Techcrunch reported on Monday that Shutterstock filed its plans for an IPO on the NYSE from which it hopes to raise $115 million (story here). IPO’s are interesting because you get to look at the financials of a privately held company that thinks it’s the next big thing. From the story:
According to its S-1 filing, Shutterstock currently offers one of the largest content libraries in the commercial digital imagery industry with over 19 million photographs and illustrations and about 500,000 videos from more than 35,000 contributors. In 2011, the company delivered more than 58 million paid downloads. The average cost per image on the site in 2011 was around $3. Shutterstock says that it had more than 550,000 paying customers in 2011.
Shutterstock is the infamous long tail in action, generating $3 here and there for its 35,000 contributors and according to the S-1 filing (read it here), reaping $120 million in revenue for the company in 2011.
Perhaps there’s a hedging strategy for photographers who see a continued decline in their own stock sales and a continued rise in micro stock?
In a report published in October 2008, BCC Research estimated that the market for pre-shot commercial imagery was $2.7 billion in 2008 and was projected to grow to $5.1 billion by 2013. Within this market, BCC Research defines two segments: the “traditional stock photography” segment and the online marketplace segment. The traditional segment is characterized by higher-touch customer relationships, negotiated image prices, and stables of professional photographers who shoot content exclusively for one agency, some on a salaried basis. The online marketplace segment, in which Shutterstock has historically participated, is characterized by self-serve ecommerce with simple, inexpensive licensing options and a large number of contributors from around the world. BCC Research estimated that the online marketplace segment would grow 51% annually between 2008 and 2013 to a total of $2.0 billion in 2013. In the same time period, the traditional pre-shot image market was estimated to grow 5% annually to a total of $3.1 billion in 2013. As the quality, quantity and awareness of pre-shot image licensing options continue to increase over time, we believe that pre-shot images will satisfy an increasing portion of the demand for commissioned photography, which BCC Research estimates to be a $12 billion market in 2013.
Since imagery is often a component of an advertising campaign or media production, the demand for commercial digital imagery is largely driven by the global marketing and publishing industries. In 2011, more than $466 billion was spent in the global advertising industry and $379 billion in the global publishing industry (including books, newspapers and magazines), according to Zenith Optimedia and IBISWorld, respectively. We believe that disruptive technological trends are expanding the role of commercial digital imagery within these industries and driving growth in the demand and supply of images.