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A day after Adobe announced its $800 million deal to buy stock photo company Fotolia, Shutterstock, a leader in the industry, is feeling the heat.
Now, nobody’s face is melting off, but investors are clearly concerned about the deal.
Adobe announced its plans to buy Fotolia after reporting strong fourth-quarter results and steady subscriber growth. Adobe added 644,000 new paying Creative Cloud subscribers last quarter (that’s 3.454 million in total). Now those subscribers will soon find Fotolia’s 34 million images and videos integrated directly into Creative Cloud.
These subscribers, the photographers and designers who rely on apps like Photoshop, also happen to fit the description of a Shutterstock customer.
The implication is clear: If Adobe finds a way to put stock photos inside its apps, why would users look elsewhere? Some sort of integration is certainly in the works, but Adobe Creative Cloud VP Mala Sharma tells us the company doesn’t plan to just give these stock images and videos away. “The expectation is we will have subscription offerings that will include some stock images in them, but we expect that to be a value-add service over our current subscription offerings,” said Sharma.
That’s a good thing for Shutterstock, which is apparently unphased by yesterday’s news. “It’s not surprising that there’s a lot more activity in this area,” Shutterstock chief financial officer Tim Bixby told us last night. “A few years ago they had a product and they ended up closing it down. I think they’re going to grow the market with us.”
Shutterstock is “by far the leader in the space,” Bixby said. “This is going to wind up being more market validation, more education of users, and that’s a benefit for the entire industry.”
It seems that investors aren’t entirely convinced. Shutterstock was down nearly 13 percent today (we’re not the first to notice this) and sunk a bit lower in after-hours trading. Adobe, on the other hand, was up 9 percent.
This isn’t a catastophic event from which Shutterstock can’t quickly bounce back. But the markets signal that Adobe’s presence is known and could impact the stock media industry significantly once ties are formed between Fotolia and Creative Cloud.
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