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Author Topic: Shutterstock Q4/2021 full year financials  (Read 4738 times)

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« on: February 11, 2022, 00:30 »
+14
Shutterstock announced their end of year financials this morning and although there were some good numbers, for investors, the stock closed at $85.68, down $7.66. The market overall was only a little off, so the sentiment appeared to be that Shutterstock's growth wasn't what investors had hoped

https://investor.shutterstock.com/news-releases/news-release-details/shutterstock-reports-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2021-financial

Their investor "microsite" has been updated with some slides and videos (I watched a couple but there's no new information and they are so stilted and awkward, I don't recommend them)

https://content.shutterstock.com/investor-report/index.html

You can read the transcript of the earnings call at Seeking Alpha - again, lots of buzzy nonsense for the most part. A taste (from Stan Pavlovsky):

Quote
"As discussed last quarter, e-commerce organic growth was low-single digits in the quarter, and the slowdown partially reflected the lapping of new e-commerce subscription products launched in 2020. Further, as we increasingly transition to a subscription led model, we have seen softness within our transaction customer segment, which uses our products on an ad-hoc project by project basis."

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4485857-shutterstock-inc-s-sstk-ceo-stan-pavlovsky-on-q4-2021-results-earnings-call-transcript

The enterprise segment appears to be showing signs of life; more new products in the e-commerce section that should lead to "organic growth"; the FLEX subscriptions appear to be doing well. Metaverse, AI and computer vision got a mention and Shutterstock plans "deeply embedding ourselves in our customers' workflow". They bought back $27 million in stock during 2021 and plan to buy $100 million per year!

"All submitted content is reviewed by AI technology and human experts to ensure the highest quality, integrity and licensability" That is apparently a "Global Marketplace Network Effect". As I mentioned, buzzwords galore.

Their earnings per share for 2021 were $3.48 and their guidance for 2022 is $3.65 to $3.80. That made me wonder if more squeezing of contributor revenues might be coming, but then I thought about something Stan Pavlovsky said:

 "...we believe that our new creative power tools powered by PicMonkey will drive an increase in high-margin recurring subscription revenue, adding further stability and visibility into our revenue base"

In the investor site there's a chart of various markets they think they can play in - increasing their TAM (total addressable market) gets mentioned a lot. Of their existing business - stock images, music and video - imagery is the biggest at $4.2 billion with 5.2% growth (not sure if that's the market growing or Shutterstock's share of it - or just some random number). But "Creative Software Tools" is nearly twice the size at $8.2 billion, with 8% growthl

I think Shutterstock wants to grow subscription products that don't have any royalty costs associated with them: "Shutterstock's global creative platform, Creative Flow, includes the scale and embedded relationships with leading social media platforms enables our customers to generate high quality creative work, allowing us to capitalize on this emerging opportunity." That's a cut and paste - I can't explain exactly what they might have meant!

This is right underneath a bullet point: "Shareholder Returns Driven by Revenue Growth, Margin Expansion, Capital Return and M&A". Remember that margin expansion means primarily cutting royalty expense for the existing stock business. More on that in my chart, posted below.

There was more happy talk about using AI and data to sell services to customers and the value of all the data Shutterstock gathers from metadata on the content and searches customers do. Even assuming they can get some good software tools out of the three AI companies they acquired in 2021, the fact that huge amounts of their metadata is spammy rubbish will really hamper any efforts in that area (IMO).They have never really addressed keyword spam/stuffing/errors although they know it's there.

I found it interesting their their subscriber revenue in Q4 2021 was slightly lower than Q3 2021 - historically Q4 has always been the big quarter (there's a chart on the investor microsite). They say there was growth of 14% but that's over Q4 2020 (and 2020 followed a typical pattern, although everything was lower -pandemic and all).

The chart below is similar to one I posted earlier in 2021, but covers entire fiscal years from 2013 to 2021. It only include things that affect contributors - how many downloads, how much royalty expense, how many contributors, etc.

Bottom line is not a surprise - Shutterstock's business is growing revenue & profits, but the contributor's share of that is lower - 35.9% of revenue in 2021 was paid out in royalties. That's lower than in any other year from 2013 on. At the end, I tacked on another way to look at this. Contributors have grown from 55,000 in 2013 to over 2 million in 2021 (according to Shutterstock's financial reports). I know that lots of those contributors don't do much but when you look at the royalty payout on a per contributor basis, it highlights just how much thinner the reduced royalty payouts are being spread.

Tighten your belts :)

The PDF and JPG have the same data; I didn't realize the forum couldn't display the PDF

Edited Feb 15 to add a link to this investor news which talked about Shutterstock's competitive position strengthening and illustrated the article with an Unsplash photo! You can't make this stuff up...

https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/bernzott-capital-shutterstock-sstks-competitive-position-is-strengthening-1027404/
« Last Edit: February 15, 2022, 11:13 by Jo Ann Snover »


JamoImages

  • Stock Producer & Blogger: jamoimages.com
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2022, 01:19 »
+6
My earnings in Shutterstock keep going down while downloads are growing steadily. That supports the fact that SS's strategy to grow its subscription products is strong.

No sense for contributors to works so hard to get more sales but in the end, earn much less. How long can this trend continue until contributors pull the plug?

It is so frustrating to read these reports and see how SS's revenue per download keeps growing and then look at your own RPD which keeps going lower at the same pace.  :-[

« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2022, 02:10 »
+1
Great analysis, as always.

One comment to the numbers in your chart: You have the numbers Shutterstock reports as "cost of revenue" marked as royalties.
As I understand it, this number ("cost of revenue") contains the royalties paid out, but also other items. I have not found any information to separate those items.
That means, the real royalties will be (much?) lower.

MxR

« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2022, 02:32 »
+1
The shutter thing is demotivating, maybe my income has only dropped 20% and surely istock's royalties are worse but this situation is very demotivating. Psychologically I take less stock photos and spend much less money. I will continue doing stock photos because I like it but in the end I will get bored

« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2022, 11:48 »
+3
...One comment to the numbers in your chart: You have the numbers Shutterstock reports as "cost of revenue" marked as royalties.
As I understand it, this number ("cost of revenue") contains the royalties paid out, but also other items. I have not found any information to separate those items....

I don't have any data on the other items in cost of revenue, unfortunately. Those who do aren't publishing any more :( Remember the Contributor earnings report?

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/contributor-earnings-report

The last time (I can find) that Shutterstock crowed about contributor earnings was the blog post about paying out over $1 billion to contributors - in 2019

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/1-billion-contributor-earnings

My guess is that we won't see charts like that in the future as investors and insiders don't want to hear about their large "cost" (i.e. us) any more.

The numbers from the billion dollar earnings blog track similarly (but slightly lower). If I get any better numbers from anywhere at any point, I'll update the tables.

Prediction from my broken crystal ball: contributor share of earnings will continue to decline at Shutterstock :)

« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2022, 12:18 »
0
...One comment to the numbers in your chart: You have the numbers Shutterstock reports as "cost of revenue" marked as royalties.
As I understand it, this number ("cost of revenue") contains the royalties paid out, but also other items. I have not found any information to separate those items....

I don't have any data on the other items in cost of revenue, unfortunately. Those who do aren't publishing any more :( Remember the Contributor earnings report?

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/contributor-earnings-report

The last time (I can find) that Shutterstock crowed about contributor earnings was the blog post about paying out over $1 billion to contributors - in 2019

https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/1-billion-contributor-earnings

My guess is that we won't see charts like that in the future as investors and insiders don't want to hear about their large "cost" (i.e. us) any more.

The numbers from the billion dollar earnings blog track similarly (but slightly lower). If I get any better numbers from anywhere at any point, I'll update the tables.

Prediction from my broken crystal ball: contributor share of earnings will continue to decline at Shutterstock :)

Thank you for these interesting insights, Jo Ann.

Yes, I think your crystal ball is prophesying this correctly.

« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2022, 13:25 »
+1
Thanks for the info and analysis.

I think that last column pretty much sums things up. Sad what has happened. I guess the slower growth in new contributors might be the result in the lower amounts to contributors. It will be interesting to see if that number keeps dropping. I am guessing it won't ever go down unless SS is more honest about how they report contributors than I suspect they are.

« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2022, 14:00 »
0
thanks for the detailed analysis!

as you note, the avg/contributor includes many with tiny incomes, bringing the avg down - is it possible to track the median over time?  a decreasing median would help to highlight the effect of a massive increase of inactive-low volume contributors

« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2022, 14:04 »
+1
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2022, 15:26 »
+9
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"


« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2022, 16:37 »
+3
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

Lets all hope this wont happen!

csm

« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2022, 17:14 »
0
Well, all I notice at the moment since I removed all my stills is the drop in prices for video clips.

So many sales for 0.25 and hardly any of the what used to be regular priced sales of $25 and upwards, I left stills for video for the higher prices. Now video has gone the same way. This is not what I had planned although looking back inevitable. I worked so hard producing video clips the last couple of years, and of course it hasn't helped the last couple of years being what they were but it just goes to show you never know whats round the corner. All that effort and then they can decide to change the contract, the pricing or the algorithm and there's nothing you can do about it.

« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2022, 17:42 »
0
No doubt it can happen. The day stagnation or decrease in the stock price happens they will begin to cud down costs. Let's hope this is not around the corner.


Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2022, 17:54 »
0
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought).

leader in what? customers? library? downloads? sales?  in which of these is AS the leader?
Quote
......Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

get some perspective - SS wasn't hurt by disgruntled contributors.  instead, we get eternal whinging about the natural evolution of laissez faire capitalism, while ignoring the real badguys - fossil fuel, agribusiness, financial instruments that add nothing to the economy, etc, etc

« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2022, 18:09 »
+2
The only thing I care is leader in revenue for the contributors. And taking out specialized agencies like Stocksy,Arcangel, etc that usually bring top dollars to their contributors from the Micros Adobe has already overtaken SS and that difference is growing stronger everyday. If SS makes 1 trillion sales a day I could care less if nothing or nearly nothing ends in my pocket.

I understand that others are not worried, being in a ship that is going down faster as predicted. Their choice.


leader in what? customers? library? downloads? sales?  in which of these is AS the leader?
Quote
......Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

get some perspective - SS wasn't hurt by disgruntled contributors.  instead, we get eternal whinging about the natural evolution of laissez faire capitalism, while ignoring the real badguys - fossil fuel, agribusiness, financial instruments that add nothing to the economy, etc, etc

« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2022, 18:15 »
+6
instead, we get eternal whinging about the natural evolution of laissez faire capitalism, while ignoring the real badguys - fossil fuel, agribusiness, financial instruments that add nothing to the economy, etc, etc

I'm afraid that we are far from living in a laissez-faire capitalism.
We are living in a degenerate crony-capitalism, where through their lobbyist, corporations, unions, and other special interest groups are paying politicians for special privileges, dedicated laws, and tough regulations meant to kill their smaller competitors.

A return to something closer to a true laissez-faire capitalism may be the solution to your problems.  ;)
« Last Edit: February 11, 2022, 21:34 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2022, 00:19 »
+1
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

Lets all hope this wont happen!

To paraphrase Winston Churchill "A microstocker is one who feeds a crocodile-hoping it will eat him last."


PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2022, 07:00 »
0
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

Lets all hope this wont happen!

To paraphrase Winston Churchill "A microstocker is one who feeds a crocodile-hoping it will eat him last."

"Don't believe everything you read on the internet" - Abraham Lincoln

« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2022, 07:46 »
0
Internet + Abe Lincoln =  ;D

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2022, 11:27 »
+1
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

You left out some?  :)

FT and the dollar photo club, boycott them!
Deposit is licensing to themselves as subs and selling for more on a different site.
Pond5 is opening a new division.
Graphic Leftovers is good for contributors they pay 50% (which became GLstock and did a disappearing act)

In defense of Adobe, I won't make any predictions, but right now they are the best for the most people.

They did raise our commissions and equalized the credits, which made our earnings higher. How many other agencies since 2016 have given us a raise?

ps Everything on the Internet is true!

« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2022, 13:57 »
+1

leader in what? customers? library? downloads? sales?  in which of these is AS the leader?
The only thing I care is leader in revenue for the contributors. And taking out specialized agencies like Stocksy,Arcangel, etc that usually bring top dollars to their contributors from the Micros Adobe has already overtaken SS and that difference is growing stronger everyday....



for some, but many here report higher SS income than for AS, often much more.  of course, if you've left SS then obviously AS will produce higher income

« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2022, 13:59 »
0
instead, we get eternal whinging about the natural evolution of laissez faire capitalism, while ignoring the real badguys - fossil fuel, agribusiness, financial instruments that add nothing to the economy, etc, etc

I'm afraid that we are far from living in a laissez-faire capitalism.
We are living in a degenerate crony-capitalism, where through their lobbyist, corporations, unions, and other special interest groups are paying politicians for special privileges, dedicated laws, and tough regulations meant to kill their smaller competitors.

A return to something closer to a true laissez-faire capitalism may be the solution to your problems.  ;)

we're just using different terms - i totally agree with your assessment

thijsdegraaf

« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2022, 14:01 »
+3
The difference between Adobestock and the other stock sites is that they do not rely solely on earnings from Stock.
And.... we often use Adobe editing programs and are therefore also customers, who Adobe would like to keep as satisfied customers.
So I have a little hope that they won't change as quickly as Shutterstock or Istock
« Last Edit: February 12, 2022, 14:05 by thijsdegraaf »

« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2022, 17:34 »
0
The difference between Adobestock and the other stock sites is that they do not rely solely on earnings from Stock.
And.... we often use Adobe editing programs and are therefore also customers, who Adobe would like to keep as satisfied customers.
So I have a little hope that they won't change as quickly as Shutterstock or Istock

i hope so, too - but contributors who use adobe products are a tiny % of total users, and even if adobe changed for the worst, most would continue to use their software

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2022, 10:23 »
0

leader in what? customers? library? downloads? sales?  in which of these is AS the leader?
The only thing I care is leader in revenue for the contributors. And taking out specialized agencies like Stocksy,Arcangel, etc that usually bring top dollars to their contributors from the Micros Adobe has already overtaken SS and that difference is growing stronger everyday....



for some, but many here report higher SS income than for AS, often much more.  of course, if you've left SS then obviously AS will produce higher income

And some report best income from iStock. Somewhere right now, someone is saying, none of those, I make the most income from Agency X.

More people find Adobe will make them more money per download and to be a better source of real income. I do now and since the June 2020 TOS on SS.

"Your personal results may vary,  and past performance is not indicative of future results."  8)

You're right however, some people do much better on SS than AS. Crabs walk sideways and Lobsters swim backwards.

H2O

    This user is banned.
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2022, 09:15 »
+1
Great analysis from Jo Ann.

BOTTOM LINE = The death spiral has started.

« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2022, 03:42 »
+5
Great analysis, as always.

One comment to the numbers in your chart: You have the numbers Shutterstock reports as "cost of revenue" marked as royalties.

From "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements"

"Costs and Expenses

Cost of revenue consists of royalties paid to contributors, credit card processing fees, content review costs, customer service expenses, infrastructure and hosting costs related to maintaining our creative platform and cloud-based software platform, depreciation and amortization of capitalized internal-use software, content and technology intangible assets, allocated facility costs and other supporting overhead costs. Cost of revenue also includes employee compensation, including non-cash equity-based compensation, bonuses and benefits associated with the maintenance of our creative platform and cloud-based software platform."

So, royalties paid to contributors are a small part of cost of revenue.

Great job Jo Ann, but i think % paid of contributors is much closer to my analysis.

Revenue per download (Three Months Ended September) is:

2013 $2.35
2015 $2.85
2017 $3.24
2020 $3.79
2021 $4.30

My RPD:

2013 $0.59
2015 $0.75
2017 $0.88
2020 $0.83
2021 $0.76

So, real royalty earnings % is:

2013 0.59/2.35= 25.10%
2015 0.75/2.85= 26.31%
2017 0.88/3.24= 27.16%
2020 0.83/3.79= 21.89%
2021 0.76/4.30= 17.67%

17.67% (not 30 or 35% of level 4 o 5) is very close to Istock's actual 15% ... a real theft against contributors.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2022, 03:50 by Bauman »


« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2022, 13:35 »
+8
...So, real royalty earnings % is:

2013 0.59/2.35= 25.10%
2015 0.75/2.85= 26.31%
2017 0.88/3.24= 27.16%
2020 0.83/3.79= 21.89%
2021 0.76/4.30= 17.67%

17.67% (not 30 or 35% of level 4 o 5) is very close to Istock's actual 15% ... a real theft against contributors.

No argument that it's hard to get accurate numbers for contributor royalties.

From the Q1 2019 earnings call, Shutterstock's then-CFO (Steven Berns) said " Contributor royalty expense was approximately 26.3% of revenue, which has remained relatively constant as compared to prior quarters"

In the Q2 and Q3 2019 earnings calls, the interim CFO said that royalties continued to be "approximately 26% of revenue". Things go quiet after that :)

This quote from Jon Oringer in Q4 2019's earnings call rings so hollow in light of the June 2020 slashing of contributor royalties:

"We started the Company in 2003 as a scrappy start-up, but quickly established ourselves as a great business. We were profitable on day one and have been every year since. Since that time, we have become a clear leader in the space and achieved numerous accomplishments over the years. Most recently, we celebrated the remarkable milestone of paying $1 billion in earnings to our global network of contributors.

We're proud of the success our contributors have achieved leveraging Shutterstock's platform, and are thrilled to share this accomplishment with our global community, our fellow creatives, including artists, photographers, videographers, and musicians. I want to thank all of our contributors, who made this historic breakthrough possible. While this is a massive achievement, we have not forgotten our roots."

I couldn't help but visit Twitter this morning to note the irony of an article about Shutterstock's improved competitive position being illustrated by a stock photo from Getty's Unsplash!

https://twitter.com/joannsnover/status/1493648921435914244

You can't make this stuff up!

« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2022, 06:34 »
+1
Shutterstock is on an irreversible down path. Adobe is already the leader and will be for a long time (quicker than I thought). If they would add editorial they would crush even more Getty and SS.

Getty has long arms and still a big foot inside many doors. If they get the money they need selling their BCC- stock with their return to the stock market the nexts months they might also surpass SS. Oringer chose the way out and cashing with his pal. Good riddance to both. They will be gone quite soon and whoever owns SS in the future I doubt they will be ever recovered the trust of their stabbed in the back contributors.

Dont be surprised if Adobe follows the practices of the other companies at some point. Some of you should recognize the pattern.

"Getty has become evil! Istock is great so we need to support them!"
"Istock has become evil! Shutterstock is great so we need to support them!"
"Shutterstock has become evil. Adobe is great so we need to support them!"

Of course they will. As soon as the growth phase is over pressure from shareholders will have their boot on our neck like everyone else. It will then be time to support another agency with our work.

The problem is the contributors who think they can find the perfect agency and things will never change. They then throw their toys out of the pram when their favourite inevitably screws them. Then its  theyre all the same so whats the point and give their work away for nothing. If you want to succeed in business you have to react to changes in the market and stay engaged.

Edit The alternative/ exception of course is using a different ownership model like Stocksy where owners and contributors wants are aligned.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2022, 06:38 by Justanotherphotographer »

wds

« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2022, 07:51 »
+1
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more. I don't see a downside....but apparently the agencies do?

« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2022, 08:55 »
+3
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more.

This is exactly what dreamstime does.

Level 1 = 0 downloads
Level 2 = 1+ download
Level 3 = 5+ downloads
Level 4 = 10+ downloads
Level 5 = 25+ downloads

And, yes, I love this model.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that you can't earn big money at dreamstime because not enough sales come in. I have not even managed 3,500 downloads in the 10 years. Even if the RPD is good there, hardly anything comes in.

wds

« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2022, 09:26 »
0
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more.

This is exactly what dreamstime does.

Level 1 = 0 downloads
Level 2 = 1+ download
Level 3 = 5+ downloads
Level 4 = 10+ downloads
Level 5 = 25+ downloads

And, yes, I love this model.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that you can't earn big money at dreamstime because not enough sales come in. I have not even managed 3,500 downloads in the 10 years. Even if the RPD is good there, hardly anything comes in.

Interesting! I am not on Dreamstime and had no idea. How does it end up "dollars and cents"wise? What do you actually earn for a download of a "level 1" image vs. a "level 5" image?

« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2022, 10:04 »
0
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more.

This is exactly what dreamstime does.

Level 1 = 0 downloads
Level 2 = 1+ download
Level 3 = 5+ downloads
Level 4 = 10+ downloads
Level 5 = 25+ downloads

And, yes, I love this model.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that you can't earn big money at dreamstime because not enough sales come in. I have not even managed 3,500 downloads in the 10 years. Even if the RPD is good there, hardly anything comes in.

Interesting! I am not on Dreamstime and had no idea. How does it end up "dollars and cents"wise? What do you actually earn for a download of a "level 1" image vs. a "level 5" image?

There is no difference concerning shubscriptions and Enhanced Licenses. Here is a screenshot.

« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2022, 11:19 »
+1
Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2022, 12:10 »
0
Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

So true!

« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2022, 12:13 »
0
Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.


Could you show some examples - this would be very interesting.

« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2022, 12:24 »
0
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more.

This is exactly what dreamstime does.

Level 1 = 0 downloads
Level 2 = 1+ download
Level 3 = 5+ downloads
Level 4 = 10+ downloads
Level 5 = 25+ downloads

And, yes, I love this model.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that you can't earn big money at dreamstime because not enough sales come in. I have not even managed 3,500 downloads in the 10 years. Even if the RPD is good there, hardly anything comes in.

Interesting! I am not on Dreamstime and had no idea. How does it end up "dollars and cents"wise? What do you actually earn for a download of a "level 1" image vs. a "level 5" image?

When this was introduced (many years ago) I had high hopes, but it has not worked out well at all. In the beginning, high level images sold via subscription netted a 70 cent royalty versus 35 cents and part of the "bait" when persuading contributors that subscriptions were a good thing (Dreamstime had previously been credits only) was that increasing subscription sales would boost your images' level and thus increase your earnings when credit sales happened.

But subscriptions canibalized credit sales, the higher subscription royalties went away and I now earn much less at Dreamstime per year than I did. As an example of the rare credit sale, last September I had a level 5 image sold for $7.82 royalty (18 credits) but that is the exception


« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2022, 13:32 »
0
subscriptions have really worked from Canva, where they distribute monthly based on DL - my individual sales dropped dramatically but my total income doubled (often tripled) - steady since the program was introduced.  unfortunately we don't know exactly how many DL we had thru subscription.

wds

« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2022, 14:11 »
0
I still don't understand why the agencies don't try a pricing model where an image's price increases as its download numbers increase. They will make more, the contributor will make more.

This is exactly what dreamstime does.

Level 1 = 0 downloads
Level 2 = 1+ download
Level 3 = 5+ downloads
Level 4 = 10+ downloads
Level 5 = 25+ downloads

And, yes, I love this model.

Nevertheless, it has to be said that you can't earn big money at dreamstime because not enough sales come in. I have not even managed 3,500 downloads in the 10 years. Even if the RPD is good there, hardly anything comes in.

Interesting! I am not on Dreamstime and had no idea. How does it end up "dollars and cents"wise? What do you actually earn for a download of a "level 1" image vs. a "level 5" image?

...When this was introduced (many years ago) I had high hopes, but it has not worked out well at all. In the beginning, high level images sold via subscription netted a 70 cent royalty versus 35 cents and part of the "bait" when persuading contributors that subscriptions were a good thing (Dreamstime had previously been credits only) was that increasing subscription sales would boost your images' level and thus increase your earnings when credit sales happened.

But subscriptions canibalized credit sales, the higher subscription royalties went away and I now earn much less at Dreamstime per year than I did. As an example of the rare credit sale, last September I had a level 5 image sold for $7.82 royalty (18 credits) but that is the exception

I see your point. I guess in the world of subs, the "graduated scale" would have to have steep curve. Instead of "70 cent vs. 35 cent" it would have to be more like an order of magnitude for a top level image...more like "$3.50 vs. 35 cent" the customer would have to be willing to use "10 subs worth" for one image I guess.

« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2022, 15:09 »
0
for some/many buyers the value of an often used image is less than a never used one

« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2022, 16:00 »
+3
Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

I remember times when instead of "free stock", some people used to say microstock in the same context.  ;D

« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2022, 16:03 »
0
getting a bit of thread drift here, but as I recall with DT subs you could get 1,2,or 3 sub sales for .35, .70, and 1.05. I quite liked that and even the lowest sub sale meant the image was making progress towards a higher tier.  I think DT said the buyers were confused and complained about using up their sub allotment too quickly so DT dropped it. The higher level credit sales can be quite good, but they are also very rare. Nowadays it is almost all subs, although the rare other sales make a big difference in the total for the month. The percentage they pay is also tied to the image level for credit sales, so not only does a higher level sale cost the buyer more, but the artist gets a higher percentage of that.  As far as people wanting images that have little to no sales, I've got heaps of them - have at it. (although I do wish DT would pay a higher percentage for the level 0 sales (and all sales for that matter)).

« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2022, 16:15 »
0
The $0.70 subs no longer seems to exist at DT. As you can see in the screenshot I uploaded in the DT thread, most subs are at $2.00, some at $0.35 and a few at $0.38 and $2.20. That's more than many other agencies. But, as I said before, very little money comes in at DT because the download volume is very low.

wds

« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2022, 16:55 »
0
for some/many buyers the value of an often used image is less than a never used one

I get what you're saying, but there are plenty of never used images that nobody wants. I think generally it's more about the particular image.

« Reply #44 on: February 16, 2022, 17:26 »
+2
Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

I remember times when instead of "free stock", some people used to say microstock in the same context.  ;D

And they werent wrong either.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #45 on: February 19, 2022, 12:18 »
0
Chairman Jonathan Oringer sold 11,934 shares of the companys stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.49, for a total transaction of $1,366,323.66.

He's going to miss out on that 96 a share dividend? I was just looking and thinking, for the shares he just sold, the dividends are about $11,000 a year.

Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

I remember times when instead of "free stock", some people used to say microstock in the same context.  ;D

Microstock was a natural adjustment and progression as a result of the Internet, computers, and digital art. Getty bought Tony Stone Images, a London stock agency 1996, and many others along the way after that. 1999 Getty buys Art.com (you can find that on the Walmart site as well as Amazon), 2006 Getty buys iStock.

What sites are owned by Dreamstime or Wirestock that give away free images? I seem to have missed the connection? I thought Wirestock was basically a distribution point and access? DT has a free site?

« Reply #46 on: February 19, 2022, 14:06 »
0
Chairman Jonathan Oringer sold 11,934 shares of the companys stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.49, for a total transaction of $1,366,323.66.

He's going to miss out on that 96 a share dividend? I was just looking and thinking, for the shares he just sold, the dividends are about $11,000 a year.

Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

I remember times when instead of "free stock", some people used to say microstock in the same context.  ;D

Microstock was a natural adjustment and progression as a result of the Internet, computers, and digital art. Getty bought Tony Stone Images, a London stock agency 1996, and many others along the way after that. 1999 Getty buys Art.com (you can find that on the Walmart site as well as Amazon), 2006 Getty buys iStock.

What sites are owned by Dreamstime or Wirestock that give away free images? I seem to have missed the connection? I thought Wirestock was basically a distribution point and access? DT has a free site?

Wirestock also sells individual images for $5 (click on portfolio, then an image)


« Reply #47 on: February 19, 2022, 23:17 »
0


Microstock was a natural adjustment and progression as a result of the Internet, computers, and digital art.


So are the free or couple of cents images. 300 million photos are just uploaded on internet every day and 1.5 trillon  photos are taken yearly. Some of them have to be good. Some of them are gonna be given away for free.

Uncle Pete

  • Great Place by a Great Lake - My Home Port
« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2022, 14:11 »
0
Chairman Jonathan Oringer sold 11,934 shares of the companys stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $114.49, for a total transaction of $1,366,323.66.

He's going to miss out on that 96 a share dividend? I was just looking and thinking, for the shares he just sold, the dividends are about $11,000 a year.

Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc. Wether you are aware of it, agreed to it or not some companies like ones mentioned give your work for free in exchange for a small rate. Smaller than what shutterstock charges but without the overhead of reviewing photos, categorizing or keywording since thy come straight out of our ports.

If nothing was given away we would have a business.

I remember times when instead of "free stock", some people used to say microstock in the same context.  ;D

Microstock was a natural adjustment and progression as a result of the Internet, computers, and digital art. Getty bought Tony Stone Images, a London stock agency 1996, and many others along the way after that. 1999 Getty buys Art.com (you can find that on the Walmart site as well as Amazon), 2006 Getty buys iStock.

What sites are owned by Dreamstime or Wirestock that give away free images? I seem to have missed the connection? I thought Wirestock was basically a distribution point and access? DT has a free site?

Wirestock also sells individual images for $5 (click on portfolio, then an image)

This part? "Our biggest enemy is free stock images and videos. Those sites are becoming more and more popular. Those sites are owned by companies like dreamstime, wirestock etc."



Microstock was a natural adjustment and progression as a result of the Internet, computers, and digital art.


So are the free or couple of cents images. 300 million photos are just uploaded on internet every day and 1.5 trillon  photos are taken yearly. Some of them have to be good. Some of them are gonna be given away for free.

I suppose that's true. Free images don't pay the artists anything, but the sites that give them away, seem to find a way to make money, without paying anyone. Worse than Micropayments, and now chump change, the only step lower is Free for recognition, "exposure", or bragging rights.

If all of that is a natural trend, leading to free, we should be finding free news, instead of the sites going behind pay walls more and more. Free apps that actually work, instead of having to pay for some lame app to watch the weather radar. But photos went the opposite direction?  :(

Some people like free. I don't. People who go to a free site for an image, and a majority of those people, are unlikely to be someone who will pay for an image anyway. I just think that where free hurts is the segment of people, who would pay for and use our work, but they have an alternative.

So when people who need a job are going to lobby for lower pay and reducing minimum wage, that would be like people taking photos and giving them away, instead of earning something from their effort?  :o  ;D

« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2022, 16:57 »
+1
Big organizations aren't going to be trolling the internet for 'free'. When they need images or video, they need it timely, they need quality, they need to know it's legal, they need to be able to find what they want quickly and they need to be able to modify as necessary. So they will have a subscription to someone like Shutterstock because that is the most efficient solution. In the grand scheme of things, the cost is peanuts.

OM

« Reply #50 on: February 20, 2022, 20:25 »
+3
Let's face it, a major user of stock images/footage is never going to go to a 'free' site for images of recognisable people without model release and for a corporation, a SS yearly subscription is less than the CEO spends entertaining a client in one night!


 

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