Ok, stock photography isn't exactly the most thrilling topic, but the truth is, this industry is making some serious money. In 2006, subscription-based stock photo company Getty Images purchased iStockphoto for $50 million. At the time, iStockphoto's revenues for the year were about $23 million. In 2009, the company is expecting  revenues to reach $200 million, and pays out $1.2 million a week to artists who provide content for the site. Which is why today's news of Shutterstock purchasing BigStockPhoto is worth noticing.
One of the largest subscription-based stock photo agencies, Shutterstock's new ownership of credit-based company BigStockPhoto makes the company an even bigger player in the stock photo world as it can onw serve a broader range of customers and price points. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it puts Shutterstock on a competitive playing field with Getty, whose iStockPhoto is also credit-based.
"We currently have the largest subscription product, and iStock has the largest credit-based product, so this allows us to compete directly with iStock's product," said Jon Oringer, Shutterstock CEO and founder.
Photo sharing site Flickr is also getting in on the action. In 2007, it was reported that the company was going to introduce Flickr Stock, which would have been open to all members, allowing them to make some extra cash. Instead, Flickr teamed up with Getty for a more exclusive product--Getty selects a few thousand of Flickr's three billion images for the Flickr Collection, prices starting at $49 a piece.
Hey, someone has to generate the images that go into all those PowerPoint presentations and annual reports.
[Photo Credits: Flower, Lady Liberty - D. Sharon Pruitt , Sax Player, Crayons - Evoo73 , Business Meeting - Lee Chisholm , Man With Headphones - Brandon Baunach , Beach Landscape (Background) - Angelo Juan Ramos ]