The new year brings more bombshells in the microstock world, the latest being Fotolia cutting commissions. The poor silver contributors being cut from 31% to 25% and there seems to be an off the cuff comment in their year end statement that the qualifying levels for each commission level will be readjusted again, because those pesky contributors are achieving higher levels too quickly, which means increased commission levels and less profits for Fotolia. From the video submitters point of view I have not submitted video to Fotolia as I didn't like the subscription plan for footage, where a full HD 1920 x 1080 clip could be licenced and the contributor only got around $4. There is no opt out for non exclusive video clips at Fotolia for the subscription plan, if there was I would have opted out and started contributing footage to them.
Now the iStockphoto commission cuts have come into place, the average user can look forward to a commission on video clips of 15% making any level of professional production near impossible. Making a return on equipment costs alone virtually impossible if you are an exclusive contributor.
This makes Pond5, Revostock and Shutterstock look like the heros as they have not touched the commission levels. Pond5 are really doing an excellent job for the contributor by paying 50% commission on licenced video clips. On top of that they are very active in marketing their company, along with our clips. Shutterstock do have subscription program as well as per clip licencing. That means a subscription download on Shutterstock for a full HD 1920 x 1080 clip will pay you $13.25.
Where is this leading? at the moment it seems like a downward spiral to the lowest possible commission levels. Or it seems we should respect the Agencies who are playing fair with us and give them are support and encourage potential customers to shop with these agencies.