Stock Footage News – January 2010

Stock Footage DataAs is pretty typical this time of year, most of the stock agencies are behind in reviews… some more than others.  Over the Christmas and New Years holidays reviews slow to a trickle and fall behind.  It usually takes most agencies about a month to catch up.  As of January 25th RevoStock is a little less than a week behind, Pond5 and ShutterStock are about 3 days behind, and iStock is 60+ days behind as usual.

RevoStock is on a tear with site updates right now.  Their new submit process is slightly more streamlined with the addition of ‘pre-fill’.  The ability to pre-fill in all of the data for a new clip with data from an old clip.  It’s pretty slick when you’re uploading similar clips or clips from the same series.  I was able to submit 5 clips from a series in about 2 minutes using the new process.  However, it replaces the current clip name with the old one, so make sure you don’t get distracted and forget which clip you’re working on.  I requested they include the original clip name and move the thumbnail to the top of the form to make it easier to remember what you’re working on… hopefully they’ll do that.  While it’s definitely a nice feature, it doesn’t help when you are uploading a new clip.  For that you have to enter everything as usual.  It would be nice if they had a template system similar to Pond5’s.  The combination of the two would make RevoStock the most flexible submission system of all the sites.

Speaking of Pond5, lots of promised changes coming but still nothing since July of last year.  The folks at Pond5 seem to have disappeared for the most part and are no longer as chatty with the artists as they used to be.  I’ve complained about it a few times and each time we’ll get an apology and a minor update as to what their plans are and then they go back into hiding until the next complaint.  Still, Pond5 continues to be an extremely artist friendly site and after a unusual dip in sales the first part of the year, seems to be roaring back strong. It’s still my favorite agency, but only just barely with RevoStock working hard to woo artists with regular artist interaction and a slate of great new features coming.

Many of my artist friends report the same sales slow down around the first of the month.  For a number of them iStock and ShutterStock are taking over as this months big sellers.  Mostly due to their automatic downsizing of clips from what we can tell.  Buyers are purchasing the bare minimum of what they need for current projects and the SD/720p prices on iStock/ShutterStock can be better than full 1080 HD on RevoStock and Pond5.  Another reason for both Revo and Pond5 to quickly roll out their own automatic clip resizing plans.

I joined ClipCanvas last month and I’ve been steadily uploading all of my new clips there along with my regular sites.  Mostly because I joined up with iSyndica which makes it easier to submit to multiple sites.  I still have to upload older clips to ClipCanvas.  I haven’t had any sales there and unfortunately they have very little for artists in the way of statistics.  So I can’t tell if anyone is actually viewing any of my clips or not.  I also find it disconcerting that you can’t sort searches by number of downloads or number of views. All searches appear to be sorted by upload date with newest first.  It’s a nice looking site and very efficient, but it has a lot of work to be as buyer friendly as the major sites.  I’ll have a complete review of my experience there in a future blog.

I joined iStock ages ago, but never really felt motivated to submit there.  The process was always difficult and with their new ‘copyright/trademark guarantee’ the process is even more difficult.  But the high sales volume reported by other artists has motivated me to start uploading there.  Since I’m still considered “new”, I am limited to uploading 15 clips a week and their average review time right now for non-exclusives is two months.  iStock apparently has the largest base of buyers for any stock agency, but I can see why they haven’t killed off any of the competition.  They simply can’t compete for “freshness” of new footage.  With their incredibly long review time most clips are online and selling at other agencies for a month or more before they appear on iStock.  Like ShutterStock, iStock is not an artist friendly site.  They pay very low commissions for sales, they have a minefield of regulati0ns, and their reviewers are notoriously inconsistent with rejections.  But, as I said before, they have the largest customer base of any agency and they do a huge volume.  So for most artists (including me, apparently) it’s worth the aggravation.

I mentioned previously that RevoStock has been communicating with artists lately…  They’re working on a lot of changes to the site and taking a lot of input.  It’s very refreshing.  One thing that has me particularly excited is the possibility of a new “revenue sharing” feature.  A number of artists and I have discussed for months the possibility of collaborating with each other on stock clips.  Each bringing our best talents together.  The only problem is in how to compensate each other for each person’s work.  We brought the subject up with Pond5 about 5 or 6 months ago, but they weren’t very keen on the idea, believing that it would be too much work on their part to implement it.  However, with Revo being so friendly and communicative lately, I brought the subject up there and they were very receptive to the idea.

Basically, it would work like this…  You have a clip that I like and that I believe I could add something to to make it better.  So you give me the clip and I make my changes to it.  I then upload the clip to RevoStock and in the clip settings add you as a contributor.  Each time the clip sells you and I would split the sale.  As you can see, it has really great potential and if RevoStock is able to pull it off I think they would see their catalog grow several times faster than it is currently.

Unfortunately, you’d still need to work something out with the other artist for submitting to other sites that don’t support such a revenue sharing model.  But personally, I’m excited about the potential and looking forward to mangling the clips of my friends for fun and profit.  If you like the idea, head over to the “Producer’s Lounge” on RevoStock’s forums and reply with your support.

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