will enough of them decide to head to higher cost sources and can we take advantage of that?

As always, search is king, so if you can get your images onto the first page or the first few pages you will do fine. The problem is that with all the competition that will be harder and harder and for established contributors every big search shakeup will probably dislodge more of your well placed images than it will lift up hidden ones.



« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2015, 17:43 »
+5

I think in some ways micro is going to return to what it should have been - low cost images sold for low prices.

I agree! This is where everything went wrong. Getty should have used iStock as a farm team of sorts and identified the high quality, high production contributors and moved them and their images into the Macro market.

While microstock is a needed low end market for a certain segment of buyers, it allowed buyers who were quite happy paying MUCH more for an image to get used to high quality images for pennies.

Using thousands of dollars in camera equipment to produce images that sell at micro subscription prices is not and has never been sustainable. It just seemed like it to some for awhile.


« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2015, 17:48 »
+2
I put my images where I thought they could earn the greatest return which meant leaving microstock....selling for pennies never felt 'right' for me considering time and $ invested whether the image sold once or a hundred times....best decision I've made in a long time.  I'm making far fewer sales today but considerably more money and  see that doing nothing but getting better over the long run.
   
And don't discount self-marketing.  Calendars, greeting cards, magazines, the list goes on.  It's a tough nut to crack but once you get established with particular companies or publishers or corporations it can be very rewarding.

There are good alternatives to microstock.  Jumping ship doesn't have to mean the end of your photography income.

Of course, your mileage may vary.... ;)



PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2015, 18:23 »
+5

Who knows when or if the ratio of people jumping versus coming aboard will ever reverse.

I only disagree with this one.

For now, it's like you said. But wait for time when all agencies will have about 100-200 millions of images (in next few years probably) and we will see that less and less people will join (and continue to work for microstock)

Why?

Because at this moment new contributors upload 100-200 images and they can even earn some money out of it in few months. In the future they will make less then a dollar with the same amount of images and just quit it in the start.

Technically they will join, but they will not be real contributors or competitors if they quit quickly.

I see what you're getting at but I think these distributors know the game pretty well.

They know that they keep reducing benefits and commissions to increase their profits, bunches of contributors leave, and they're still getting record growth with new contributors and images. Why? Because every group of people that joins has their expectations set at that time. Even if most old users are earning 25-75% less than a few years ago, this year is the BYE, BME, BDE for most new users. And when todays users have 75% drops the new users that replace them will be having BXE's.

Somebody nailed it earlier. Who cares if the old expensive jaded employees leave when they can be replaced by new enthusiastic people who are ecstatic to earn anything more than a compliment.

1990 - Wow I can earn $1,000,000 a year in stock photography
2005 - Wow I can earn $100,000 a year in microstock photography
2015 - Wow I can earn $10,000 a year in microstock photography
2020 - Wow I can earn $1,000 a year in microstock photography


« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2015, 19:21 »
0
really well said!

« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2015, 19:30 »
0
1990 - Wow I can earn $1,000,000 a year in stock photography
2005 - Wow I can earn $100,000 a year in microstock photography
2015 - Wow I can earn $10,000 a year in microstock photography
2020 - Wow I can earn $1,000 a year in microstock photography

well, we all have suffered with each industrial revolution.
same as the musicians, of which i was one both music and photography..which reads
as below to complement your era to era list

1970 - wow, we can earn 30% of the bar tab playing at the university pub night
1980 - wow i can earn $150-300 a page with the newspaper
       - wow, we can earn $300 a night playing rock music (divided by 3 , each brings home 100)
2005 - wow, i can earn $20 an hour as a photo-retoucher
        - wow, they actually think it's worth-while playing in a club for a case of beer a night
2015 - wow , i can earn $10K in microstock (re: Paulie  above)
        - wow, i can get to play for the fiest musica and become famous with the girls (no pay)

the bottom line is always sinking...
the dinosaurs can either adapt or be vanquished
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 19:34 by etudiante_rapide »

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2015, 19:44 »
+2
the dinosaurs can either adapt or be vanquished

Rawrrrr. Watch out for those microasteroids!

weathernewsonline

« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2015, 22:25 »
0
I don't think microstock is broken. I mean broken for who? It's thriving like crazy right now.

What's happening is that EVERYONE has more competitors now than ever. I hate to burst some people's bubbles...but things will continue to moving along even if everyone on this forum pull our portfolios. And the generation that replaces us will be just as talented, if not more so. Do a search for "stethoscope" and there are over 250,000 images. You take a bucket of water from a lake and you still have a lake.

Apple used to own the Tablet market when the iPad came out. Now that market is saturate, every company is seeing declining sales. So is the tablet market broken? No, it's just saturated.

What do you think about 4K? right now the market is saturated and yes some agencies are getting a bit strict with curation as pretty much everything has been shot in HD and obviously it costs them to store our files but there aren't 60 million 4K video files around on these sites, think that might be a much needed second wind?

Wonder what you shoot that you are making a 700% increase here vs your previous job.  Keep it up, full throttle!

I am trying same but getting promotion around the world is hard, that's a full time job in itself as I am finding out.
Nobody is being shoved out the door. People can choose to stay or choose to leave. That's like me saying the Apple App Store is shoving me out the door. No, I choose to stop developing apps because Microstock makes me 700% more revenue.

« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2015, 23:05 »
+17
Quote
This boat is sinking. So why aren't we jumping?

Because this isn't a "jump" kind of business. You can be in microstock for years without lifting a finger to do anything, just riding out your portfolio and getting those diminishing returns for as long as possible. There is really no "quit" or "jump ship" unless you want to be really dramatic and pull your portfolio when you decide to stop contributing to microstock. But that doesn't make much sense.

There is no need to jump when we can just decide not to work on the ship anymore but stay on while it drifts for a few years.

Hongover

« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2015, 23:52 »
+1
What do you think about 4K? right now the market is saturated and yes some agencies are getting a bit strict with curation as pretty much everything has been shot in HD and obviously it costs them to store our files but there aren't 60 million 4K video files around on these sites, think that might be a much needed second wind?

Wonder what you shoot that you are making a 700% increase here vs your previous job.  Keep it up, full throttle!

It's not an increase from my previous job. Making apps and games was a hobby. Even though I stopped doing it on my free time, I still do a lot of it for the company I work for, though I'm more of a designer/artist.

If I'm making $100-$200 on my apps per month, a 700% increase is not that much, but it's a much better investment of my time. My portfolio is a mix between photos and vectors with a focus on technology, healthcare and business.

As for 4K. It could pick up 5 years from now the same way HD gained steam or it may not. If broadcasters are still streaming sporting events at 720P, there is no need for 4K. But some content providers are trying to future proof their content by using 4K. The electronics industry really wants to push 4K, but more and more people are watching TV shows, concerts, sporting events and movies on their tablets, smartphones and laptops. The Roku 4 is started to have a lot of 4K content, so the market could grow.

Like you said, 4K takes a lot of server space, so curation is absolutely necessary. If sales don't exceed the server bill, they're going to get more strict and start taking more commission from the contributors. Maybe a few years from now, people will start cursing video stock sites and say how they're screwing the veteran contributors.

« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2015, 06:10 »
+8
I do it because I am addicted to making money while I am asleep, sitting on the beach or working my day job. It's the same reason I invest.

Rob Sylvan wrote "Taking Stock" five years ago and was pretty clear about how hard this business was and what the realistic potential was. I actually think he was too optimistic. 

The trajectory of this business is not unlike other nascent online business models.  Constant change  and accelerating commoditization.  Doesn't mean I dont look forward each morning to checking my overnight sales.

weathernewsonline

« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2015, 23:12 »
0
What do you think about 4K? right now the market is saturated and yes some agencies are getting a bit strict with curation as pretty much everything has been shot in HD and obviously it costs them to store our files but there aren't 60 million 4K video files around on these sites, think that might be a much needed second wind?

Wonder what you shoot that you are making a 700% increase here vs your previous job.  Keep it up, full throttle!

It's not an increase from my previous job. Making apps and games was a hobby. Even though I stopped doing it on my free time, I still do a lot of it for the company I work for, though I'm more of a designer/artist.

If I'm making $100-$200 on my apps per month, a 700% increase is not that much, but it's a much better investment of my time. My portfolio is a mix between photos and vectors with a focus on technology, healthcare and business.

As for 4K. It could pick up 5 years from now the same way HD gained steam or it may not. If broadcasters are still streaming sporting events at 720P, there is no need for 4K. But some content providers are trying to future proof their content by using 4K. The electronics industry really wants to push 4K, but more and more people are watching TV shows, concerts, sporting events and movies on their tablets, smartphones and laptops. The Roku 4 is started to have a lot of 4K content, so the market could grow.

Like you said, 4K takes a lot of server space, so curation is absolutely necessary. If sales don't exceed the server bill, they're going to get more strict and start taking more commission from the contributors. Maybe a few years from now, people will start cursing video stock sites and say how they're screwing the veteran contributors.

I am getting the same feeling, SD to HD was a major step with a major improvement that everyone had to have, 4K? given the cost of all the upgrades involved in the workflow and supply chain I am starting to wonder if it will happen soon in this economy, maybe five years like you say.  I do see a lot of high priced 4k sales on P5 but I think server space and cost will be a huge problem right now, it could fall flat like 3D did due to the costs. It almost feels like it hasn't been thoroughly thought out but that's ok with me, can't afford to upgrade any of the equipment now anyways let alone storage drives.  Still have 30,000 more HD clips to upload and tag to the three sites I am using now.


Hongover

« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2015, 01:46 »
+1
I am getting the same feeling, SD to HD was a major step with a major improvement that everyone had to have, 4K? given the cost of all the upgrades involved in the workflow and supply chain I am starting to wonder if it will happen soon in this economy, maybe five years like you say.  I do see a lot of high priced 4k sales on P5 but I think server space and cost will be a huge problem right now, it could fall flat like 3D did due to the costs. It almost feels like it hasn't been thoroughly thought out but that's ok with me, can't afford to upgrade any of the equipment now anyways let alone storage drives.  Still have 30,000 more HD clips to upload and tag to the three sites I am using now.

I think it's a bit different from 3D, since that was just a gimmick. 4K represents an advancement, but not the advancement from SD to HD. It's more of a luxury at the moment.

4K still presents a lot of problems for the entire market since 4K broadcasts are limited at the moment. And unless you have Google Fiber or in your area or live in a European country with fast internet, streaming 4K is a struggle. H.265 and VP9 can compress a single movie to about 20-40GB, but your internet need to be fast enough to download 20-40GB of data in a 2 hour period. And you can forget about it if you're on a data plan.

I think the market could warm up in the next year or so now that 4K TVs are becoming affordable and the technology is starting to catch up. I just may pick up a NX1 and take a dip into the market if my budget allows it.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 02:20 by Hongover »

« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2015, 07:05 »
0
4k TV that I've seen looks amazing and they sell a 4k TV for around the same price HD TV's were a few years ago in my local Tesco now.  If the internet is going to be too slow, I wonder if there will be 4K rentals like the old VHS and DVD days?  Would be easy to put a film on a USB stick in the post.

Hongover

« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2015, 12:51 »
0
4k TV that I've seen looks amazing and they sell a 4k TV for around the same price HD TV's were a few years ago in my local Tesco now.  If the internet is going to be too slow, I wonder if there will be 4K rentals like the old VHS and DVD days?  Would be easy to put a film on a USB stick in the post.

USB stick so everyone can just make a copy? Probably never, but Ultra HD Bluray players and discs are expected to get released in a few months. Once the porn industry adopts it and they will, it's going to give some momentum to the entire market.

« Reply #40 on: November 07, 2015, 13:00 »
+2
4k TV that I've seen looks amazing and they sell a 4k TV for around the same price HD TV's were a few years ago in my local Tesco now.  If the internet is going to be too slow, I wonder if there will be 4K rentals like the old VHS and DVD days?  Would be easy to put a film on a USB stick in the post.

USB stick so everyone can just make a copy? Probably never, but Ultra HD Bluray players and discs are expected to get released in a few months. Once the porn industry adopts it and they will, it's going to give some momentum to the entire market.

Porn in 4k? no thank you!!!  :o
do we really need to see any more clearer than hd??? Even HD is just too much imo. hehe

« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2015, 14:40 »
0
4k TV that I've seen looks amazing and they sell a 4k TV for around the same price HD TV's were a few years ago in my local Tesco now.  If the internet is going to be too slow, I wonder if there will be 4K rentals like the old VHS and DVD days?  Would be easy to put a film on a USB stick in the post.

USB stick so everyone can just make a copy? Probably never, but Ultra HD Bluray players and discs are expected to get released in a few months. Once the porn industry adopts it and they will, it's going to give some momentum to the entire market.
USB sticks can be protected as well as any other medium.  Michael Jackson "This Is It" was sold on a hard drive, no difference to a USB.


« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2015, 18:29 »
+1
4k TV that I've seen looks amazing and they sell a 4k TV for around the same price HD TV's were a few years ago in my local Tesco now.  If the internet is going to be too slow, I wonder if there will be 4K rentals like the old VHS and DVD days?  Would be easy to put a film on a USB stick in the post.

USB stick so everyone can just make a copy? Probably never, but Ultra HD Bluray players and discs are expected to get released in a few months. Once the porn industry adopts it and they will, it's going to give some momentum to the entire market.

Porn in 4k? no thank you!!!  :o
do we really need to see any more clearer than hd??? Even HD is just too much imo. hehe

LOL!  Too true!  I don't want to be able to make out the pimple on some blokes ar$e! Too real for me.  :P

« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2015, 04:11 »
0
Hi!
I've started to make stock vectors 2 years ago, and I joined ShutterStock on January 2014. I've made about 4000 vectors until now.

I already had the necessary skills 5-6 years earlier, but I simply didn't know about this industry. I sometimes wonder, how much money I'd make 5-6 years earlier with the same portfolio.
Am I right, that contributor numbers grown much-much higher rate than customer numbers since then?

So, the whole game is for me is about time-management:
-I have a good idea, and I can make 1 image in 2 days --> no,no!
-I have a mediocre idea, and I can make 50 images in that niche in 1 day --> go!

(I'm not able to make those top-seller type images.)

So, I usually make larger batches of one type of vector:
http://www.shutterstock.com/g/davidzydd/sets

I have a very special method of making vectors, I don't use Illustrator. (except converting to eps)


 

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