Shutterstock just sealed a massive deal with Variety's owners

GettyActresses Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Lupita Nyong’o attend the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014

Shutterstock, the £1.4 billion ($US2.2 billion) picture agency that specialises in generic stock photos, just a signed a major deal that could see it directly rival Getty Images.

Shutterstock is now partnering with the owner of Hollywood trade magazine Variety, Penske Media Corporation (PMC), to distribute images and video from events such as the Academy Awards, Cannes and fashion shows.

PMC confirmed this in a statement on its website.

This is a huge deal, as previously Shutterstock mainly concentrated on stock imagery, while images from entertainment events and with famous people can carry a premium. PMC will still retain the ownership of the images while Shutterstock will sell them to its 1.3 million customers.

Jay Penske, CEO of PMC said to the Financial Times that the group sidestepped Getty because his company “saw a better opportunity in aligning the PMC brands with Shutterstock, which we believe to be the ascending platform for imagery and video.
We were also troubled by Getty’s current financial condition, because of its excess debt/leverage.”

According to credit rating agency Moody’s, Getty has £1.6 billion ($US2.5 billion) worth of debt.

Shutterstock already has more than 50 million images and 2 million video clips available and uploads hundreds of thousands of images per week from
over 70,000 contributors.

In May, Shutterstock reported a massive 34% increase in first quarter revenue of £61.4 million ($US97.5 million), from £15.6 million ($US24.7 million) from the first quarter in 2014.

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