The History of German Picture Agencies – Part Four

Microstock is no longer what it used to be. Some changes have already become visible. But where will this end up?

At the moment, this question can’t be answered properly. So far, it is obvious that Microstock puts pressure on Royalty Free models. A cannibalisation can be observed; MS sales figures easily surmount those of RF.

A reason for this development is that microstock has opened up towards new customer groups. This is how the market grew enormously. Here, millions of pictures are sold to new users who could not afford expensive imagery. Today, every baker can beautify his flyer with pictures for a couple of euros.

There are further changes that challenge the market: For instance, the microstock distributor Fotolia offers traditional pictures agencies the possibility to sell MSmaterial from Fotolia holdings to their own customers for prices which the distributors can define themselves.

In order to be able to judge the future developments of picture agencies, it is necessary to take a closer look at the revenues within in the microstock segment. With regard to the number of picture usages, what will be the future role of RF and
RM in the picture market?

At the MIDEM Congress in 2010, Jonathan Klein advised us to accept all new business models, even if they possibly cannibalise other offers – just like Getty demonstrated in the case of iStockphoto.