Direct savings on license fees can lull image buyers into a false sense of thriftiness. The truth is that with subscription deals and other bulk-buying schemes, the cost of research can grow significantly and stealthily.

The reasons are threefold:

  1. Find-your-own is the foundation of budget deals. That means image libraries understandably abdicate that responsibility, while the cost of customer staff doing the work instead is rarely counted.
  2. Because the deals tend to be of the all-you-can-eat or a lot-you-can-eat, the choices for research are very wide. Making choices takes time.
  3. The efficiency of research carried out by image buyers is poor compared to seasoned professionals who know the image library well. Often the client “researcher” is a reporter, blogger or office assistant with no specialist training.

The result is that on a subscription deal worth $2,000 per week, half as much again, or more, can be spent on research. Whatever the number, it will be substantial. Just as importantly, the standard of imagery found is likely to be worse than in the days when the research was done by the image seller.

So when customers sign up for a subscription, they should see what research, if any, comes with the deal. And if there’s none, negotiating research into the package could be very worthwhile.

At the very least they need to start counting the full cost of subscriptions, including research. It’s almost certainly more than you’d think.

To find out more about Picsell’s image research services, click here.