Potential Challengers for Top Positions in the Stock Photo Industry

This is Stock Photo Insight call #3 discussing potential challengers for top positions in the stock photo industry. On the call were Paul Melcher of Melcher System, Lee Torrens of Microstock Diaries, and Amos Struck of StockPhotoPress.


Recent $18MM investment. Opened their marketplace in the US, UK and Germany – three of the biggest markets worldwide. 

Still relies heavily on Getty Images for sales, which are strong so far. Images are priced higher than microstock. 


Owned by the same owners as Inmagine for traditional, 123RF for microstock.  $20/month for unlimited downloads of wholly-owned content.  Launched with vectors but recently added photos. 

Videoblocks (GraphicStock)

New business model complementing a subscription to wholly-owned content with a contributor-fed marketplace that pays 100% royalties.

Soon to expand into photos.


Challenging the aesthetic of stock. Success metrics look good. Contributors extremely motivated and reporting high and rising sales. 


13MM series B raise.  Very specific look of imagery, more for wall art than commercial use – very narrow market. Some new hires of industry people. New lower pricing tier introduced last month. 


Speculated to go public, perhaps in 2016. 


Coasting for years; very dated website; possible acquisition target.  Not considered a challenger unless it’s acquired by someone who can inject capital and life into the business.

Shutterstock’s latest challenges

This is Stock Photo Insight call #2 discussing Shutterstock and their latest challenges. On the call were Paul Melcher of Kaptur, Lee Torrens of Microstock Diaries, and Amos Struck of StockPhotoPress.

Scott Braut

Scott was previously VP of Content at Shutterstock, and this month was announced as Head of Content at Adobe. Scott has a lot of high level knowledge – as we saw on the last Microstock Expo. Other positions in the content team which were also vacated in recent months are also yet to be filled.

Shutterstock (SSTK) Share price volatility

Morgan Stanley updated their rating for Shutterstock’s share price to $40. The price is currently $52.45 and hasn’t been at $40 since March 2013.

Exclusivity strategy

Shutterstock has accounted for half of the earnings for a large quantity of contributors over the past years. Leveraging that with an attractive exclusivity offer would have been successful at locking a lot of content out of the market, as iStock had done years earlier.

Adobe Stock advertising

Starting to spent on advertising to raise the Adobe Stock brand. Huge weight of the company in terms of both resources and reach could easily generate massive brand awareness in a short time – a serious threat to Shutterstock given Adobe is already better known.

Fresh Competition

  • 500px investment – $13M
  • Stocksy vs Offset – Stocksy announced 580% YoY growth since this time last year
  • GoPro entering the video footage market
  • EyeEm new markets and new capital raise
  • Pond5 raised $64 last year
  • Flickr new deal for Adobe discounts

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