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Author Topic: What is your forecast on the future direction of stocksites??  (Read 4183 times)

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« on: September 15, 2009, 14:39 »
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I have read several posts about new website images and new pricing structures, is the market contracting to the point that the websites are starting to panic, or has the market growth just stalled.

My forecast is I think that credit packages and expiring subscriptions create a false market expectation, a large number of downloads would be to "use up credits because I have paid for them" and "I can download xx images a day, so that is what I will do".

The revenue generated this way gives a false picture of the numbers of assets that are downloaded to be used, and excludes a large number of customers that only want to pay-and-go, I think that there needs to be a bigger option or move to 'pay per download' and away from credit and subscription packages.

It is a bit like joining the local gym, they sell a number of sessions or a prepaid package and know that a large number will drop out after getting bored, or by not pacing themself and doing to much to soon, so it is good for business to get that limited revenue while they can, a number will stick at it and incentives can be used to keep these members happy, costs are constants revenue goes up and down, so I cannot blame the websites.

Contributors are just like the people joining the gym, but instead of money they upload assets, the owners know that there will be a steady flow of new members, many will crash and burn while others will stay the course and become stronger and a constant source of assets and licence revenue.  

Some have the idea that the web market is there for the taking, and are offering smaller web assets, but have really missed the trick with delivery, many users will not visit a website, but delivery of the assets via a plug-in will generate new revenue.    

More downloads and reducing prices is not required and is not the key to new markets, but with a small investment and new ways of asset delivery will open up these new markets!

The things I.M.H.O. that are lacking are correctly sized images for the web, with a pay-per-download service at the point of delivery, visiting a website to get an image should not be the only option, anything I need for my WordPress blog I can get via a plug-in, these services should be falling over to provide a pay per download plug-in for all types of applications.

This is my take on things, I would like to hear from others  ???


David  ;D
      
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 14:47 by Adeptris »


« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2009, 14:55 »
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Two predictions...

1.  People will continue to buy the images they value, as long as the prices are right.  Some people who focus on subjects that a hobbyist can capture almost as well with snapshots will face stiffer competition from the free sites, but those creating unique content will continue to find demand for their art, and people willing to pay because this content won't be available for free.

2.  I agree that the means for buying and selling these images will continue to evolve.  Tomorrow's successful microstock artists will be the ones who are first to see these changes coming and move their ports to where tomorrow's buyers will be.

« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2009, 15:17 »
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Interesting thread.

I think we've already seen some of the future. Most agencies seem to be trying to branch out to sell their catalogs in a number of different places. I think partner programs and other revenue avenues will continue to grow.

I would assume that as the catalog sizes grow, the entry barrier will get tougher for newer contributors, and that old images that don't sell will be removed.

lisafx

« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2009, 17:36 »
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The things I.M.H.O. that are lacking are correctly sized images for the web, with a pay-per-download service at the point of delivery, visiting a website to get an image should not be the only option, anything I need for my WordPress blog I can get via a plug-in, these services should be falling over to provide a pay per download plug-in for all types of applications.


The above is a great idea!  It makes a lot of sense that getting pictures in front of people on sites they may want to use them for and allowing sales from within the sites, or the design programs, or whatever would be a great way to make additional sales. 

I think this may be what some of the sites have in mind with all their "partners" and "affiliates". 

I know there are lots of images bundled for free with Microsoft Office, for example.  It would be much better if people only had the thumbnails and could pay to use the images through the software.  A much larger selection could be available to the buyer that way, and of course the contributor would be compensated.

If this does develop, I would hope it is pursued by the current sites, rather than having to upload yet another place. 

« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 18:57 »
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With all the flux and constant changes and new offerings going on with most sites, it seems like Shutterstock is holding quietly steady.  No major shifts or changes going on there recently, price increases, commission decreases, major site overhauls, etc, or am I mistaken?  My earnings there have never dipped drastically, only gone up very slowly but very steadily with my very slow and steady portfolio growth over 3 years.  Nothing extreme either way but always constant slight upward growth.  I don't pay attention to their forum much, so maybe I've missed some recent big changes, but I don't think so.  Anyway, if it is the case that no major shakeups have come from them, then why not?  Just business as usual for SS all this time?  Are they getting ready for a big move?  I don't hear very many people complaining about drastic reductions in their earnings there, so maybe SS has this micro business pretty well figured out.  Perhaps they are the site to really focus our future efforts on.  Then again, maybe not.  Don't know.  I really dislike subs in general, but I'm okay with the way SS handles them.  However, if Getty buys them out I believe they'll introduce a lot of stupid changes that will ruin the site.    Just thinking out loud.

« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 00:31 »
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With all the flux and constant changes and new offerings going on with most sites, it seems like Shutterstock is holding quietly steady.  No major shifts or changes going on there recently, price increases, commission decreases, major site overhauls, etc, or am I mistaken?  My earnings there have never dipped drastically, only gone up very slowly but very steadily with my very slow and steady portfolio growth over 3 years.
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Stability is a good thing, and as you point out the growth has reached a peak and levelled, this is where I think some sites will start to panic, as their business plan has a forecast of growth values that they cannot reach, this will make any venture capitalist partners re-consider the next investment leg and maybe cut their losses, this is what happened at PhotoShelter with their collection.

Other sites under pressure will look at the revenue stream and may cut commission and adjust sales prices trying to grab a bit more of the existing market, instead of looking at the delivery of the assets, there are millions of other widgets and plug-in's, the stocksite's growth was so good they missed this web and blogging market, now they are looking at it as another avenue of growth, but they need to sort out delivery, this could be as simple as adding affiliate, ecommerce and Pay-per-Download to the API via and the viral marketing Could happen without much effort on their part.

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>...
I know there are lots of images bundled for free with Microsoft Office, for example.  It would be much better if people only had the thumbnails and could pay to use the images through the software.  A much larger selection could be available to the buyer that way, and of course the contributor would be compensated.

If this does develop, I would hope it is pursued by the current sites, rather than having to upload yet another place.

I agree that the current sites need to think about this and partner with the website and software producers, I did think about this type of service and look at how it could work, to set it up from new has a very large costs, to work as a partner with the existing API's is not an option as the buyer has to visit the website to register,  but an existing websites could provide an API and service from existing images, this would require a new or changed API, a plug-in for contributors own websites, 'WordPress' and 'Live Writer' to start off.

It would only require a small sidebar search widget about 200 x 500 which showed a search box and scrolling thumbnails, delivery would be images sized and priced for the web 200, 400, 600px width maximum, panoramas 800px, headers 900px, small Icons for add to cart and checkout, on checkout a small asp, flash or php pop-up insead of a web page, as payments would be through PayPal verified accounts (Instant Payment Notification) no need to register at the website, but the need for an email address and password for the sale, then the choice for instant download of a zip file with the images and license or an email sent with a 5 day expiring link, not that I have really though about this.    

If things took off then banners and header graphics could be included later, as a lot of images have copyspace which is not required, a site could even allow contributors to crop and upload prepared medium resolution web images just for this collection, this would give an outlet for some rejected images that may have a section that looks great at smaller cropped sizes but does not quite cut it overall as a whole image, one full image may have the potential to crop into several usable web images, portrait, square, panorama and header graphic.


David  ;)    
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 02:53 by Adeptris »

« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 06:55 »
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I never ceased to be amazed by the number of new sites that pop up. Within the last two months there seems to be even more of them. that suggest to me that someone things there is still more market share out there. I suspect they are right about more markets to tap but I think it will be the big player who tap into it. I like the idea of expanding into areas beyond typical stock that may need good artwork. I also think that while subscribtions have become the dominate model there has to be a way to beef up single picture sales. Other possible markets could be the self publishing business an agency could partner with a publisher to let them browse a catalouge for pictures. Novelty providers also offer another market.

I believe the big loser over the next year or two will be mid-level agencies. The bigger players have more resources and can but into any market that emerges. Mid level players do not have that flexibility. I have yet to see any new site that offers a really fresh approach or that has the capitalization to succeed. There are too many hurdles for new companies to jump.


« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 07:21 »
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In the UK we have a TV program called Dragons Den where entrepreneurs pitch for investment from millionaires, one pitch recently was for seamless audio track merging software, and the entrepreneur said they were after 1% of the iTunes market, one of the dragons said they would be lucky to take 0.001% of an existing established market, another said they would be better licensing the software to iTunes, the entrepreneur said they would sell downloads through the website, but a few months on they have signed a deal to license through iTunes.

The moral of this is simple, this is no longer a new and growing market, and new offering thinking they will steal a share of the existing market from established sites are just wrong, the only new services that will survive will be niche or offer a new service that is not available through the established websites.       

David  ;)

« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 07:30 »
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In the UK we have a TV program called Dragons Den where entrepreneurs pitch for investment from millionaires, one pitch recently was for seamless audio track merging software, and the entrepreneur said they were after 1% of the iTunes market, one of the dragons said they would be lucky to take 0.001% of an existing established market, another said they would be better licensing the software to iTunes, the entrepreneur said they would sell downloads through the website, but a few months on they have signed a deal to license through iTunes.

The moral of this is simple, this is no longer a new and growing market, and new offering thinking they will steal a share of the existing market from established sites are just wrong, the only new services that will survive will be niche or offer a new service that is not available through the established websites.       

David  ;)

Yes I saw this. I was quite surprised to see the market they achieved 'success' in and the market share they had got, not to mention the revenue. A bit of lateral thinking and some marketing $$ can go a long way. It may not necessarily been the agencies that need to look around, individual artists need to get off their arse, stop moaning about this and that, and find the new markets for their assets themselves.

« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 09:36 »
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Yes I saw this. I was quite surprised to see the market they achieved 'success' in and the market share they had got, not to mention the revenue. A bit of lateral thinking and some marketing $$ can go a long way. It may not necessarily been the agencies that need to look around, individual artists need to get off their arse, stop moaning about this and that, and find the new markets for their assets themselves.

Thanks for the reminder, I do remember now they first went after iTunes with no luck, but by sheer luck found a new market supplying licenced tracks to Gym and fitness instructors, who can visit the website select the tracks and download a compiled fully licensed audio track to use, but it still remains the same analysis for any new offerings, they will not break into the existing markets and have to create a new market for their products.

David  ;) 


 

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