Popular stock footage platform Pond5 is changing its payout to creators, with a perk for going exclusive with the platform.
It's hard to stand out in the stock footage marketplace.
Most stock footage creators put their footage up on a lot of different platforms in order to maximize exposure and eventual revenue. Stock footage platforms work to stand out from the pack by having the largest collections, easiest to search databases, human helpers, and more recently, with more sophisticated toolsets.
One of the leaders in the toolset arena has been Pond5, who has been at the forefront of technical innovation with tools like its Premiere Pro panel that allows auditioning stock shots then eventually replacing them with full-res versions from within the app.
Pond5 has also stood out with their generous split with creators (traditionally 50/50), and the fact that they allow uploaders to set their own price.
That split is changing with the new Pond5 "exclusive" program. If you switch your content to going exclusive with Pond5, your cut goes up to a whopping 60%, which is more than double the cut you commonly get with other platforms, where 30% is quite common. If you want to keep your footage on multiple platforms, you can with a new 40% split. This lower split, while still higher than average, will surely cause some controversy, but considering that 1.) users can set their own prices on Pond5, and 2.) it is still a generous split, it doesn't seem terrible.
Honestly, one of the perks of this change is giving creators an excuse to only upload to one platform. Generally, when you create something that might sell on a stock site it feels like the smart move to cover all your bases and submit to a wide variety of sites. However, with a 60% commission for exclusive use, a nice mental excuse is created to spend less time uploading to a variety of platforms and more time moving on to shoot more stuff.
One big question that remains is how Pond5 will be policing the situation: will they use AI to search other databases to find out if users are cheating on them with other platforms? Or is it purely on the honor system? We've reached out to Pond5 with that question and will update the article if we get an answer.
UPDATE: We received the following quote from the CEO, Jason Teichman:
"We believe relationships are built on trust so we expect that exclusive artists will not upload their exclusive content to other marketplaces. Artists that are not true to their word will be hurting buyers who made a purchase thinking they were buying exclusive content, other artists who followed the rules, and themselves."
As big believers in trust and the honor system ourselves, we hope that no one abuses the system.