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What is Subscriber Share?


Twenty20’s Subscriber Share is a way of calculating contributor revenue share based on the core idea that a subscriber’s money should go to the contributors they actually use and value.

A fixed commission per sale method or a traditional “big pool” method for dividing up subscription revenue both are vulnerable to abuse and unfair distribution of commissions. Subscriber Share was pioneered as a better way to ensure the fair payment of royalties to musicians by streaming services. We admittedly didn’t invent it, but we’re proud to bring that spirit of fairness to our contributor community.

Twenty20’s Unlimited Subscription is designed to be a simple to understand, attractive offer for photo-buying subscribers (removing the overhead of credits, multiple subscription tiers, etc.) and provides great value for high-frequency users of digital assets. Subscriber Share pairs perfectly with the unlimited subscriptions to more fairly calculate the distribution of earnings for contributors based on these subscribers’ use.


OK, but what is Subscriber Share, really?

Subscriber Share is the revenue share methodology we use to allocate a share of net subscription revenue among individual contributors.

We look at each subscriber (buyer of photos) in turn and assign you a share of their net revenue based on how important your items were to them (i.e your share of all licenses they made in that period).

Ex: For a subscriber that downloads 10 photos in a month, with 3 of those being your photos, you will earn 30% of that subscriber’s contributor payout.

Here are a couple important ways to understand what that this means for you:

  • The more subscribers who use your items, the more you earn.
  • The greater your share of a subscriber’s usage, the more you earn.
  • If a subscriber uses some items but not yours, you don’t share in their net revenue share.
  • If a subscriber solely uses your items, you get *all* of their net revenue share.


So how does this affect me?

Above all, the Unlimited Subscriptions mean a lot of sales and exposure for you. To better understand the difference between other revenue share models like "big pool" and subscriber share, here are a few sample scenarios:

  • Your photos are popular with many subscribers. We expect you to see very similar earnings. You will sell to both heavy and light downloaders, on one hand splitting revenue with several photographers, on the other earning a larger share of revenue for yourself.
  • Your photos are very popular with a few niche subscribers. You have the potential to earn a lot more. Niche subscribers typically license only a few photos from few photographers, so you get to keep most (or all) of their revenue share.
  • Your photos are licensed only by the heaviest users. The subscriber share model is designed to reward photographers who bring value to the most subscribers. You may earn slightly less if your photos are licensed only by users with the most downloads.
  • You try to game the system by subscribing and licensing your own photos. This isn’t going to go well for you. By design, subscriber share rewards photographers whose photos are licensed by many photographers.


To help bring this to life, let's look at a few simple illustrative examples...

Example 1:  A single subscriber

For example, let’s use a 20% revenue share and say there was only one subscriber, they generate revenue of $29 for the month and license 10 photos. The amount available for sharing with the contributors of those photos is 20% x $29 = $5.80. 

Now imagine that they license 3 of your photos. Your items make up 3 out of the total 10 licenses used, so you earn 3/10 x $5.80 = $1.74 from that one subscriber for the month.

Example 2:  Multiple subscribers

Now let’s expand that example to 5 subscribers, each with their own usage patterns:

  • Subscriber A is the person in the first example
  • Subscriber B is a heavier user overall and downloaded 3 of your items
  • Subscriber C *only* downloaded your items and none from anyone else
  • Subscriber D didn’t actually use any of your items at all
  • Subscriber E is on a more expensive subscription option and is a lighter user overall

The amount you would earn from each subscriber in this example is shown below:

Illustrative example of Subscriber Share in action

Important: The above examples are purely illustrative, and your earnings will, of course, vary depending on the number of subscribers, how much net revenue they generate, and which specific items they use in a given month.


Isn’t this complicated?

Yeah, it’s a little bit harder to calculate in our back-end systems. But, we say it’s worth it to deliver more fair & flexible commissions to our contributor community.

Payouts are calculated monthly with Subscriber Share, so the sales you make during a month will be “pending” until the month ends; at which time we are able to determine your share of each subscribers’ licenses for that month. Make sure to update your app to the latest version so you can see how we're tracking all pending sales.



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