Shutterstock to Acquire Flashstock

Posted on 6/28/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Shutterstock, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Flashstock Technology, Inc., a Toronto based company that enables the efficient creation of custom visual content through its proprietary platform, for approximately $50 million cash. Flashstock has a fast growing customer base of enterprise marketers seeking on-brand content to feed the ever growing visual demands of multiple marketing channels. By integrating Flashstock into its product offerings, Shutterstock will be able to offer a high-quality custom content product to its 1.7 million customers. The transaction is expected to close in July 2017.

Flashstock established a new way of creating content for marketers. Its model ingests a brand's visual identity and content strategy, which enables it to create relevant content on demand. Like Shutterstock, Flashstock has a global network of contributors and an innovative technology solution that has streamlined the content creation process. The company currently serves hundreds of top brands across the Fortune 500.

Among the case studies listed on the Flashstock website has been work for the following companies: McDonalds, Quiznos, Flip Belt, Appleton, Estate, Patron, Smart Car, Mercedes-Benz, Frito Lay, Gatorade, Mastercard, Interac, Gardnier, J&J Healthy Essentials, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Blaze Pizza, Samsung, Fido, Conrad Hotels, Alaska Airlines, Xerox, Dun & Bradstreet, Pandora, Huffington Post, Aldi, DKNY, Victoria Emerson and Borrowell.

"Custom content has been something we always believed would be an important part of our long term strategy. We're thrilled to have found Flashstock, a strong business with technology and management that will enhance our product offerings and allow us to grow our partnership with major brands as they look to efficiently create amazing content on-demand," said Jon Oringer, Founder and CEO of Shutterstock. "This opens up a large new market that Shutterstock will now be able to serve with custom content. Flashstock's DNA matches ours, and we believe that there is a great cultural fit and that the business can integrate seamlessly into our new platform."

"Shutterstock's global reach, commitment to technology and investment in its platform make it the perfect home for Flashstock," said Grant Munro, Founder and CEO of Flashstock. "We will now be able to offer our cost efficient, streamlined content creation platform to Shutterstock's global customer base."


It is unclear how Flashstock’s work fits with stock photography. On their website they say, “Flashstock is a cost-effective way for marketers to develop a lot of content in a short amount of time that still meets the brand's high standards. We’ve taken a complex creative concept that previously required a full production team to execute and removed the complicated layers by deploying the fresh project to matched contributors globally through our platform.”

It seems that they take a marketing concept developed by a brand (maybe they assist the brand in the concept development) and then go out and contract with photographers to produce the needed images. It is unclear whether a given photographer is the only one receiving a specific assignments or whether multiple photographers are assigned to the same project. Is every photographer guaranteed a fee for work produced, or are the images are shot on speculation and the photographer is only paid for accepted work.

Since the work is produced for a specific brand it seems unlikely that any of the images from a specific shoot could be marketed later as stock. Certainly, not the images that are accepted by the brand.

This may well be a way for stock photographers to get some additional business doing assignments. Flashstock is looking for “Established and high-performing contributors (who would like to) join our Flashstock Preferred Photographer program.” The photographer’s portfolio must be approved.

They say photographers selected will, “shoot stunning visual content for the world's top brands, build your portfolio, and hone your skills all while collecting supplemental income.” They add, “contributors learn how to tackle more complex and challenging assignments & receive more lucrative projects.”

“Our projects are simple concepts with minimal logistical efforts required. You accept projects based on the things you already have access to using friends and family in authentic yet inspirational situations. Projects normally take around an hour or two to shoot; and you only opt in for the assignments you can complete. There’s no commitment when signing up, giving you the creative freedom to select projects based on your interests. These are fun to shoot, and a fantastic way to build your photographic profile and earn some extra income,” the website continues.

The brand can expect to receive the finished images 3 to 4 weeks after the initial request is submitted.  
It will be interesting to see how this $50 million investment helps Shutterstock grow its business, and how much it benefits image creators.

Copyright © 2017 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 301-461-7627, 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:  


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