Pond5: A One-Stop Shop for Video — and Now Photos, Too

Media licensing site Pond5 is drastically expanding the number of assets content creators can choose from its database, as the company is taking its first step to compete against the Getty Images and iStockPhotos of the world. With the addition of 5 million photos to its media library, Pond5 is now a one-stop shop for all the media one might need — including video, music, sound effects and after effects.

Pond5 started as an independent video licensing marketplace for creators that needed supplemental shots to round out their own productions, as well as those that wanted to make their content available to others for a fee. The startup launched with a simple licensing model — give licensees a worldwide, royalty-free license for content in its marketplace — while also giving licensors an attractive 50-percent revenue share split and the ability to set their own prices for content.

Over the years, the model has caught on, in part because Pond5’s library tends to be attractively priced, while also offering its content partners the best revenue split around. But the company didn’t stop at video; the company realized its customers also needed sound effects and music, and began offering those assets as well. Pond5 also recently enabled effects makers to make generic after effects available to other content creators. Since launching in 2006, it has doubled its media library every year. So it’s no big surprise that the company would start licensing images as well.

That said, it’s taking a bit of a different tack with its new photo library; rather than opening its system to allow anyone to make their photos available through the site, it’s partnering with sites like 123rf and striking revenue-sharing deals with them. That has helped it launch the photo portion of its service with more than 5 million assets, rather than having to wait for photographers to start contributing their own assets.

Pond5 CEO Tom Bennett told us in a phone interview that the addition of photos is a natural extension of its media library: “A lot of people have been asking for photos. In general, people who are producing media are not just confined to one area, but they’re doing a little bit of everything.”

Unlike some of the big stock photo sites, Bennett said he didn’t find photos particularly interesting by themselves, but “as a complement on the video side it made a lot of sense.” Photo licensing is a large and crowded market, so it’s unlikely Pond5 will take on the big boys head-on. That said, the addition of new media to work with will no doubt be a plus for its existing customers.