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Author Topic: Shutterstock Q1 numbers; Stan Pavlovsky resigned  (Read 5002 times)

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« on: April 26, 2022, 18:04 »
+23
Edited May 3 to note that Stan Pavlovsky resigned as CEO April 27th, effective May 3rd. Jon Oringer is interim CEO until they find someone. See more in my post later in this thread:

https://www.microstockgroup.com/shutterstock-com/shutterstock-q1-numbers-and-earnings-call/msg576204/#msg576204

There are some links to the details on the numbers, but I think that the headlines for contributors looking at the rest of 2022 and what things will be like are best summed up by one chart, two new hires and talk of another new "product" to come later this year. Oh, and paid download numbers continue downward (3% drop to 44.6 million).

The stock market was down today, but SSTK was down more than the market and closed at $77.43, down 3.93%. They presented as many gains as they could, but Income from operations decreased 16% to $31.9 million, net income decreased 10% to $26.6 million and adjusted EBITDA decreased 3% to $54.8 million.

The chart: Shareholder Return of Capital (below) says that SS plans to return $132 million for 2022 via share buybacks and quarterly dividends. Compared to $58 million in 2021. That's money not going to building the business or rewarding contributors. Indirectly that rewards employees who get bonuses directly or indirectly via the stock price as well.

The new hires: a new Chief Marketing Officer, Jason McClelland. He'd done some short stints (1 year each) at startups and a long one (16 years) at Adobe in web services, product management and head of eCommerce. According to his LinkedIn page he developed the switch to subscriptions. Some of the previous CMOs at Shutterstock (there have been lots) were there for a few months (Dorian Quispe), a year-ish (Jeff Weiser) or long term (2 years, Lou Weiss). We should start a pool on how long this guy lasts.

The new VP of Brand Marketing, Skip Wilson, left Peloton in Feburary (so I assume he was part of that layoff of 2,800 people). In the press release he says "The opportunity to create a strong brand that drives a deeper connection to the Shutterstock audience is what excites me"

https://investor.shutterstock.com/news-releases/news-release-details/shutterstock-appoints-chief-marketing-officer-and-vice-president

The new product: In the earnings call transcript, amongst the typical firehose of buzzwords, Stan Pavlovsky talked about new features that will roll out first to existing subscribers to help them predict which images will work in their campaigns (AI got a mention here). The notion is that as cookies and other tracking devices are doing away, marketers will need ways to know what will succeed and Stan says SS AI can help them do that (based on what exactly, he didn't say). The new product is a cheaper subscription to their Catalog, Plan, Create & Predict apps that includes free content - in other words all the revenue will go directly to them and none to contributors (he didn't point that out; those are my words). There will be an "upsell" to premium content:

"In addition, we plan to introduce later this year a creative flow subscription, which will include the Catalog, Plan, Create and Predict apps and will also incorporate our AI-powered search. This new product will target the casual creative segment and will include a free tier of Shutterstock content with an upsell path to Shutterstocks premium content subscriptions. We believe that this standalone creative flow subscription product, which will be available at lower monthly price point, represents an extension to new audiences who previously may not have had a need for stock content."

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4503661-shutterstock-inc-sstk-ceo-stan-pavlovsky-on-q1-2022-results-earnings-call-transcript

Some interesting comments from the earnings call: subscription revenue as a percent of total revenue in Q1 43%, which was an all-time high - I assume because the on-demand credit packs and SOD are decreasing given the new FLEX offerings. There'll be a new unlimited music subscription with sound effects in Q2. In the Q1 2022 numbers (for subscribers and subscriber revenue) Turbo Squid is included for the first time (PicMonkey still is not; they apparently wait until they're one year on from the acquisition) so any gains aren't entirely a fair comparison as it's only in the 3 months ending March 31.

Stan was asked a question about how the apps had performed in keeping subscribers coming back. I can't explain his answer, but here it is:

"As far as retention goes, which is sort of whats most important about these applications, were seeing about 20% for the applications that weve launched, were seeing about a 20% engagement with the applications already. For new customers that are coming and engaging with the apps, they have about twice the engagement of customers who dont engage with the apps."

Contributors can't pay the bills with engagement but with royalties - those come from paid downloads. I think there was a genuine question in there from the analyst - are you seeing more subscribers continue their subscriptions if they use the apps - but he let Stan off the hook.

There will be a FLEX10 product (to follow the FLEX25) but that's being tested this quarter; no release date

https://investor.shutterstock.com/news-releases/news-release-details/shutterstock-reports-first-quarter-2022-financial-results
https://content.shutterstock.com/investor-report/index.html
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmcclelland/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/skipawilson/
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 18:53 by Jo Ann Snover »


« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2022, 18:25 »
0
Thanks for this Jo Ann, interesting read.

« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2022, 18:30 »
0
thanks, once more, for a detailed breakdown

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2022, 21:22 »
0
Thanks for the report and analysis. Oh someone loves me? "This new product will target the casual creative segment"

wds

« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2022, 22:00 »
+2
From where I sit, I see income and dl's slowly declining at SS relative to AS and iS.

MxR

« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2022, 02:59 »
+1

If they convert everything to subscription, the expectations of amortizing a session will disappear. I sell more and earn less

« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2022, 05:14 »
+3
It is not strange the stock is falling. Some metrics are not good for SS. And that's Q1 when they pay the least to contributors:

The operating margin was 16%, and operating income for the quarter fell 16.3% to $31.9 million.

Operating cash flow for the quarter declined 37% to $22.7 million with a free cash flow of $10.2 million, a 62% decrease.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased 3% Y/Y to $54.8 million.


« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2022, 05:48 »
0

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2022, 05:56 »
+2

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

I don't recall seeing anything about lump sum payments where was that announced?

wds

« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2022, 07:48 »
0
Thanks for the report Jo Ann!
Does anybody in the financial industry do competitive analyses of the various stock agencies?

« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2022, 09:08 »
0

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

I don't recall seeing anything about lump sum payments where was that announced?

There were a few threads on different forums where it was mentioned, but those approached didn't say much, as they had to agree to a Non-Disclosure agreement to get more information.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2022, 10:06 »
0

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

I don't recall seeing anything about lump sum payments where was that announced?

There were a few threads on different forums where it was mentioned, but those approached didn't say much, as they had to agree to a Non-Disclosure agreement to get more information.

Which is true but how does that become "Shutterstock bought out a lot of content" vs Shutterstock bought out some content from some contributors? Even with NDAs superficial or generalized information can be leaked.

Good point if they own content, we don't know how much?


If they convert everything to subscription, the expectations of amortizing a session will disappear. I sell more and earn less

Absolutely true. If I take a weekend for shooting, on the road, the returns, even if I include Alamy, will not cover the expenses. I also shoot on the way and returning from events, that can go to AS and IS. The money isn't there anymore, anywhere.

Aside from we make less, they are going to depend on volume and subscriptions, API partners, more and more, for their income. While individual licenses from SS itself will be meaning less. We already see that. Look at the numbers. All those 10 subs represent the largest image pack subs and the API partners. How much do we see anymore of the 10 packs or 50s? Very Very little in my case.

They are moving their model towards volume outlets and that means we are discounted to the bone and we make less.

« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2022, 10:21 »
+1
Shutterstock Unlimited is an API deal with about 100 million images and 4 million videos included in the program

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/5-reasons-to-go-unlimited-with-shutterstock-api
https://www.shutterstock.com/business/shutterstock-unlimited

In trying to find old posts here from when this was started, I found one of my own where I had linked to the SS forums where Kate had answered contributor questions about how things worked. As that link no longer goes anywhere useful (:)) I searched a folder where I keep screenshots & text files of things that might go away and found the text of Kate's post from 21 Feb 2021:

"Hi folks!

We knew you'd have questions, and had planned to share this with you before the announcement. Thanks for your patience.

K

What is Shutterstock Unlimited?

Shutterstock Unlimited is a new subscription plan offered by the Platform Solutions team. It represents the next evolution of our API strategy, which expands the reach of Shutterstock content to users who are not currently Shutterstock customers and offers new revenue streams for contributors.

 
What does Unlimited mean? How Unlimited is this content, really?

Unlimited applies only to the total number of asset licenses, but the content and license terms are both significantly limited. The content comprises a collection of carefully selected, underutilized images and videos. Content can only be used within partner platforms, and cannot be downloaded for other use. The Unlimited model is currently only available on digital platforms and does not apply to print and merchandise partners (e.g., Zazzle, Art.com, etc.).

 
Why are we offering this plan?

We are launching this plan in response to market and partner demand. The API partner model is fundamentally different from our other enterprise partnerships. It does not replace, compete with, or cannibalize sales of content through other channels, including our main eCommerce site.

This offering is aligned with best-practice subscription models that provide unlimited access to a content library (think Netflix and Spotify). It helps platform partners better predict and manage their content needs, and it enables Shutterstock to grow our platform partnerships with companies like Wix, Wave, and Lumen5 and continue to offer new, more stable revenue streams for contributors.

 
How is the content in the Unlimited plan selected? 

The images and videos are curated from a collection of quality content that has historically underperformed in both revenue generation and contributor payouts. All of the content is at least 2 years old and has never been previously licensed. The Unlimited plan expands distribution of this underutilized content.

 
What is the value for contributors?

Through Platform Solutions connections to over 7500 platform partners, this new plan further extends our reach to new customers that do not currently work with Shutterstock.

For many of our contributors, Shutterstock Unlimited will provide a new revenue stream for underperforming content, as well as more stability in payout volume over time. All of the content in the Unlimited collection will continue to be available for purchase on the main Shutterstock.com eCommerce site.

 
How many assets are included in the Unlimited Plan?
100M images and 4M videos are currently included in the Unlimited plan, and music tracks will be added later in 2021.

 
How much do I get paid?

The pricing has not changed from our existing API payout model, which is similar to the payout model on eCommerce subscription plans. Contributors receive a percentage of the licensing price paid by platform partners and end users.

 
How is my content used?

Content in the Unlimited Model can only be used within specific platform partnerships, and cannot be downloaded or used off platform. This is a very limited license, granted to one user on one platform for platform use only.

 
Can I opt out?

No, participation in our partnership deals is part of the Shutterstock Contributor agreement (TOS). However, Shutterstock Unlimited does not currently apply to contributors at our highest earnings levels.

 
Wilm Ihlenfeld

Posted Friday at 12:40 PM
 
Hello Kate,

is there a guarantee that "Unlimited" will remain limited to the content of our portfolios that are at least 2 years old and have never been licensed? Or should we expect Shutterstock to include other files in the "Unlimited" model if the business model is successful from Shutterstock's point of view?

How are the highest earning levels (those not involved in "Unlimited") defined? Which levels are not affected?

If the pricing will not change from the previous API payout model, does that mean specifically that contributors can expect to earn $0.10?

I - and probably countless other contributors - would be grateful for an honest answer.

Yours sincerely,

Wilm


Posted Friday at 01:49 PM
Hi Wilm,

Thanks for your thoughtful questions.

While I cant offer a guarantee about what content might be eligible for which products in the future, I can say that we are committed to maintaining the value of your content in the marketplace. It doesnt make sense to make every asset available at the lowest prices - when some content can and should command more.

For our initial launch, images from contributors who reached Level 6 for images in 2020 were not included. Im not sure how often the set of available images will be updated or when or why that rule might change. I do know that we are in a real learning mindset here, and that, depending on how customers interact with this content, we may want to change up how items get selected for inclusion.

Theres been no change to the 10 cent minimum earning threshold.

Have a great weekend.

K

« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2022, 17:35 »
0
Is this why I've had some old photo DLs on SSTK recently that are at least 2 years old & not sold before? One DL was for a very decent amount.

« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2022, 02:59 »
0

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

I don't recall seeing anything about lump sum payments where was that announced?

There were a few threads on different forums where it was mentioned, but those approached didn't say much, as they had to agree to a Non-Disclosure agreement to get more information.

Which is true but how does that become "Shutterstock bought out a lot of content" vs Shutterstock bought out some content from some contributors? Even with NDAs superficial or generalized information can be leaked.

Good point if they own content, we don't know how much?



You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2022, 09:38 »
0

Still going after Canva's business, but Canva has a completely free tier which I don't think SS has. Stan talks about SS being able to broaden its presence beyond the content selection phase of projects.



But Shutterstock bought out a lot of content from contributors last year, with lump sum payments up front, but no further right to any royalties going forward. Presumably, this was why.

I don't recall seeing anything about lump sum payments where was that announced?

There were a few threads on different forums where it was mentioned, but those approached didn't say much, as they had to agree to a Non-Disclosure agreement to get more information.

Which is true but how does that become "Shutterstock bought out a lot of content" vs Shutterstock bought out some content from some contributors? Even with NDAs superficial or generalized information can be leaked.

Good point if they own content, we don't know how much?



You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Me too? But I don't think I've been wrong about anything or made a mistake, in over an hour.

They also started in house production of images and a news team with exclusive credentials for Red Carpet affairs. They did contract with entire collections for exclusive future rights. There's much more going on than us.

Wondering when Getty's SPAC will proceed with sale of stock to the public. But I also wonder if they care much about IS other than treating it as side income for little work or expense? If they do, then that will challenge SS for some of the market share, more than IS has in recent years.

I think the way to check, would be find the SS in house collection and see who got bought out? Maybe? Kind of difficult.

« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2022, 12:04 »
0
This topic probably is about one of their own collections with bought out content.
https://www.microstockgroup.com/shutterstock-com/stolen-pictures-on-shutterstock/
There was at least one other collection with similar name ESB "something"...


Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2022, 13:46 »
0
This topic probably is about one of their own collections with bought out content.
https://www.microstockgroup.com/shutterstock-com/stolen-pictures-on-shutterstock/
There was at least one other collection with similar name ESB "something"...

Thanks for the reminder.  https://www.shutterstock.com/g/ESB+Professional

26,509 stock photos, vectors, and illustrations looks like a House account with selective images from some people.

« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2022, 01:50 »
0
Do we know for sure they actually buy/ own content? I've never known anyone who had content purchased from them.

« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2022, 02:40 »
0

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2022, 02:44 »
+1

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2022, 03:12 by Firn »

« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2022, 03:26 »
0

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.

Did you notice that you were among the top performers in photos on Adobe Stock for the week of April 11-17?

« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2022, 03:37 »
+1

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.

Did you notice that you were among the top performers in photos on Adobe Stock for the week of April 11-17?

Noooo!  :o But that explains why my sales temporary skyrocketed on Adobe. Was reallly surprised about that. Thanks for letting me know. I wonder how that happened.

« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2022, 03:49 »
0

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.

Did you notice that you were among the top performers in photos on Adobe Stock for the week of April 11-17?

Noooo!  :o But that explains why my sales temporary skyrocketed on Adobe. Was reallly surprised about that. Thanks for letting me know. I wonder how that happened.

This must be related to your easter motifs, Firn. Maybe there is a change in the algo for easter, where images containing the search term easter are pushed for a certain period before easter.

« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2022, 04:00 »
0

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.

Did you notice that you were among the top performers in photos on Adobe Stock for the week of April 11-17?

Noooo!  :o But that explains why my sales temporary skyrocketed on Adobe. Was reallly surprised about that. Thanks for letting me know. I wonder how that happened.

This must be related to your easter motifs, Firn. Maybe there is a change in the algo for easter, where images containing the search term easter are pushed for a certain period before easter.

Could be. I sold a loooot of Easter photos on Adobe this year, even though usually my holiday photos don't do so well on Adobe, while they sell a lot on iStock and SS. I was really surprised about this as it was so unusual for Adobe - Or unusual that Adobe was doing better for me at all. Sadly now it's back to it's old mediocre performance.  :'(

« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2022, 04:38 »
0

You are right that we don't know how much, but we do know from other posts that Shutterstock were actively buying out content. I have a couple of friends who were approached within my circle of contributor friends, and saw 3 or 4 posts on this forum and another. All I can do is extrapolate from that and make an educated guess that it wasn't an insignificant amount. I could, of course be totally wrong.

Sorry, posted before I read this.

It was discussed in some thread here before, with contributors saying they got the offer (or at least a non-disclosure agreement. If you didn't sign that, you didn't get any further information), so I don't think it was that rare.

Did you notice that you were among the top performers in photos on Adobe Stock for the week of April 11-17?

Noooo!  :o But that explains why my sales temporary skyrocketed on Adobe. Was reallly surprised about that. Thanks for letting me know. I wonder how that happened.

This must be related to your easter motifs, Firn. Maybe there is a change in the algo for easter, where images containing the search term easter are pushed for a certain period before easter.

Could be. I sold a loooot of Easter photos on Adobe this year, even though usually my holiday photos don't do so well on Adobe, while they sell a lot on iStock and SS. I was really surprised about this as it was so unusual for Adobe - Or unusual that Adobe was doing better for me at all. Sadly now it's back to it's old mediocre performance.  :'(

I had exactly 8 downloads of easter images (I have only a handful) at AS in the period from April 1 to 14. That was probably not enough for the Hall of Fame...  :D

« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2022, 04:45 »
0
I had exactly 8 downloads of easter images (I have only a handful) at AS in the period from April 1 to 14. That was probably not enough for the Hall of Fame...  :D

Ouch!  :'( But then again holidays isn't really the focus of your portfolio.


« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2022, 05:19 »
0
I had exactly 8 downloads of easter images (I have only a handful) at AS in the period from April 1 to 14. That was probably not enough for the Hall of Fame...  :D

Ouch!  :'( But then again holidays isn't really the focus of your portfolio.

No, you are right!  :)

« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2022, 18:16 »
+7
Shutterstock's stock price dropped sharply today (Tuesday May 3): closed at $68.82, down $8.32 (-10.79%). Market was very slightly up.

Apparently Stan Pavlovsky has resigned as CEO. The statement is careful to note that it was a voluntary resignation and reaffirms their financial guidance for the rest of 2022:

"Mr. Pavlovsky resigned to pursue other business opportunities, and his resignation is not related to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the registrants operations, policies or practices."

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/shutterstock-shares-slide-as-ceo-stan-pavlovsky-exits-sstk-271651588416

https://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Shutterstock+%28SSTK%29+CEO+Resigns%2C+Company+Reaffirms+Guidance/20005249.html

https://investor.shutterstock.com/static-files/deabc8b0-90a7-4d66-ad65-254aead3a462


I guess Stan's mornings will look a little different now from April 12th...

https://www.businessinsider.com/ceo-shutterstock-what-morning-work-routine-hybrid-schedule-2022-4

May 4th. No idea who this person is, but here's a post about Shutterstock's current situation:

https://www.boardroomalpha.com/ba-daily-read-can-shutterstock-save-itself/

Shares were down further today, but closed up slightly at $69.93
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 16:04 by Jo Ann Snover »

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2022, 18:37 »
+3
If he really resigned, it is not surprising.  Only hope is that whoever comes next will realize that however difficult are the conditions, the road to recovery is to treat the very backbone whole business depends on - contributors - with more respect.

« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2022, 19:28 »
+12
I guess his damage is done - on to destroy something else.

« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2022, 21:17 »
+12
What will happen next is they will hire a new swamp creature who comes up with a mind blowing, brilliant idea. Cutting royalties in half.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 21:19 by Mantis »

« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2022, 22:48 »
+8
Quote
Apparently Stan Pavlovsky has resigned as CEO. The statement is careful to note that it was a voluntary resignation...

If I had done as much damage to the Shutterstock brand by pissing off contributors and having to defend the company from copyright infringement lawsuits, I'd quit, too.  I wonder if it was his brilliant idea to shaft contributors there and drive a lot of professional content creators into the arms of Adobe. 

« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2022, 23:10 »
0
I guess Stan's mornings will look a little different now from April 12th...

https://www.businessinsider.com/ceo-shutterstock-what-morning-work-routine-hybrid-schedule-2022-4

Interesting there are no indications about anything in the article ...

« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2022, 23:51 »
+4
My guess - and it is a guess - is that he is taking the money and making a run for it. SS stock has done very well over the past two years and Pavlovsky is worth somewhere north of $10 million as a result.

He may feel that he has taken SS as far as he can, that the results and the stock prices aren't going to get better. So preferable to leave on a high and with a serious chunk of money while leaving the challenge of running the business to someone else.

I would not be surprised to see him resurface somewhere else and maybe to do something similar. Take a business with a stagnant stock price, wield the axe on costs, get the price up, make more money and move on again.

Stock is a commodity business. Volume and margin are the name of the game and the only way to drive volume is through being price competitive and the only way to drive margins is by cutting costs. Unfortunately, contributors represent the biggest cost and Pavlovsky's successor will probably want to look at that.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2022, 23:54 by Jaggy »

« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2022, 00:41 »
+2
Edited May 3 to note that Stan Pavlovsky resigned as CEO April 27th, effective May 3rd. Jon Oringer is interim CEO until they find someone.

THANK YOU Jo Ann you really cheered me up this morning!  :-*

« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2022, 00:48 »
0
Maybe the writings on the wall so he wants to sell his shares, which would tank the price and get him in trouble if he was still in charge?


zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2022, 01:28 »
0
This might actually be low point for Shutterstock, and it will get better from now on. With capable person that understands kind of damage that has been done by one incompetent person, things can be reversed.  Rebuilding trust with contributor base should be priority, including eliminating 10 cent abomination, fair QA, restoration of Forum etc. Fingers crossed
 

Me


« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2022, 03:13 »
+7
There is absolutely no way that any incoming CEO will reverse the commission cuts, they would have no way to replace the lost profit without increasing sales prices in correlation to the increased commission payments - which just isn't going to happen!
Best case scenario is that they remove the January reset each year but even that would be very unlikely as that generates the majority of the profit from the exercise.

« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2022, 11:12 »
0
Imagine you are CEO of SS starting tomorrow. How would you improve it?

wds

« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2022, 11:32 »
0
From where I sit, SS is slipping down relative to AS and iS ($$wise and downloadwise), so a change in management sounds like a good idea.

« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2022, 11:39 »
+8
The downfall is coming even faster than I anticipated here 2 years ago. The two pals we all know are going home with a sack full of dosh, laughing all the way to the bank. Oringer has been selling stock like crazy every weeks for the last 2 years so he and his 10 generation descendants will live a comfortable life. SS will not recover from the stab they did at the peak of the pandemic.

Many of the best contributors are now somewhere else (Adobe, Getty, Stocksy) and that leaves SS with no new interesting content. That is a kiss of death for every creative enterprise, whatever the name or power they had in the past.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2022, 13:09 »
+1
Imagine you are CEO of SS starting tomorrow. How would you improve it?
For whom?
Buyers?
Sellers?
Shareholders?
All of the above is presumably the answer, but ...   ::) ::) ::)

« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2022, 13:24 »
+3

Quote
kiss of death

lets hope this ...

nobody can produce content for 0,1 flatrate - not even in cheapest places

« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2022, 14:11 »
+6

Quote
kiss of death

lets hope this ...

nobody can produce content for 0,1 flatrate - not even in cheapest places

Well it looks as if Jon Oringer is stepping back in as CEO in the interim period, and I'm sure most of us haven't forgotten (or forgiven) his petulant outburst about what we could do if we didn't like the commission cut.

I don't hold out much hope for any improvements for contributors.

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2022, 17:41 »
+5

I don't hold out much hope for any improvements for contributors.

Most people will agree with this.  But I really think rebuilding contributor relationships is the only way forward.   Stock agencies are parasites by nature;  clearing houses, middle-man between producer and consumer.  You can have best marketing, subscription plans, etc.  but if fresh quality content stops coming -or is getting uploaded to competition instead- this is doomsday.   

What they did with 10 cents, AI QA nonsense, Forum etc.  should be studied at college business classes how NOT to do things.  If incoming management can understand and fix this, SS will be great again.

« Reply #46 on: May 04, 2022, 18:32 »
+1

I don't hold out much hope for any improvements for contributors.

Most people will agree with this.  But I really think rebuilding contributor relationships is the only way forward.   Stock agencies are parasites by nature;  clearing houses, middle-man between producer and consumer.  You can have best marketing, subscription plans, etc.  but if fresh quality content stops coming -or is getting uploaded to competition instead- this is doomsday.   

What they did with 10 cents, AI QA nonsense, Forum etc.  should be studied at college business classes how NOT to do things.  If incoming management can understand and fix this, SS will be great again.

Parasites?

Well... that's a very marxist point of view, a point of view that fails to understand the essential role of "the middleman" in a prosperous economy.

"The middleman" is not a "parasite", but a critical component of the market, a component allowing the expertise to flourish, instead of being wasted with collateral activities.
The farmer can focus on farming, and the photographer on photography, while the middleman is bridging the gap between expertise and customers.

Obviously, there are always middlemen trying to push their luck, but the market has a natural tendency to reward those middlemen who understand where the equilibrium point is.



« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2022, 18:58 »
+7
Imagine you are CEO of SS starting tomorrow. How would you improve it?

Since their job is to increase shareholder value, whatever they do won't be good for contributors. If anyone thinks a new superhero CEO will swoop in and save contributor bacon, welcome to fantasy land.

« Reply #48 on: May 04, 2022, 19:57 »
+1
The only way SS would increase commissions is if its in their business interest to do so. Very few folks left when they cut commissions. As far as theyre concerned, lower commissions doesnt hurt their business.

wds

« Reply #49 on: May 04, 2022, 21:21 »
+1
The only way SS would increase commissions is if its in their business interest to do so. Very few folks left when they cut commissions. As far as theyre concerned, lower commissions doesnt hurt their business.

Agreed. I would like to see them do something to stop their download numbers from slipping....and maybe get them to increase??

« Reply #50 on: May 04, 2022, 21:55 »
+2
Wow.  Thanks for sharing this and your thoughts.
I am glad I have started to spend time more on my art photography.

« Reply #51 on: May 05, 2022, 00:41 »
+7
The only way SS would increase commissions is if its in their business interest to do so. Very few folks left when they cut commissions. As far as theyre concerned, lower commissions doesnt hurt their business.

Agreed. I would like to see them do something to stop their download numbers from slipping....and maybe get them to increase??

The only way they are going to get DL numbers to go up is to charge less - and pay you less and no - you won't make up the difference in volume. If they can't treat artists right I hope they crash and burn.

« Reply #52 on: May 05, 2022, 02:44 »
+9
The only way SS would increase commissions is if its in their business interest to do so. Very few folks left when they cut commissions. As far as theyre concerned, lower commissions doesnt hurt their business.

Agreed. I would like to see them do something to stop their download numbers from slipping....and maybe get them to increase??

The only way they are going to get DL numbers to go up is to charge less - and pay you less and no - you won't make up the difference in volume. If they can't treat artists right I hope they crash and burn.

There is another way, but it would involve staffing a department to clean up the database of all the dross they've approved in the last few years, sort out the search so that it doesn't return rubbish as being the best they have to offer, bring back the 7 out of 10 test and clamp down on stolen content.

If they housekeep, it would improve downloads for contributors with good, solid portfolios. At the moment we are losing to thieves, newbies who get their 3 slightly out of focus back yard shots pushed high in the search, just because they are new, and a system that loses images left and right, meaning when they finally get published they are buried on page 57.

It's short term cost for long term gain but, as the last few years have shown, Shutterstock  CEOs prefer to go with short term gain, and to hell with the future.

Whoever takes over, let's hope he/she has a mind to build some bridges with the suppliers.

Edit: I don't think that there's any chance that the commissions will be raised again and, despite the hollow promise that, on balance, we would earn as much as before, a good way to rebuild a relationship with contributors would be to calculate levels based on the previous year's downloads or on a rolling 12 month period. I don't hold out much hope, but there might be an olive branch in there somewhere.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2022, 03:27 by KuriousKat »

« Reply #53 on: May 05, 2022, 03:47 »
+1
Just wonder who'd be brave enough to become the new captain of this sinking ship.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #54 on: May 05, 2022, 07:11 »
+1
Wow.  Thanks for sharing this and your thoughts.
I am glad I have started to spend time more on my art photography.

Be aware that these stock sites also have their tentacles into art. I'm in the process of setting up a Shopify website and have stumbled on POD apps that have integrations into stock sites to use images. You can create a print, tshirt or whatever using images from Shutterstock, Getty and other sites. Not sure if there's any extra cost or what contributors are getting paid for this, but regardless our micro work is being used to create products and possibly being used to resell them.

« Reply #55 on: May 05, 2022, 12:19 »
0
staffing a department to clean up the database of all the dross they've approved in the last few years, sort out the search so that it doesn't return rubbish

The faster approach would be start fresh.

« Reply #56 on: May 05, 2022, 12:55 »
0
They aren't going to change the legacy stock business other than tweaks to the contributor commission and the pricing. When they changed the commission structure a couple of years ago, despite noise from some contributors, nothing changed. The database continued to grow and SS continued selling stock. So don't expect anything good but don't be surprised if commissions change for the worse.

For a new CEO, diversification will be the name of the game. They need to get into emerging technologies and trends and they need to find high margin business.


wds

« Reply #57 on: May 05, 2022, 13:07 »
+1
They need to do something to get their lagging downloads up....either that or totally implode and go away.

« Reply #58 on: May 05, 2022, 14:40 »
+2


"The middleman" is not a "parasite", but a critical component of the market, a component allowing the expertise to flourish, instead of being wasted with collateral activities.
The farmer can focus on farming, and the photographer on photography, while the middleman is bridging the gap between expertise and customers.

Obviously, there are always middlemen trying to push their luck, but the market has a natural tendency to reward those middlemen who understand where the equilibrium point is.

Well agree or disagree, the role of the middleman has changed in recent years. Middlemen used to be tour operators, travel agents, taxi companies, banks, auction houses. Some still exist. I lived on as a golf tour operator because of unique local knowledge and connections but a stock provider telling me which picture I should use? I dont think so.

I have been selling on Etsy lately, not photographs, just clearing a house. Users have called a strike because selling fees have gone up to 6.5%. I compare it to auction houses (typically 29% plus moving and photography fees (harrumph)  and think it a bargain. I compare it to stock sites and my eyes pop out. What is it the stock sites do with a large-scale search that entitles them to so much of contributor earnings?

« Reply #59 on: May 06, 2022, 19:43 »
+5
Shutterstock shares were worth $120 six months ago. So its a 50% loss in half a year.  It is likely that many contributors when they were degraded to level one at the start of the year stopped adding to their portfolios. I suspect the quality of fresh images is not what it used to be as a result. How long can a CEO remain under such circumstances?  Lets hope this move will result in a better scheme for contributors. I am glad SS will be under new management.

« Reply #60 on: May 06, 2022, 20:05 »
+5
Kinda like looking for a new captain of the Titanic after its hit the iceberg and the incumbent captain bails outta ship on the most luxurious of lifeboats.   

OM

« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2022, 03:34 »
+3
Presumably Stan and senior management team +Jon are smart and all made out like bandits. Lots of insider selling in the past year and no insider buying. When Stan arrived in April 2020, SSTK was $32 (after years of 'meandering' between $50 and $30) and a year later it was at $90 another 6 months on and it was at $120. Stan did exactly what Jon wanted him to do...get the stock price up and fast. With all the stock options packages a CEO can get rich pretty quickly with a 3 or 4-fold increase in stock price. Time to move on to pastures greener (for him).


« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2022, 05:00 »
+9
Stan should get an honorary compensation from Adobe for making them stronger and picking up all the customers and artists Shutterstock no longer wanted.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 02:00 by cobalt »

« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2022, 13:56 »
0

« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2022, 14:27 »
+1
I don't know what this means but I just read this today. Oringer's coming back?

https://simplywall.st/stocks/us/retail/nyse-sstk/shutterstock/news/trade-alert-the-founder-of-shutterstock-inc-nysesstk-jonatha

Well his tweets against contributers won't be win.

« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2022, 20:48 »
+2
I don't know what this means but I just read this today. Oringer's coming back?

https://simplywall.st/stocks/us/retail/nyse-sstk/shutterstock/news/trade-alert-the-founder-of-shutterstock-inc-nysesstk-jonatha

It seems as if he bought back what he sold on May 4th & 5th - about the same $3.1m.

https://investor.shutterstock.com/static-files/5ec66022-df65-41b4-aafd-780bb6215243

I don't see an SEC filing for the purchase, but there should be one next week. The insider information on Yahoo Finance only goes to May 7th and doesn't the transactions in the above SEC filing from last week.

https://finance.yahoo.com/screener/insider/ORINGER%20JONATHAN

https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/stocks/sstk/sec-filings

Possibly he's trying to build investor confidence - that Boardroom Alpha article I linked to a few posts back was making much of the fact that insiders were selling and not buying?

« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 10:49 by Jo Ann Snover »

« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2022, 22:44 »
+4
When Stan arrived in April 2020, SSTK was $32 (after years of 'meandering' between $50 and $30) and a year later it was at $90 another 6 months on and it was at $120. Stan did exactly what Jon wanted him to do...get the stock price up and fast
I'm not sure how much you could contribute the raise of the stock to Stan. Almost every technology company went up during those crazy lockdown times.


« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2022, 12:48 »
0


"The middleman" is not a "parasite", but a critical component of the market, a component allowing the expertise to flourish, instead of being wasted with collateral activities.
The farmer can focus on farming, and the photographer on photography, while the middleman is bridging the gap between expertise and customers.

Obviously, there are always middlemen trying to push their luck, but the market has a natural tendency to reward those middlemen who understand where the equilibrium point is.

Well agree or disagree, the role of the middleman has changed in recent years. Middlemen used to be tour operators, travel agents, taxi companies, banks, auction houses. Some still exist. I lived on as a golf tour operator because of unique local knowledge and connections but a stock provider telling me which picture I should use? I dont think so.


Sure, when middlemen use to be only what you described, photographers were only shooting on film.

Agree or disagree, both the middleman's and the photographer's job descriptions have evolved in the digital world.  ;)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2022, 19:25 by Zero Talent »

zeljkok

  • Non Linear Existence
« Reply #68 on: May 09, 2022, 19:25 »
+1
Stan should get an honorary compensation from Adobe for making them stronger and picking up all the customers and artists Shutterstock no longer wanted.

Great comment!

It would be really interesting to know some numbers behind.  I have only my own example;  since I stopped uploading to Shutterstock, several fresh images -that would normally be uploaded to SS as well- sold on Adobe, few on Alamy too.  So this is direct loss.  Now single contributor is just a drop in the ocean, but with enough drops ...

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #69 on: May 09, 2022, 20:19 »
+2
Imagine you are CEO of SS starting tomorrow. How would you improve it?

Since their job is to increase shareholder value, whatever they do won't be good for contributors. If anyone thinks a new superhero CEO will swoop in and save contributor bacon, welcome to fantasy land.

I think that's a major point and where anyone who thinks they care about us has missed the situation. "Over the past six months SSTK shares declined 45% while insiders sold $74.5M worth of stock. With the company clearly at a crossroads, we think insider trading activities reflect poorly and would like to see evidence of some alignment here. "

What the people on top want is more investor confidence, a higher share price and more profit for Jon and the board and officers who get paid in stock shares and bonuses. Now that the stock is down 45%, SSTK can buy back stock, bump it up again, and make more money.

None of that includes artists or increasing our income. We are an expense!

Stan should get an honorary compensation from Adobe for making them stronger and picking up all the customers and artists Shutterstock no longer wanted.


True and Adobe should publicly thank him.  ;)

Presumably Stan and senior management team +Jon are smart and all made out like bandits. Lots of insider selling in the past year and no insider buying. When Stan arrived in April 2020, SSTK was $32 (after years of 'meandering' between $50 and $30) and a year later it was at $90 another 6 months on and it was at $120. Stan did exactly what Jon wanted him to do...get the stock price up and fast. With all the stock options packages a CEO can get rich pretty quickly with a 3 or 4-fold increase in stock price. Time to move on to pastures greener (for him).



I think that's a good conclusion. Pretty rich might be understated... filthy rich?

When is the Getty SPAC going to start selling the stock? Will this make it happen?

« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2022, 08:08 »
+4
thx for the analysis.

a) I think photograhers/videopgraphers need to figure out how to market their own works. obviously these "good news" announcements for the sites are almost always just for the execs, not the contributers.

OM

« Reply #71 on: May 17, 2022, 07:26 »
0
Imagine you are CEO of SS starting tomorrow. How would you improve it?

Since their job is to increase shareholder value, whatever they do won't be good for contributors. If anyone thinks a new superhero CEO will swoop in and save contributor bacon, welcome to fantasy land.

I think that's a major point and where anyone who thinks they care about us has missed the situation. "Over the past six months SSTK shares declined 45% while insiders sold $74.5M worth of stock. With the company clearly at a crossroads, we think insider trading activities reflect poorly and would like to see evidence of some alignment here. "

What the people on top want is more investor confidence, a higher share price and more profit for Jon and the board and officers who get paid in stock shares and bonuses. Now that the stock is down 45%, SSTK can buy back stock, bump it up again, and make more money.

None of that includes artists or increasing our income. We are an expense!

Stan should get an honorary compensation from Adobe for making them stronger and picking up all the customers and artists Shutterstock no longer wanted.


True and Adobe should publicly thank him.  ;)

Presumably Stan and senior management team +Jon are smart and all made out like bandits. Lots of insider selling in the past year and no insider buying. When Stan arrived in April 2020, SSTK was $32 (after years of 'meandering' between $50 and $30) and a year later it was at $90 another 6 months on and it was at $120. Stan did exactly what Jon wanted him to do...get the stock price up and fast. With all the stock options packages a CEO can get rich pretty quickly with a 3 or 4-fold increase in stock price. Time to move on to pastures greener (for him).



I think that's a good conclusion. Pretty rich might be understated... filthy rich?

When is the Getty SPAC going to start selling the stock? Will this make it happen?

Filthy rich? = Seriously effluent!  ;D

« Reply #72 on: May 17, 2022, 07:58 »
+3

When is the Getty SPAC going to start selling the stock? Will this make it happen?

The good question is why a stock photo agency should be on the stock market? The reason for a presence on the stock market is raising money for investments. A stock photo agency does not own a lot of equipment. or property. We are the ones who own the equipment. A stock agency's servers are likely rented as well as the property/office. These are all running costs just like staff salaries. None of these are investments that are likely to pay back some day. Marketing is also ongoing costs, that should pay back if the marketing is succesful. So Shutterstock needed a lot of capital, and joined the stock market, but for what? Was there a big hole in the budget? Did they invest a lot of money in AI review systems, and the costs went out of control?
Being on the stock market is a cost, and some small and mid cap companies withdraw when their investments have paid back, maybe they maintain a smaller stock portflio for the actual owners, that may be a tax benefit.

« Reply #73 on: May 18, 2022, 02:21 »
+4
Adobe Creative Cloud ad on Shutterstock site. Nice.

« Reply #74 on: May 18, 2022, 02:53 »
0
Adobe Creative Cloud ad on Shutterstock site. Nice.

Incredible! I have never seen BMW ads on the website of Mercedes Benz.

« Reply #75 on: May 18, 2022, 16:55 »
+11
The way SS is going, I might have a worse month than my first month in 2013!

« Reply #76 on: Today at 04:14 »
+3
Yes, I see the erosion of sales at SS as a relentless and unstoppable force.  Shareholder returns and buybacks will mean less for the artists and more for financial engineering.  Whatever happened to the notion of keeping your suppliers happy?


 

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