How Stock Footage Is Evolving With The Media Industry

How Stock Footage Is Evolving With The Media Industry

From VideoBlocks to Storyblocks, PSFK spoke to CEO TJ Leonard about the evolution of stock media

VideoBlocks, a disruptor of the stock footage industry, has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to its unique business model that enables content creators to pay a monthly subscription of $79 a month for unlimited downloads, while simultaneously paying contributors 100% of the commissions made on every sale.

When compared to the industry standard of charging $200 or more for licensing a single clip and taking large cuts of that payout, its no wonder then that the 8-year-old company is doing tens of millions of dollars in sales and has amassed such a large user base. But with the ever-changing media landscape doing what it does best (changing), it was clear to the business that it had to shed the implications that it was a video-centric platform in favor of something more dynamic and media-inclusive.

Storyblocks is the result of an aggressive rebrand dedicated to expanding the company’s content repertoire, chiefly by integrating an image ‘Marketplace’ to cater to a new breed of creator. In tandem with the rebrand, the move exemplifies Storyblocks’ transformation into a one-stop shop for digital storytelling in the multimedia era. PSFK had the chance to sit down with CEO TJ Leonard to discuss the evolution of the brand from a content service underdog into a massive stock library powerhouse.

“For us it really all starts with the decision to rebrand as a move into photo. Taking a look at that decision, what gave us the confidence that it was the right time to build that product was how the profile of the content creator has completely changed over the last five years,” Leonard said. “If you go back some time and look at the people who were buying videos—they were mostly on the East Coast, videographers and such. Photos existed more so on the east Coast with brand agencies. Now we’re seeing a lot of overlap thanks to boutique agencies, digital corporations, small businesses, freelancers. You’re getting a lot of people wearing multiple hats, who need all sorts of file types to power their storytelling.”

Leonard recalls VideoBlocks’ first rebrand from FootageFirm into something more digital and contemporary, and recounts his first time being challenged with balancing the legacy of the brand while moving it into the 21st century. Now, with some experience from the company’s first identity transformation, this time around the pieces seemed to fall perfectly into place.

“We like [the new name] because it doesn’t orient our business around a media type, but rather around our customers and what they’re trying to create with our products. That’s something we really gravitated to: staying true to the same mission we’ve had since day one, which is to empower the mass creative class with studio-quality digital assets, and I think we’ve achieved that once again,” said Leonard. “Given the way the creator profile has changed, we really need photo and video to stake the claim of a one stop shop. The rebrand was pretty straightforward once we made that move.”

The new photo Marketplace draws on much of the company’s success with its video platform, chiefly the idea for an unlimited download, monthly subscription platform, coupled with a member library of over 10 million images that members can purchase à la carte if they’re looking for a deeper selection. The resemblance between the photo and video portions of the platform is of course no mistake; Leonard believes that much of the legwork was already done with the creation of VideoBlocks, and that the main purpose of the rebrand wasn’t so much to change how people navigate the site, sift through media and purchase assets as much it was to change the perception surrounding the brand.

“If you think about this emerging creative class of freelancers, digital marketers, small businesses, they’re mixing different types of content not just some of the time but all of the time. Creative boutiques now focus on digital, rather than a single particular medium. These are the catalysts for the new overlap between media, and the drivers for our rebrand,” Leonard explained. “The marriage of photo and video really sets us up for this chapter of our growth, and with it we’re going to carry our mission forward. Be it content, be it tools, anything we can do to help the creator tell stories, that’s really what we’re aiming for in this transition to Storyblocks.”



via PSFK