March was another busy month. I spent 10 days in Michigan visiting the “in-laws” and managed to get some pretty good footage from a huge grass fire and a nuclear power plant, as well as some misc other vistas. I didn’t get near the uploading done that I wanted to, so I’m playing catch up this April.
|Agency||Clips Sold||Portfolio Size|
|Pond5||80 (+19)||906 (+19)|
|RevoStock||6 (+2)||222 (+11)|
|ShutterStock||3 (-1)||112 (+9)|
|Can Stock||2 (+1)||30 (+9)|
|iStock||1 (+1)||11 (+4)|
|ClipCanvas||1 (+1)||86 (+20)|
Once again, Pond5 led the pack and for the third month in a row my sales increased. I got my first sales on both iStock and Clip Canvas. And RevoStock was a little bit of a shocker with small sales growth, I was starting to write them off. I managed to get 900 clips on Pond5, not the 1000 I was shooting for, but I should definitely hit 1000 by the end of April… I got a lot of good stuff in Michigan and I’ve got a short 3 day trip to Nashville later this month with a half day stop in St Louis.
My sales on Pond5 in March were my BME (Best Month Ever) in both number of clips sold and dollars. And they don’t show any signs of slowing down so far this April. Especially with Pond5 giving away $500 a day in clips (plus another $2500 a day during the NAB show in Vegas). That should spur a ton of sales this month. I am also extremely happy to see them tweeting more or less on a daily basis now. There have been a few minor updates to the site in March, but none of the promised big changes yet. They seem a bit slow on “visible” development, but they did a major overhaul of site code to streamline things… so that may be the catalyst for their planned “big changes” they’ve discussed with artists. I really hope so. A number of artist friends still have iStock as their number 1 seller (in dollars), but iStock has a MUCH MUCH MUCH larger customer base than Pond5, yet Pond5 is still close for those artists. Which means they sell more footage for a smaller number of buyers. That can only mean REALLY GOOD things if this give-away of theirs brings in a lot more buyers this April. They already have the largest collection of independent stock footage on the Internet, so they could easily be number 1 in sales this year. They just need to keep bringing in more buyers and start rolling out some of those features they’ve been promising us.
First let me state up front that “I LOVE REVOSTOCK”. I know I’ve been ragging on them a lot lately in my tweets, but it’s only because I love them and they frustrate the hell out of me. Like Pond5, Revo is extremely supportive of artists. They treat us like partners for the most part. So I very much want them to succeed. They made a number of improvements to their web site this March, including a MUCH needed speed up at the end of March/beginning of April. Most pages load almost instantaneously now. I still think their site has too many graphics and is too cluttered, but it’s an actual pleasure to visit now. However, during their upgrades they created other issues. The site no longer automatically generates thumbnails for uploaded clips (a bug they are working on) and their forums stopped working. Besides the MUCH FASTER site upgrade, most of the upgrades they did were pretty superficial. Their reporting still sucks and they still don’t auto-resize clips. The reporting thing to me is the big one. As I’ve mentioned previously, I can’t do any real research on their site to figure out why the top 200 selling clips from Pond5 don’t sell on Revo. I’m starting to think that Revo has a very small “footage” customer base or most of their footage buyers have moved to Pond5. From what I can tell, they sell After Effects projects like gang busters (and they recently added support for Apple Motion projects). They just don’t seem to be doing well with Footage. I am also a little miffed that they rejected a clip that has sold on 2 other sites. I’m wondering if their reviewers just don’t understand the footage market and are rejecting a lot of stuff that it selling on other sites… perhaps that’s why their sales are so low.
I sold my first clip on ClipCanvas, so that was a little exciting. My goal is to more than double my clips on the site by the end of April. There’s nothing really new on the site. Still no stats for artists… I did email that request to them directly, but I got no response. They also scaled back on their tweets in the latter half of March. Don’t know if they’re just busy or what.
I also sold my first clip on iStock. I didn’t upload much to iStock in March because I was so busy, but had planned to do a ton of uploading in April… that has changed, however. They completely changed their FTP upload procedure and made it 5 times harder. You have to create a unique folder name for each clip, upload the clip with a special name into the folder and rename the folder after your finished uploading. A major PITA. I did manage to finally figure out the correct procedure and uploaded a couple of clips to test it, but I am NOT going to waste my time doing that for hundreds of clips… Most artists I know feel the same way and plan to seriously scale back their iStock uploading as well. It’s funny because “exclusive” iStock contributors are defending the new requirements like rabid dogs on the IS forums… My friend Mark (IronStriker) coined the term “iStockholm Syndrome” to describe them which is perfect. iStock also had their 10 year Anniversary last month. That’s a major accomplishment, but it is somewhat diminished by the fact that iStock was originally started to HELP artists distribute online and now iStock has the lowest commissions in the industry. They were purchased by Getty a few years ago, who has done more to destroy the industry than any other agency.
I finally got accepted by ShutterStock for images and as a “new artist” I had a huge burst of sales for the first 3 weeks after my initial batch was approved. What’s great about that is when I don’t have enough footage sales to reach payout for the month, hopefully I’ll get enough image sales to “bump” me over the threshold. I had one less sale in March, but I didn’t do much there in the way of uploading… I am trying to upload a lot more now, but their FTP process is severely broken and their support has been less than stellar in getting the issue resolved. But I’m still hoping to get a LOT of clips uploaded there in April.
I totally misunderstood the new subscription pricing for iSyndica and thought that you got 5000 credits per month, but in fact you only get 5000 credits per year. Which at 10 credits per video clip is only 500 uploads per year. Not much… and it means you’ll be spending a lot on buying extra credits. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a great deal and at just a penny a credit (10 cents per video clip) it’s more than worth it if you’re distributing to a lot of agencies like I am. They also added a couple new features in March. Embedding of meta-data in Quicktime .MOV files (which will soon be supported by several agencies), and release form management so that you can more easily distribute your releases with your photos and videos. Very cool.