VideoBlocks goes beyond moving pictures and announces its stock photo marketplace

VideoBlocks made a name for itself a few years ago when it launched its subscription-based stock video service and — later on — a members-only marketplace for buying one-off clips, too. Now, the company is following a very similar model for its expansion into the stock photo space as well. That new service is now open for photographers who want to contribute their images and will open for users later this year.

As with its video offering, VideoBlocks plans to return all the money it makes from selling images in its marketplace directly to the photographer. It can offer this 100 percent commission because its business model relies more on selling subscriptions than one-off photos. This has worked out well for videos and the company’s CEO TJ Leonard tells me that VideoBlocks now has 200,000 subscribers and that the marketplace has paid content creators $6 million since its launch in 2015. Its video library now consists of four million videos and Leonard expects that number to hit six million by the end of the year.

Another interesting aspect of the new photo marketplace is that every image will be $3.99.

As Leonard told me, this is a “big change but not much of a change at all.” The company, after all, is following its video playbook here — but in reverse. It’s first opening up this marketplace for photos for its members and plans to use the relationship it builds with photographers now to build a member library for a future subscription service.

“We have a model that is so disruptive for both the contributors and members that we believe we can build what is not just a me-too marketplace,” Leonard told me.

The motivation for expanding into photos is pretty straightforward. Now that the company has built a large enough user base for its video service, those users are also looking for photos. Currently, the company offers a small set of images through its GraphicStock service, but that product has traditionally focused on illustration and vector graphics, with less than 100,000 photos in its library.