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Author Topic: iStock Content to Sell on Photos.com and JupiterUnlimited  (Read 78824 times)

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« Reply #375 on: May 09, 2009, 14:17 »
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Getty wants to own the image business, and they want to end up with 2 tiers.  They'll continue to use subscriptions and forced cross-listing to drive down microstock prices until serious, talented professionals (which I am not, btw) give up. Microstock will become just a giant bargain bin full of mediocre and/or dated images.  New, high quality images will only be available at much higher prices, through other Getty outlets.

Microstock will survive for a while but eventually technical standards and expectations will creep up - higher resolution, better lighting, more dynamic range - and cultural styles and editorial subjects will change - so the old archives won't sell as well.  New microstock images will come from hobbyists who don't need to recover their costs, but won't spend money on professional models, lighting, setups or locations.

Embrace, extend, extinguish.

(These are just my own, relatively uninformed, ideas - although I'm serious, I actually think this is what's happening.)

I disagree.  Getty hasn't lowered istock prices, they have increased a lot since they took over.  When they wanted to use exclusive images on photos.com, they offered an opt out, nobody was being forced in to lower prices.  Microstock prices overall have gone up a lot in the past few years, even subscriptions commissions are much more than they were when I started.  Some sites have stuck with their subs commissions but can anyone name a big site that has ever lowered them?  Hobbyists are finding it more difficult to get accepted with the big sites.  They are more likely to give up than the pros who have no problems with quality control.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 14:20 by sharpshot »


« Reply #376 on: May 09, 2009, 15:00 »
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sharpshot, admittedly I have only been in this a few months.  I am getting twenty-five cents per sale.  Yet you are saying prices, - even for subscriptions - have "gone up a lot".   










« Reply #377 on: May 09, 2009, 15:06 »
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sharpshot, admittedly I have only been in this a few months.  I am getting twenty-five cents per sale.  Yet you are saying prices, - even for subscriptions - have "gone up a lot".   


When many of us started on SS we were getting 20c but it had risen to 38c well within 4 years __ that's quite a significant rise albeit from a low base. The problem with the sub model is that the customer is likely to be more price-sensitive which then makes it difficult for a particular agency to increase prices.








lisafx

« Reply #378 on: May 09, 2009, 15:23 »
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Some sites have stuck with their subs commissions but can anyone name a big site that has ever lowered them?  Hobbyists are finding it more difficult to get accepted with the big sites.  They are more likely to give up than the pros who have no problems with quality control.

Are you asking only about sub commissions?  If so, I am not aware of any site that has lowered them.

But if you are asking commissions in general, both Fotolia and Alamy have lowered them in the past few months. 

Not a promising trend if it were to catch on.  And it looks like Getty is trying to help it catch on.

lisafx

« Reply #379 on: May 09, 2009, 15:32 »
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as for devaluing images, I want to understand this issue as much as possible for future reference. how does the proposed photos.com model compare with the existing sub model offered by SS? am I correct in presuming that the SS model is better than the model outlined for photos.com? (I realize that photos.com using shared iStock content is one of the biggest concerns also)

Yes, IMO the sub model offered by Shutterstock is quite a bit better.  They are the only sub site that increases payout by sales level.  You start at .25 but after only $500 (fairly easy goal for anyone with a halfway decent port) you get promoted to .33.  I am at .38, which is the highest sub royalty out there for nonexclusive content (DT offers .42 for exclusive images sold via sub).

EL's sold via Shutterstock are a flat $28 commission.  This works out to more than I get from an EL on any of the other sites. 

Nobody knows for sure what the take would be on the current Photos.com but the royalty split of 22.5% is pitiful, and not having a minimum payout is fishy.  Reading the posts of the contributors who have run the numbers it looks like the average royalty is more likely to be .10 -.20 than the overly optimistic .30-.55 quoted in the original annoucement. 

Shutterstock's plan promises a certain payout level and the risk if buyers use their whole allotment is all on the agency.  The Getty/Istock plan in its current form puts all the risk on the contributors. 
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 15:34 by lisafx »

« Reply #380 on: May 09, 2009, 15:33 »
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As I see it buyers are offered several price points on every microstock. with subscriptions being the lowest of course.  While the prices themselves may have increased, my impression is that subs make up an ever-growing percentage of sales. So the result is an ever lower average return on an image.  Isn't that what's happening?


lisafx

« Reply #381 on: May 09, 2009, 15:36 »
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As I see it buyers are offered several price points on every microstock. with subscriptions being the lowest of course.  While the prices themselves may have increased, my impression is that subs make up an ever-growing percentage of sales. So the result is an ever lower average return on an image.  Isn't that what's happening?



In theory that makes sense.  On the sites that have gone heavily in favor of subs my RPI is down, but my overall RPI has gone up over time.  Mostly due to istock and DT where lucrative PPD sales far outnumber subs. 

« Reply #382 on: May 09, 2009, 15:43 »
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I don't think the balance between subs and pay per download has changed much.  Photos.com has taken some subs earnings from shutterstock but StockXpert pay per download has decreased.  Shutterstock have introduced pay per download and are doing well, balancing out the fall in subs sales.  The other sites don't seem to be selling large amounts of subs, perhaps some customers have changed but not enough to make me concerned.

« Reply #383 on: May 09, 2009, 16:40 »
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My thinking is probably biased because my sales so far have been about 99% subs.  It's hard for me to believe there is even any other sort of buyer out there.   But my sales have been mostly on SS, where I think subscription buyers are picking up my images because they're new, not because they're finding them by keyword search.


vonkara

« Reply #384 on: May 09, 2009, 17:00 »
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And there are all the people that think it is an insult to sell their masterpieces for $1 or less.  Some of them even write blog posts about how stupid it is to use microstock sites.  Lots of them will change their minds but it will keep the numbers of pros using microstock down.
Yea there such photographers without a clue about photography industry and with conceptual names like "Che" taken from Che Guevara, who thinks they are genius by taking pics of someone washing his clothes. Then they want to sell those pics 300$ and more.

They don't know photoshop and are self confident because their mother tell them they are good... They don't seem to know that I get 1 650 000 results when I enter "washing clothes" in google image

stacey_newman

« Reply #385 on: May 09, 2009, 18:09 »
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lol, as a funny aside....speaking of mothers telling their children they are good when they really aren't:

I had a boss once who was the world's biggest jerk. it was remarkable how big a jerk this guy was. we would all sit around and marvel that he managed to found a fairly cool company, and we always wondered how it was possible. then one day someone got the dirt on him. turns out he had anger management problems most of his childhood and adult life, and his mom bought the company for him so he would have a job. every other job he had had, he was let go because of his attitude. at least he was smart enough to employ middle managers that got the job done. but boy did we laugh when we found that out. his mom bought it for him....too funny.

lisafx

« Reply #386 on: May 09, 2009, 19:09 »
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I don't think the balance between subs and pay per download has changed much.  Photos.com has taken some subs earnings from shutterstock but StockXpert pay per download has decreased.  Shutterstock have introduced pay per download and are doing well, balancing out the fall in subs sales.  The other sites don't seem to be selling large amounts of subs, perhaps some customers have changed but not enough to make me concerned.

Fotolia sales for me seem to be switching over to more subs and fewer PPD each month.  Still doing well there, but the balance is definitely shifting.

« Reply #387 on: May 09, 2009, 19:24 »
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Perhaps the balance of customers (company vs individuals) is shifting as more companies come on board micro. I doubt your average joe who wants a desktop pic or something for a church flyer would buy a subscription.

« Reply #388 on: May 09, 2009, 19:25 »
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Fotolia sales for me seem to be switching over to more subs and fewer PPD each month.  Still doing well there, but the balance is definitely shifting.

Yes, I'd agree __ they are starting to go backwards. In fact, for the first time in over a year, they may be about to surrender 3rd place in my earnings to DT.

I think a lot of that has to do with reduced commissions, especially on exclusive images. I had several of my best-sellers there as exclusive images, which worked well under the previous royalty scheme, but now it seems pointless and most likely is losing me money.

The daft thing is I'm not aware that they ever actually flagged exclusive images to the customer. No point in adding extra-value if you're not going to tell anyone about it.

tan510jomast

« Reply #389 on: May 09, 2009, 20:48 »
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[]
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 08:47 by tan510jomast »

« Reply #390 on: May 09, 2009, 21:11 »
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The thing with subs is, from a business point of view, it is bookable revenue for a company - that is why subs are so attractive because for a business, especially in these times when companies are struggling with cash balances and credit issues, it makes their revenue more "forecastable" and stable.

With per photo sales you can look at trends and guess about future revenue based on those trends and market conditions but you never really know what your per photo sales will be and this is especially true when the world's economy is in the craps - subs are golden for a company because they are guaranteed bookable revenue the minute a sub is purchased. The other thing about subs a lot of people don't realise is that there is no cost for the company if they already are selling the images per photo - you have the general cost of course of having them on your server and admin costs - but you have those costs already whether you have subs or not - a lot of people keep saying companies will lose money if they sell subs too cheap - but there is no cost associated with selling them as part of sub packages - so the low percentage the contributors get is actually pretty insulting in the light of the fact that it is pure profit from the sellers point of view (though this is not the case with places like SS that are 100% subs).


stacey_newman

« Reply #391 on: May 09, 2009, 21:45 »
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hoi ha - pls forgive my ignorance, by why is this not the case with SS? I'm interested in what you are saying.

« Reply #392 on: May 09, 2009, 22:40 »
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Hi Stacey - because SS is basically based around a subs model (yes they have some per photo buys but essentially they are a subs based site) obviously their costs for running the site is attributable to that particular model - that's how they sell the images  ...but when sites like istock introduce a subs model on top of thier dominant pay per photo model, it's a freebie for them because they have already paid for the costs of the image - from an accounting point of view of course they can spread the costs around - but basically istock would accept an image on its site, and the costs associated with that image, regardless of whether they offered subs or not - yes? So the image is just sitting there already and it costs them nothing extra if it sells as a sub.

Subs are hugely attractive for the sites that have based their business model around per photo purchases because it is guaranteed revenue with no aditional cost - the problem for them is to make sure that they get the balance right - if the subs start to cannibalize their per photo sales then their overall revenue is likely to fall - that's why the pricing of the subs packages is really important ... istock priced their subs pretty high because any lower and they knew they would lose revenue on the per photos sales which brings them a much higher return ... it's a hard balance for these sites to find ... on the other hand, with the other sites competing and lowering and lowering the subs prices - it gets even harder to find the right balance ...

Look at it this way - the subs model is more revenue stable for a company - the per photo model is riskier for a company - it's a question of getting the right balance - right now especially it's hard because there is a rush to cash for business because credit has dried up - so companies are cash sensitive. But there is also a hige amount of flux in the microstock business regardless of the economic situation ...

For all sites it's about how to maximise profits - if people at istock honestly think that istock actually cares about them in more than a business sense they are really delusional ... maintaining good relationships with your suppliers is always a smart business proposition but what makes istock so amazing really is that they have succeeded in making many of their suppliers actually believe that they care about them personally. It's a great business strategy and it works to a degree because most of the time what is good for the suppliers is good for istock/getty's bottom line - but not always as this latest move shows ... the issue for them now is they have to decide whether the potential revenue gains from photos.com is worth upsetting many of their suppliers ... they will sneak it in somehow .... they are pretty darn good at that .. they do whatever is best for the company - and to be fair that is correct ... that is their obligation ...

stacey_newman

« Reply #393 on: May 10, 2009, 13:02 »
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thanks Hoi Ha, really good info, much appreciated...

« Reply #394 on: May 10, 2009, 16:49 »
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For all sites it's about how to maximise profits - if people at istock honestly think that istock actually cares about them in more than a business sense they are really delusional ... maintaining good relationships with your suppliers is always a smart business proposition but what makes istock so amazing really is that they have succeeded in making many of their suppliers actually believe that they care about them personally. It's a great business strategy and it works to a degree because most of the time what is good for the suppliers is good for istock/getty's bottom line - but not always as this latest move shows ...

That's sad, :( but I have to agree with hoi ha. I always looked at it that way.

lisafx

« Reply #395 on: May 11, 2009, 11:57 »
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thanks Hoi Ha, really good info, much appreciated...

I agree.  I have gotten a great education in business from reading posts like Hoi Ha's here and Jewlbug's on istock's forums.   

It's very valuable information and I am grateful to have it. 

« Reply #396 on: May 11, 2009, 12:26 »
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they will sneak it in somehow .... they are pretty darn good at that .. they do whatever is best for the company - and to be fair that is correct ... that is their obligation ...
That is one of their obligations.  Another is to deal with people honestly and openly.

« Reply #397 on: May 11, 2009, 14:25 »
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The thing with subs is, from a business point of view, it is bookable revenue for a company - that is why subs are so attractive because for a business, especially in these times when companies are struggling with cash balances and credit issues, it makes their revenue more "forecastable" and stable.

With per photo sales you can look at trends and guess about future revenue based on those trends and market conditions but you never really know what your per photo sales will be and this is especially true when the world's economy is in the craps - subs are golden for a company because they are guaranteed bookable revenue the minute a sub is purchased. The other thing about subs a lot of people don't realise is that there is no cost for the company if they already are selling the images per photo - you have the general cost of course of having them on your server and admin costs - but you have those costs already whether you have subs or not - a lot of people keep saying companies will lose money if they sell subs too cheap - but there is no cost associated with selling them as part of sub packages - so the low percentage the contributors get is actually pretty insulting in the light of the fact that it is pure profit from the sellers point of view (though this is not the case with places like SS that are 100% subs).

I'll disagree.  A month to month subscription is no more stable or forecastable than someone buying a point package at iStock.  Yes, you have the cash in hand, but when those credits/time period end, the person could go elsewhere.  A year subscription?  Same as a thousand point package or whatever.

"The other thing about subs a lot of people don't realise is that there is no cost for the company if they already are selling the images per photo - you have the general cost of course of having them on your server and admin costs - but you have those costs already whether you have subs or not"

That makes no sense to me.  Each image has an associated cost regardless of how you are selling it.  You've got to inspect it, host it, pay for download bandwidth, pay for overhead, etc.  That is separate from how you actually collect money from putting it in people's hands.  In fact, SS probably has most costs associated with this, because people are constantly pumping everything they can in there to keep their cash up, so they probably have more inspection and hosting costs.

This is why the JIU/Photos thing is so egregious.   There are no overhead costs.  The stuff is already inspected.  It just needs to be shunted over.  And for that, they keep 80%?

« Reply #398 on: May 11, 2009, 15:13 »
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I'd agree with Sean, I didn't understand your logic either. A model that generates thousands of small sales is inherently more stable than one that produces a few large sales. For example microstockers tend to have a more stable income than those who rely on traditional stock sites.

The purchase of a small sub package is often no different to a customer buying a sizeable chunk of credits anyway __ it's just as 'bookable' and probably of a similar value.

Subscription packages also carry an inherent degree of risk to the agency in that they are normally priced such that if the customer downloads all their entitlement the agency makes little or nothing from it. Purchase of credits, on the other hand, are guaranteed to be profitable.

Of course IS's plan shifts all of that risk onto the contributor. It's only just occurred to me that the way they've organised it means that it doesn't actually matter to the agency how many images the subscriber downloads __ the agency will always keep 77.5-80% of the subscription price. Effectively the contributors' pot always remains the same size too but will be divided between all the contributors whose images were downloaded.

For example if they sell an annual package for $1200 they the agency is always guaranteed to keep between $930-960. The contributors' pot will be between $240-270 irrespective of how many images are downloaded.

And that's before we've even thought about reducing prices even further to kill off the competition. This plan allows the agency to act as if the content was effectively wholly-owned by them. Clever __ very, very clever indeed.

« Reply #399 on: May 11, 2009, 15:18 »
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For example if they sell an annual package for $1200 they the agency is always guaranteed to keep between $930-960. The contributors' pot will be between $240-270 irrespective of how many images are downloaded.

And that's before we've even thought about reducing prices even further to kill off the competition. This plan allows the agency to act as if the content was effectively wholly-owned by them. Clever __ very, very clever indeed.

Exacta-freaking-lutely.


 

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