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Author Topic: Shutterstock Reports Q2 2014 Financial Results  (Read 8982 times)

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Rinderart

« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2014, 14:08 »
+17
Revenue up 41%? Commissions up "0"


« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2014, 14:38 »
+1
30% dl increase, 42% collection growth = 9% fewer sales per image, therefore you need to grow your portfolio 9% per quarter (about 40% per year) just to stand still, if my arithmetic is any good.

imho your arithmetic is meaningless, since about 70% of uploads is basically useless junk, that never gets any download. Also on the other and of the spectrum many shots that kinda "nailed it", often keep getting more and more downloads as time goes on.

« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2014, 16:34 »
+5
30% dl increase, 42% collection growth = 9% fewer sales per image, therefore you need to grow your portfolio 9% per quarter (about 40% per year) just to stand still, if my arithmetic is any good.

imho your arithmetic is meaningless, since about 70% of uploads is basically useless junk, that never gets any download. Also on the other and of the spectrum many shots that kinda "nailed it", often keep getting more and more downloads as time goes on.

In the past, it used to work that way. Nowadays, it seems that the older shots with many downloads are penalized and pushed down.

« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2014, 20:23 »
+15
We may have to upload even more images than we thought to break even:

"Thilo Semmelbauer

Thanks, Jon. In Q2, we continue to focus aggressively on both sides of our marketplace, customers and contributors which reinforce and drive each other fueling our growth. Our contributor base is more active and more loyal than ever before. We added 3.4 million images to our collection in Q2, 60% more than we added in Q2 last year. Our collection is growing more quickly than ever and we ended the quarter with 38.8 million images, the largest and freshest library of its kind.

We also added more new contributors in Q2 than in any prior quarter, with over 64,000 "improved" and active contributors from around the world and a 24x7 processing operation to vet every image. "

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2399635-shutterstocks-sstk-ceo-jonathan-oringer-on-q2-2014-results-earnings-call-transcript?dr=1


I wonder how many of those "fresh" images are 10 year-old pictures from ex-IS exclusives.


Exactly

No wonder they killed the top 100. I wonder how loyal the new group will be once the new contributor bump wears off and they are courting new contributors as replacements via skillfeed.

I know a large number of long time contributors, who are not at all happy with the way things have transpired at shutterstock.

Just keep up the slams on the contributors who helped Jon get there Theo.  More and more of us are getting your messages loud and clear and our pocket books are telling the full story.

   I saw Jon Oringer interviewed on CNBC Mad Money a couple days ago and he talked a lot about selling music and all the new businesses SS is starting. I wonder if SS is losing focus on their core business and the people who made all those pictures which made SS all that money.
   Half the time when I get on the customer SS landing page there is a very prominent link to OFFSET. So SS is using their main page to transfer customers to a site where my competitors sell images and where I am not allowed to submit.
   SS increases revenue 41% and, as Lauren pointed out, increases our commission percentage by zero.
   I thank SS for the Christmas cards they have sent me, I am saving them. When Jon Oringer is richer than Bill Gates I will sell his signatures on ebay. That is probably the only way I will ever see an increase in my income from SS.

« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2014, 20:41 »
+1

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2399635-shutterstocks-sstk-ceo-jonathan-oringer-on-q2-2014-results-earnings-call-transcript?dr=1


I wonder how many of those "fresh" images are 10 year-old pictures from ex-IS exclusives.


Exactly

- messages loud and clear and our pocket books are telling the full story.

-  Jon Oringer interviewed on CNBC Mad Money ...talked a lot about selling music
-  prominent link to OFFSET. So SS is using their main page to transfer customers to a site where my competitors sell images and where I am not allowed to submit.
 - as Lauren pointed out, increases our commission percentage by zero.
- sell his signatures on ebay. That is probably the only way I will ever see an increase in my income from SS.


+1 to all.

it's not just the old images ported from IS exclusives, it 's also the reviewers ported from IStock.

and soon, with his music we will see a repeat of history Sales of Istock/ Sales of Shutterstock...
to ??? Getty ???

 
probably make more money being a Turf Accountant taking bets on who is going to buy SS  ;)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 20:57 by etudiante_rapide »

Hobostocker

    This user is banned.
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2014, 23:59 »
0
SS is growing too fast in my opinion.

it's unsustainable, they're certainly preparing a big fat sellout.

« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2014, 10:11 »
0
SS is growing too fast in my opinion.

it's unsustainable, they're certainly preparing a big fat sellout.

definitely. writings on the wall being
- cap on top earners
- capping of other earners
- high approval on newbie portfolio
- absence of transparency , ignoring or moving attention away from negative forum postings
- old management conspicuously absent (left SS or parachuted to Offset)
- focus on Offset
- new idea (music,etc)

it is similar to someone who wants to sell-out by ensuring a full-tenantship thus giving
the potential buyer new owner the impression that earnings are high while payouts are lower
than previous years. pay lower commissions to newbies than established earners.

« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2014, 12:38 »
+10
Hi guys,

To clear up any confusion or misunderstandings:

definitely. writings on the wall being
- cap on top earners
- capping of other earners

We don't cap any contributors on their earnings. Quite the opposite - we've had policies of non-exclusivity because we believe contributors should make as much as they can through our service and their entire distribution network.  Our search philosophies focus on bringing the best results to customers and driving the highest number of overall downloads through customer happiness, which creates more royalties for contributors, which results in quality content, which results in buyers downloading more and more royalties for contributors.   

Quote
- high approval on newbie portfolio

Our approval rates have been fairly stable over time and -- if anything -- we're known as one of the harder crowdsourced agencies for newbies to get into.   Our goal is to educate the community (newbies or experience contributors) on how to be more successful by connecting them to buyer needs and information about what things influence success.

Quote
- absence of transparency , ignoring or moving attention away from negative forum postings

We've replied to a number of threads about review questions or issues, etc.   Our philosophy is that criticism is healthy -- it helps us improve our service.

Quote
- focus on Offset

Offset is an obvious extension of the product line.  We have a healthy enterprise business and every day we're in the offices of advertising agencies, Fortune 500 companies, major publishers and major broadcasters.  They're often looking for specific kinds of images (for book and magazine covers, ad campaigns, etc.).  Offset is curated for that audience and customer need.   Those customers also come to us through Shutterstock.com - hence the $120 royalties that we sometimes pay out for Shutterstock.com images. We support over 1 million customers; Offset is targeted towards the needs of a specific kind of client at the high end, such as major advertising agencies, global magazine publishers, etc.  Different kinds of customers have different needs.

Quote
- new idea (music,etc)

We have over 1.9M videos now and a significant audience of video producers, broadcasters, Hollywood studios, small advertising agencies, etc.  They often want music to go with their video production.  Like Offset, Music is an obvious extension of what we do already - it serves customers better by giving them what they need to complete their video productions.  Without music, they're forced to go elsewhere, and music search and discovery is often a poor and intimidating licensing experience.   We're focused on giving them what they need and a simple buying experience.

Best,


Scott
VP of Content
Shutterstock



 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 13:59 by scottbraut »

« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2014, 13:01 »
+1
Holy Cow! 64,000 contributors that are "active". That's even more troublesome (financially for myself) than just more photos.

I don't know what means 'active' in this case.  If you upload 1 picture a month does that make you 'active'?  Probably no more than a couple thousand or less reach payout each month.

I think the term 'active contributor', for the purpose of bigging-up the numbers in the financial report, would simply require a portfolio to be held with at least one image available for licensing.

SS reported 31M downloads in the last quarter so, over a full year that would mean the 64k contributors would have an average of 1900 each per year.

If the 80/20 rule applied here, which I'm sure it would, then about 13K contributors will have generated 80% of the total downloads (about 96M). The other 24M downloads will have been shared between 41K contributors ... which is an average of fewer than 600 downloads per year each.

« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2014, 16:57 »
0
Hi guys,

To clear up any confusion or misunderstandings:

definitely. writings on the wall being
- cap on top earners
- capping of other earners


We don't cap any contributors on their earnings. Quite the opposite - we've had policies of non-exclusivity because we believe contributors should make as much as they can through our service and their entire distribution network.  Our search philosophies focus on bringing the best results to customers and driving the highest number of overall downloads through customer happiness, which creates more royalties for contributors, which results in quality content, which results in buyers downloading more and more royalties for contributors.   

Quote
- high approval on newbie portfolio


Our approval rates have been fairly stable over time and -- if anything -- we're known as one of the harder crowdsourced agencies for newbies to get into.   Our goal is to educate the community (newbies or experience contributors) on how to be more successful by connecting them to buyer needs and information about what things influence success.

Quote
- absence of transparency , ignoring or moving attention away from negative forum postings


We've replied to a number of threads about review questions or issues, etc.   Our philosophy is that criticism is healthy -- it helps us improve our service.

Best,


Scott
VP of Content
Shutterstock


As always your actions speak louder than words, by locking a recent thread where contributors were once more attempting to blast you into action, we get the message load an clear.  As for your comments about the search. The honesty of your response is easily detected in our own bottom line and we are in frequent communication with each other.

Quote from: rinder99
Scott, I reached out to 20 or so of the oldest submitters here , Some are extremely knowledgeable IT specialists, Some are the best of the best Photographers and Illustrators. Some with huge ports, some smaller, All important early contributors when this was in it's infancy and made it what it is today when they referred hundreds of others here that referred hundreds more until you took that income away from us, I asked for them to give me 5 or more things that really bother them the most. Honest answers and questions for you to address without a press release feel to it {PLEASE}. I'll have it for you soon


Quote from: scottbraut

With the new forums, we're going to lay down some new, reasonable guidelines, mostly around keeping the conversations constructive; moderation; and refraining from rumors that have already been "officially" debunked or addressed.


Quote from: scottbraut
Hi guys,

I'm locking the thread because it's no longer constructive. Again, I'm happy to answer questions - Laurin, please feel free to reach out and we'll do the same. But to have the forums be useful for everyone involved, these threads need to focus on constructive criticism and commentary.

Best,

Scott


http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=140901&start=46

« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2014, 17:15 »
0
Holy Cow! 64,000 contributors that are "active". That's even more troublesome (financially for myself) than just more photos.

I don't know what means 'active' in this case.  If you upload 1 picture a month does that make you 'active'?  Probably no more than a couple thousand or less reach payout each month.

I think the term 'active contributor', for the purpose of bigging-up the numbers in the financial report, would simply require a portfolio to be held with at least one image available for licensing.

SS reported 31M downloads in the last quarter so, over a full year that would mean the 64k contributors would have an average of 1900 each per year.

If the 80/20 rule applied here, which I'm sure it would, then about 13K contributors will have generated 80% of the total downloads (about 96M). The other 24M downloads will have been shared between 41K contributors ... which is an average of fewer than 600 downloads per year each.

Makes sense.   Thank you!


« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2014, 17:36 »
0
Hi Gbalex,

Thanks.  You're absolutely right.  Actions *do* speak louder than words.  And the fact is, our team is one of the few teams out there right now in external forums, in international forums, traveling to different countries to speak to contributors, sponsoring big events, nurturing international communities and encouraging connectivity between artists, creating grant programs, and bringing contributors in for product research to hear their opinions and act on them.  We're making more investments in contributor education and community than ever before. 

There has been very little active moderation in the Shutterstock forums over the years and it's reasonable to moderate forums.  Leaf does it here. We're going to do it in our own forums.  There are plenty of threads where people have expressed their opinions and thoughts in a constructive way.   

Best,

Scott

Well said Scott. I have absolutely no idea why Gbalex always singles out SS for criticism, whilst ignoring the (usually much greater) faults of all other agencies? It must be because the financial transparency of SS is so much greater. After all no other agency actually publishes any audited data or statements for him to pick apart and invent his conspiracy theories with.

« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2014, 20:37 »
+9
And let's not overlook the fact that Shutterstock has allowed the "Doom and Gloom" thread to reach 306 pages without locking it. I can think of no other site that would have allowed that much public criticism. Istock, Dreamstime, Fotolia, all of them would have locked it after the first post and banned the poster.

I'm surprised to see Scott come in and take the punishment he has from anonymous posters. I sure wouldn't. It's a no win situation. People complain about how many new images are added to the database, and then they complain when the reviews get too tough. They complain about new images not selling, so they change the search to favor new images. And then people complain because their old images aren't popular and selling anymore. So be honest. Say you only want your images to be easily accepted and only your images to sell, no matter how unreasonable such a request it would be because that's really what most of the complainers are saying.

The fact is, most of the problems people are facing are out of Shutterstock's control. It's become the top site, and contributors are flocking to it. That's killing sales for everyone because there are only so many buyers. What do you expect them to do? Stop taking on new contributors? Not only would that be unfair, it isn't in the best interest of their business.

Sure, they could afford a raise. Maybe a higher tier. We'd all love that. But, really, what's their incentive when tens of thousands of new files are flowing in every week?

« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 20:42 by robhainer »

Uncle Pete

« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2014, 21:22 »
0
Personally, I don't even believe 80/20 because microstock is so specialized, needs effort and reviews by the agency. When I was trying to promote and get new contributors for referrals, I used to point out that not one, had their account get a first upload. I don't know if they never passed the first review or what. Probably less that 10% of the artists, make the majority of the content and money.

Then in 2012 someone had an upload and he has since been getting regular DLs.

What I'm getting at is I don't believe 64,000 active contributors means, people with regular work, uploads or downloads. I didn't believe 50,000.

But less that 50% of the "active" contributors have 100 or more photos/illustrations in their collections. That makes it easier to understand how the people with 10 or 20 thousand balance the numbers.

In line with the financial reports would be, there are many new contributors and there are 40 Million images and no matter how someone views the piece of the pie explanation, it means, we will each make less because of new competition and more competition and more variety for buyers to pick from.


Holy Cow! 64,000 contributors that are "active". That's even more troublesome (financially for myself) than just more photos.

I don't know what means 'active' in this case.  If you upload 1 picture a month does that make you 'active'?  Probably no more than a couple thousand or less reach payout each month.

I think the term 'active contributor', for the purpose of bigging-up the numbers in the financial report, would simply require a portfolio to be held with at least one image available for licensing.

SS reported 31M downloads in the last quarter so, over a full year that would mean the 64k contributors would have an average of 1900 each per year.

If the 80/20 rule applied here, which I'm sure it would, then about 13K contributors will have generated 80% of the total downloads (about 96M). The other 24M downloads will have been shared between 41K contributors ... which is an average of fewer than 600 downloads per year each.

Rinderart

« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2014, 23:07 »
+2
Scott.....regardless of what ANYONE has said or posted. This issue and all the issues related to it are real. And I mean very real, other wise there would not be so many threads, so much talk than ever before in my 9+ years.  My friend something is wrong and if you wanna play Public relations officer with 33 ways to improve? thats cool and pretty useless, your doing a very good job at that but there is and I've said before a internal virus is happening and it's been coming a very long time. A year and a half for sure.

You locked a thread that was important to us, Probably because it touched a nerve, I sent you a PM asking if i should start another outlining the questions I have asked for, These aren't questions from WhoHoo we love you people that are doing well, these are from the folks who made this site and afforded you and others an Income.

I said in that PM, if you don't respond I will contact jon personally which I can.. Scott I never speak just for myself in matters that count. I speak or try to speak for us. You are not a photographer, a Illustrator  and have never done what we do, never been through the process for 25 cents and never experienced the hopes and dreams of thousands of good people. Thats the difference in what you say and what your decisions are based on, I and others have a feeling you don't see this for a minute..


Like I used to say.....record company executives are "temporary help making Permanent decisions."

PR is NOT what we need at this time. And even if we as a whole are the minority, We deserve better. We need real answers and if not from you, We will get them.

The fluff pieces are old school man.

I,ve been on my own since 16, Im 71 and have a beautiful Home in Beverly Hills, I've never had or wanted a job, I have lived and done very well on Talent and self Promotion so Im fully aware of where your going with this. I want and we demand a better site,a open site, a better stake in our future and a hell of a lot more understanding in what we do as creators of content, That BTW pays your salary and all those at SS in case you forgot..

I await a PM from you on SS. And My friend I gotta tell ya, Think about it, we want real answers and if you can't do it, Find another who can.


OK, enough said. You have a ton of new folks that will replace us in 3 months and take 25 cents and go whoHoo. Who Cares......Right?. why pay us more when you don't have to but, Thats not you call anyway.



« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2014, 00:02 »
+2
Hi Gbalex,

Thanks.  You're absolutely right.  Actions *do* speak louder than words.  And the fact is, our team is one of the few teams out there right now in external forums, in international forums, traveling to different countries to speak to contributors, sponsoring big events, nurturing international communities and encouraging connectivity between artists, creating grant programs, and bringing contributors in for product research to hear their opinions and act on them.  We're making more investments in contributor education and community than ever before. 

There has been very little active moderation in the Shutterstock forums over the years and it's reasonable to moderate forums.  Leaf does it here. We're going to do it in our own forums.  There are plenty of threads where people have expressed their opinions and thoughts in a constructive way.   

Best,

Scott

I actually do applaud Shutterstock for their effort in this aspect. At the same time, I declined my invitation to one of these interviews because I didn't see the point. The one thing I really want from Shutterstock is higher royalty percentages/RPD, and it doesn't seem like that is really on the table. So, I didn't see the point in discussing it. Maybe, I was wrong, but I guess the line is always open if things change.

Rinderart

« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2014, 00:12 »
+1
Laurin,

If you have questions, just ask in the forum.

- Scott

Thanks Scott , I will.But, there not my questions. they are my Comrades questions.

« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2014, 03:23 »
-2
30% dl increase, 42% collection growth = 9% fewer sales per image, therefore you need to grow your portfolio 9% per quarter (about 40% per year) just to stand still, if my arithmetic is any good.

As I read it, those numbers are year-on-year comparisons. So both, DL and collection increases are compared to 12 months ago. Consequently, the average download/image would have dropped by 9% over the course of one year and you would "only" need 9% more (equally well selling) images to compensate for the loss in downloads to achieve the same number of downloads.

Then again, the average revenue per download has risen by roughly 9% (from $2.33 to $2.52) in the same period, so you could assume to make a similar amount of money from the same images without adding any at all. Though this number might not be interesting for everyone because it probably also figures in higher paid downloads like video, audio, Offset etc.

« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2014, 06:37 »
+2
Then again, the average revenue per download has risen by roughly 9% (from $2.33 to $2.52) in the same period, so you could assume to make a similar amount of money from the same images without adding any at all.

That would only be valid if there was a direct relationship between revenue and royalties.
For the majority of sales (subs, OD, EL) this is not the case, those sales are paid with fixed rates, independent of the revenue.

« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2014, 06:49 »
0
That would only be valid if there was a direct relationship between revenue and royalties.
For the majority of sales (subs, OD, EL) this is not the case, those sales are paid with fixed rates, independent of the revenue.

I disagree - the number (revenue per download) does not reflect that they are making more money from the same download category. It reflects that there is a long term shift from low-paying downloads to higher-paying downloads. As a company you can't really make customers download less images in their subscriptions. And we all know the price for subscriptions has not risen, that's public knowledge. So the only way to achieve a higher RPD for the company is to attract more clients to make higher priced downloads. So we can conclude that SS had a higher percentage of ODD, ED, Video, Offset etc compared to the low-end subs downloads. At that also ends up with contributors making more in royalties as that higher percentage of higher-paying downloads also is visible on our end. Correct me if there is a flaw in my way of thinking?

Tror

« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2014, 06:57 »
+5
Hi Gbalex,

Thanks.  You're absolutely right.  Actions *do* speak louder than words.  And the fact is, our team is one of the few teams out there right now in external forums, in international forums, traveling to different countries to speak to contributors, sponsoring big events, nurturing international communities and encouraging connectivity between artists, creating grant programs, and bringing contributors in for product research to hear their opinions and act on them.  We're making more investments in contributor education and community than ever before. 

There has been very little active moderation in the Shutterstock forums over the years and it's reasonable to moderate forums.  Leaf does it here. We're going to do it in our own forums.  There are plenty of threads where people have expressed their opinions and thoughts in a constructive way.   

Best,

Scott

Hi Scott,

I think we all appreciate here that you are contributing and monitoring the communities and forums. Thank you again for being here :-)

Lately, I was criticizing SS a lot I have to admit. The reason is not a general negativity. Quite the opposite. SS is currently the best Agency out there when talking about pure Microstock, but as I see it as a long term contributor it is currently on the edge of losing its track and good relationship with contributors. Not only in terms of communication/mood/community but also financially. Earnings are not keeping up with my revenue I make elsewhere. Looking at the general numbers you will see the reasons.

Right now it is only about little things which are to correct in the strategy from a Contributors POV, and this is what I criticize - mostly because I wanna continue to see SS as a healthy and contributor friendly Company. I won`t repeat here the points we are talking about, I repeated it over and over here on this board, but somehow it feels lately that your participation on this board is one of the most positive things coming from SS, but missing some real movement and action behind the scenes. SS dominates, yes. But I do not think it is a good Idea to just fall asleep on Models which may not be sustainable for many high quality contributors who already seeked out for other possibilities in their long term strategy - including me.

BTW: I saw that you are looking to hire a "Contributor Agent" within SS. Well, I think if you listen to the communities - what you are already doing, otherwise you would not post here - and know how to filter emotion out of valuable opinion, you may be able to save up the money for this position. Otherwise just send me a PM ;-)

Best,

« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2014, 06:59 »
0
It may be a mixture of both.
To really know if prices for all different kind of downloads (subs, OD, ...) have stayed the same, we would have to check all different currencies. I bet there is a different level of price sensitivity in different countries.
Anybody knows if SS has been playing with pricing anywhere around the world?

If not, you are right, then the major part driving the revenue increase is a change in the product mix.

I don't have my numbers at hand right now, but it would be an easy check for everybody to see if one's own RPD grows the same way as the reported revenue per sale from SS does.

« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2014, 07:42 »
+3
Quote
OK, enough said. You have a ton of new folks that will replace us in 3 months and take 25 cents and go whoHoo. Who Cares......Right?. why pay us more when you don't have to but, Thats not you call anyway.

That's true, Laurin, but there is some evidence that more and more contributors are starting to withhold their better images from the subscription outfits and send them instead to some RM agencies or put them on their own site. And since many contributors report significant decrease in their SS sales, maybe some buyers have noticed it too, and look elsewhere for their images now.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 07:57 by LesPalenik »


 

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