Is Shutterstock’s Valuation Realistic?

Posted on 7/15/2013 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

Over the weekend, Seeking Alpha (SA) published an article aimed at the investment community entitled, “Shutterstock Valuation Makes Me Shudder.” The points made in this article are well worth considering, not only for investors, but for anyone interested in earning a living in the business of stock photography.

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Copyright © 2013 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Ellen Boughn Posted Jul 15, 2013
    I agree somewhat with your position Jim...but there are other incorrect assumptions in addition to the ones you pointed out. Further I am always suspect of anonymous authors.

  • Alfonso Gutierrez Posted Jul 21, 2013
    In photography a wide-angle lens is used to have a wider look of a scene. In my opinion those of us that are involved in stock photography business daily we suffer from excessive tele-lens vision that by definition it gives a closer look on the subject.

    I like the "Seeking Alpha" article and I don´t give too much importance to anonymous authors if what they say makes sense, and it makes sense. Your article concentrate too much in the existing models and players and it does not speculate in future models or competition and it is a pity because the article anticipates the future, a future that those of us that still are licensing images are worrying about, and the article says it all:

    "Consider Google (GOOG) and even Amazon as great examples. Google actually could pay for content while using advertising sales to drive the revenue side of the business, and offer the content for free or at an extremely reduced price. The point being, if these behemoths sense that they can leverage their best in class technology and brands, any company would not stand a chance."

    Therefore all this is not about how many downloads or if the subscriptions is going to be a lot cheaper tomorrow (tele-lens), but more in the the future of the photography business model (wide-angle) because I´m among those that thinks that our future is in the hands of those that could eventually be paying for the contents at a fix (low) price but profiting from services and advertising revenue.

    In other words photography is at the threshold of a monumental change, the same that we assisted when Getty entered in the market in 1996, or the raise of Royalty Free in the early 2000´s however what we have learned after many years is that in stock photography everything that goes up will eventually stabilize and decline. The question is how to survive in the meantime and whether you can keep your business operative in such new environment.

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