Jupitermedia has announced today that its online photo & media licensing business is being acquired by Getty images for $96 million. Jupitermedia’s stock media brands include BananaStock, Workbook Stock, Brand X Pictures, FoodPix, Botanica, Nonstock, The Beauty Archive, IFA Bilderteam, Comstock Images, Creatas Images, PictureQuest, Liquid Library, Thinkstock Images, Thinkstock Footage, Bigshot Media, Goodshoot, ITStockFree, Stock Image, Pixland, Photos.com, Ablestock.com, PhotoObjects.net, Clipart.com, FlashFoundry.com, AnimationFactory.com, RoyaltyFreeMusic.com, StudioCutz.com, JupiterGreetings.com and Stockxpert.com.
The full press release can be seen here.
The acquisition represents a significant consolidation of the stock photo industry, reducing the “big 3″ of stock media companies (Getty Images, Corbis & Jupitermedia) down to two. The deal, and the price of the acquisition, is also an indicator of the challenging environment the stock photo industry finds itself in. Just 20 months ago, in February 2007, Jupitermedia confirmed they were in talks with Getty Images that could result in an acquisition of Juptermedia by Getty images for $350 million.
What does this mean for photographers? On the one hand, this deal significantly reduces the number of stock brands through which photographers can distribute their work. On the other hand, the reality is that the market for anything but microstock has been steadily shrinking for years and this deal doesn’t have any material effect on the demand for stock photography. The acquisition of Jupitermedia by Getty Images is more of an acknowledgement of the realities of the market than an event that will significantly change the financial opportunities for photographers.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the deal for photographers is the inclusion of Stockxpert.com, Jupitermedia’s microstock site. If Getty Images rolls Stockexpert.com into iStockphoto.com, their own market-leading microstock site, it will reduce the number of outlets for microstock, the fastest-growing segment of the stock photo business. Any reduction of competition in the area of microstock will give the agencies an even stronger hand in dictating terms for photographers and will further dilute availability of the work of any individual photographer.
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