iStock raises Payout for Small Subscriptions


downloadiStock has announced a raise for contributors for the new small monthly subscription packages they started offering in August in small markets. Non-exclusive contributors will receive $1 per download compared to the $0.28 that are paid for large subscription packages.

As iStock had apparently found a new main setup for their target markets, introducing “one size fits all” credit prices and competitive subscription packages last year, they now started experimenting with new offers in the market. One of them launched in August was the “small monthly subscription” packages, covering ten images to be downloaded within a month. The offer is available in two versions, for non-exclusive Essential content or for the Signature content including exclusive artists.

This offer has been discussed in online forums like MicroStockGroup as the royalties paid to contributors were based on the subscription payments: 28 cents for non-exclusive members, and $0.75 (for Signature) or $2.50 (for Signature+ files) for exclusive members. Simply said, the basic subscription would cost a customer about $40 a month while contributor payments would reach a maximum of $2.80 for ten images combined, representing 7% of the customer price.

iStock Royalty Changes for Small Subscriptions:

iStock royalty changes

A overview of the subscription prices of iStock in USD:


Now Getty has announced in their most recent email newsletter that those payouts to contributors will be raised. Within a new payment schedule for “small monthly subscriptions” covering either 10 or 25 downloads for the customer,non-exclusive artists will be paid a $1 flat royalty for each download. Exclusive contributors will receive $1.25 (for Essential images), $2.50 (Signature) or $3 (Signature+) for their images. The calculation would be that for the Essential subscriptions the maximum paid would be $10 for ten images contained in a $40 subscription package, equaling a 25% share; for the larger subscription with 25 images, it could reach up to $25 on a package priced at $65 which would represent a share of almost 40%. With every download the customer does not use Getty would get to keep a larger share of the license fees, of course.

Sound like a fair new pricing scheme…

Overall, the new pricing scheme sounds fair to the contributors. Although there also is the assumption that the new subscription packages would cut into the market for credit sales which typically make earnings between $1 and $2 for the contributors, it also has to be said that credits are valid for a year after purchase (and even can be extended), so those are still valuable to customers who can not predict their future image use beyond the immediate need for one or two images. So it is possible that these new packages fill a gap between the long term large subscription packages and the credit packs.

How the new earnings will get paid out

For technical reasons, iStock by Getty has announced the new prices will be applied in an additional single payment each month, added after the regular subscription sales have been added to the users' accounts. The downloads will still be reported at $0.28 each, and contributors will not be able to identify which downloads are coming from “large” or “small” subscriptions. The additional payment then will be made for the difference of $0.72 for each download in the small subscription programs in the form of a lump sum added directly to the user balance. This process is supposed to start at the end of November when a retroactive payment will be made for all downloads since the start of the new program in August.

What do you think?


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I write about the stock photo and microstock industry since 2006 on my several online-magazines. My goal for MyStockPhoto is to teach photographers and stock photographers how to sell more photos and earn money with their photography hobby.

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