Global still images market to exceed USD 4 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of over 7%, according to Technavio.
Still images refer to static images and photographs that occupy a major part of visual content available for consumers. The global still images market deals with the supply and licensing of pre-produced images for various types of media, such as newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs.
The global still images market is expected to grow rapidly during the forecast period owing to the proliferation of the Internet, which has significantly boosted the growth of visual media. Marketers are employing visual content to communicate messages and themes effectively. Still images allow organizations to enhance user engagement, increase brand awareness, and generate leads.
Technavio’s market research analysts for new research areas have identified the following four factors that will drive the growth of the global still images market:
- Opportunities to boost engagement
- Evolution of new business models
- Strategic partnerships
- Growth of microstock images
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Opportunities to boost engagement
End-users are increasingly integrating visual content with their marketing strategy and communications. Visual content enables a brand to engage better with the target audience as against plain text.
“In addition, the upsurge in online marketing on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, becomes easier and more effective with images. Visual content has led to a significant increase in site traffic, inbound customer acquisition, and visitor conversion rates,” says Abhay Sinha, a lead research analyst at Technavio.
Evolution of new business models
Originally, vendors procured images from professional photographers and sold them at high prices. However, the declining demand for still images due to the falling popularity of the print medium is encouraging existing players and new vendors to adopt new business models.
These models consist of creator-focused collectors and customer-focused distributors. These business models employ different delivery methods, monetization strategies, and content quality.
Another business model operates through the periodic supply of free photos to subscribers largely through e-mails, eliminating the need for distributors.
Stock agencies are increasingly partnering with online image platforms and businesses to drive sales and provide seamless access to customers. Partnerships are taking place at different points of the supply chain. Platform integration is one such case, where end-users can choose photos from an agency’s collection of images without having to leave the platform.
Partnerships make it convenient to find, test, and license stock images. They enable stock agencies to strengthen their international presence by providing an extensive distribution network and encourage the use of still images. For instance, Facebook and Shutterstock announced a partnership to provide Facebook advertisers access to over 25 million stock photos.
Growth of microstock images
In recent years, stock agencies have created or acquired microstock divisions. In microstock, content sourced from photographers is sold at lower prices than traditional stock photography agencies. Microstock also enables the use of stock images for replacing free images and hand-drawn sketches.
“With the tremendous increase in number of stock images, low-priced stock images are available over the Internet. This has made stock images affordable for smaller businesses, resulting in the expansion of the imagery market,” says Abhay.
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