It seems that just about every week there is a new stock footage site popping up. Lots of people/companies think they can get into the game and make money… Perhaps they can, but you need a niche and you need to spend a LOT of money on marketing.
If you have ever wondered why many agencies take 50% or more of sales on your hard work, the primary answer is “marketing”. It takes a lot of money to get buyers to come to your site. Good search engine placement isn’t enough since most buyers already know who the “big boys” are and don’t even bother looking for new sites. So you have to spend a lot of money on traditional marketing like trade magazines, web ads on industry related web sites, direct mail to studios, etc… That’s why you can just upload your clips and move on to creating new material. You don’t have to worry about the marketing.
Still, 50%, 60%, 70% is a lot to give up. Especially to a new and unproven site. Some of the new sites charge lower rates like 40% or even 30%, but it’s not sustainable. It’s a gimmick to get you submitting now. Once the site becomes more established and has a decent size portfolio available to buyers, they’ll take a bigger cut.
Some artists create their own web site for selling their clips. But again, you have to attract buyers. How do you get them to your site? And how much is it costing you to host 20 gigabytes or even 200 gigabytes of files? Can you sell enough to even cover your costs?
What’s missing in the stock footage market is a Vimeo or YouTube for stock. You upload your footage. Manage your portfolio. Do all of your own marketing. And people buy your footage. It’s on a big site with thousands of clips from other artists which is more attractive than a personal site with 100 or even 400 clips. And because you are doing your own marketing of your portfolio, the host site takes a small percentage to cover bank fees and make a profit.
SmugMug does this for images, but not for video. And they charge a monster fee for the privilege. It lets you create your personalized portfolio and all of your images are indexed with all the other images on the site. So someone can go to SmugMug, search for “beer glass” and if you have one, it’ll show up in the search list along with the others. If they like it, they can buy it from your at the price you set. Plus, you can do your own marketing and completely manage your portfolio the way you want to.
We need this for stock video. We need a site that doesn’t need a huge marketing budget. A site that is willing to create an interface that allows each artist to set up their own little “online footage store” where they can sell their video. And where buyers can search across all of the stores so that it’s appealing to buyers. The host site handles all of the transactions and pays the artists once a month. Since they don’t need a huge marketing budget, they can offer an 80/20 split and still make a hefty profit. It’s up to the individual artists to do their own marketing and promote their own portfolios.
Make it so…