Microstock Statistics – December + Annual Report 2017
January is a month for reports of the year just ended and for planning goals of the year just begun, but before that, let’s just start by commenting the microstock statistics for the month of December 2017 📈
Monthly Report – December 2017 📊
It was a month with negative performance compared to the previous month, although it is a rather predictable result (and usual for some years now) given the lower number of working days due to the year-end holidays. The decline in terms of downloads, however, was important, with a -16% compared to November and the second worst performance of the whole year. Therefore, revenues also fell (-5%), despite some particularly heavy single downloads mitigating the negative effect of the lower number of licenses sold.
Not even the good portfolio growth managed to limit the negative performance of December about downloads. It must be said, however, that the almost +3,000 new files approved in December are the result of the progressive uploading of files on minor – therefore less performing – agencies. Moreover, in a period in which the images / illustrations with festive subjects 🎉 (which are not a particularly present theme in my portfolio) tend to cannibalize the visibility of new non-festive subjects. Anyway, my overall online portfolio has almost reached 58,000 files, with a growth almost all concentrated in the last quarter of the year.
As for the statistics of the major agencies, confirming the fact that it is precisely the month of December that generated bad results, negative performances about downloads occurred on almost all the agencies, with some rare exceptions (BigStock, Colourbox and partly Depositphotos). As for the revenues, the negative performances are mainly due to Shutterstock and 123RF. iStock has grown in value, though still on very low levels compared to the standards of the past years and despite the good growth of approved files. I begin to be seriously pessimistic about what to expect from this agency in the future.
|– –||–||5.490 (+0%)|
|– –||– – –||6.137 (+1,8%)|
|– – –||++||2.538 (+1,6%)|
|– –||+||2.390 (+0,5%)|
Among the smaller agencies, Pixta continues to grow while the others remain stable or slightly down. Below the top 10 agencies about downloads and revenues of December 2017.
Annual Report – 2017 📊
As I had the opportunity to tell during the last monthly reports, 2017 was a rather complicated year for me: practically stuck in the first 8 months when I stopped uploading new files, definitely more positive in the last 4 months when I he started again to work with greater continuity, producing some works that immediately generated good results. The bad start of the year, however, ended up penalizing the results strongly, especially during summer months, while the good performance at the end of the year contributed only partly to recovering the lost ground, especially in terms of downloads generated. Compared to 2016, there was a total decrease of -5.8%. Looking at the multi-year chart, the leap forward between 2015 and 2016 seems quite evident, exactly in correspondence with my transition towards professional activity.
Despite the decreasing downloads, revenues have instead increased. One of the reasons for this positive performance is the improvement of my status as a collaborator on some agencies, which has increased my earnings per single license sold. Furthermore, I believe I have made further progresses both on shooting techniques and on post-production and indexing techniques, improving the quality of my files, evidently able to generate more profitable downloads than last year. certainly I experimented more, I increased the production of more profitable formats such as video or panoramic images, also thanks to some new tools that allowed me to speed up and simplify the realization of these works in the shooting phase (like my new Manfrotto video head or the kit with nodal slide + L-shaped plate for panoramas). In short, I invested on the quality of the work as well as on the quantity and this has certainly positively influenced the profitability of the single licenses sold. Globally, earnings grew of over +14% compared to the previous year.
Talking about the portfolio, as I said earlier, it was the last 4 months of the year that contributed to the growth, allowing me to increase the number of works online by about +15.000 files, with a growth of around +35% compared to the previous year.
Finally, talking about the yearly results of the single agencies: the best performances came from Fotolia-Adobe Stock, Depositphotos, Dreamstime, Mostphotos, Panthermedia and Eyeem, all grown both in downloads and in earnings. Shutterstock and iStock by Getty instead generated both less downloads but more revenues. On the lower end, 123RF, BigStock, Pond5, Colourbox and Pixta all decreased, both in licenses sold and in earnings.
Goals for 2018 🏆
The next months will be decisive in assessing whether or not to continue the collaboration with some minor agencies that have given few or no results so far (i.e. Stockfresh, Pressfoto) or with which I have been collaborating for too little time to be able to express final judgments (i.e. Graphicleftovers, Storyblocks). 2017 was also the year of my first (and so far only) download on Alamy, an agency with which I have a very troubled relationship: since 2012, for over 2 years I have failed to be accepted as a collaborator, mainly due to my laziness and superficiality in proposing my application. After finally being accepted as a collaborator, I spent about 2 years with only 4 files in the portfolio (the complicated submission intimidated me a lot), but then I uploaded fifty files in 2017 and I’ve seen my first result. Among the good intentions of 2018 is to dedicate a bit of time to Alamy, uploading a greater number of files and seeing if it is worth it. I also intend to evaluate alternative sales platforms, such as fine art prints stores (even though I have always believed very little in these websites) and above all dedicate some time to the care and promotion of my personal website and store (marcorubinophoto.com) which I hope will become over time a small additional sales tool compared to traditional stock agencies, and especially establishing itself as the main showcase for my photographic works.
More generally I find it difficult to make forecasts about 2018: the moods of the authors are increasingly negative and the complaints about market saturation, the increasingly fierce competition and the very questionable policies of some stock agencies are increasingly widespread. I do not like complaining, moreover I think it is of little use. I think it is much more useful to react, stop being satisfied and start experimenting, finding new ways. Above all I think it is necessary to always try to grow and improve. Because in particular in this field there is no absolute perfection and the margins for improvements, big or small, really exist for everyone, you just need to always challenge yourself and not take anything for granted, always remembering that:
Success can be achieved only by who is always looking for it! 👊
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