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Canva unveils ‘Netflix for stock photography’

Sydney graphic design start-up, Canva, has launched Photos Unlimited, a $18.79 per month subscription service which provides unlimited access to 50 million images.

Canva co-founder, Melanie Perkins, believes its new ‘Netflix for stock photography’ subscription service could dethrone the microstock market leaders, Shutterstock and iStock.

This is Canva’s entrance into the race-to-the-bottom world of microstock. The billion dollar business started in 2012, and offers a free online drag-and-drop graphic design tool accessed via a web browser.

While photographers generally earn peanuts from licensing microstock images, Canva says it will split 50 percent of the revenue with its contributors.

It’s unclear how payment will be determined. Some agencies pay photographers when their content is licensed, but this business model provides unlimited access for users to bulk download images. If Photos Unlimited is really emulating the Netflix business model, perhaps it will pre-license images from photographers the same way Netflix acquires video content. We’ll look into it!

‘We have over 50 million images in our library from contributors across the world, and while you’d usually purchase them for $50 a pop from other providers, you’ll be able to get them on Canva through an all-you-can-eat-style subscription,’ Perkins said to Smart Company. ‘This was something our community really demanded, people who require a lot of image content said they would prefer reliable, monthly invoices.’

The launch of Photos Unlimited ties in with Canva’s acquisition of Pexels and Pixabay, websites offering free stock photography.

‘We had our eye on Pexels and Pixabay. They’ve been on our radar for quite some time after we kept seeing tweets and comments from members of the Canva community about how awesome their products were,’ Perkins said. ‘But things really switched into gear late last year when we started conversations with them.’

Both companies are based in Germany. Pexels aggregates free stock photos onto its platform and also has contributors; while Pixabay’s images come from a generous community of photographers.

The acquisition provides Canva with one million new images, videos and illustrations from a network of 120,000 contributors.

The two businesses will remain free and independent, with Pexels founder Ingo Joseph talking up the synergies between Canva and his free images distribution platform.

‘No other design platform truly believes in the mission of empowering the world to design like Canva, and providing free stock content is central to their mission,’ he said.

One Comment

  1. Mal Austin Mal Austin June 1, 2019

    I read somewhere that being a freelance pro fotog was voted second worst job in the world – well these are the reasons why…how does one make a living anymore when 120,000 jackasses give their [presumably amateur] images away? And then there are the desperate, even big name, guys who are earning much of their income it seems, by teaching people how to become as good or even better than they and maybe steal all their work away…? The words “branch”, “chain saw” and “sitting wrong way” come to mind. After working on and off for months on all the metadata and keywords connected with 7000+ images for Getty, I find not only cheques for less than $500 per quarter in the mail but suddenly they have eliminated 600 of my images. There ARE people making money from images, it mostly AIN’T fotogs, because these people are smarter than us and who’s to blame?

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