Heralding a broadly expanded offering of stock imagery, VideoBlocks has rebranded itself as Storyblocks. The renamed company’s lead offering now incorporates a subscription library with 400,000 images available on an unlimited basis to subscribers, as well as an expanded marketplace of 10 million images that are available for purchase.

Storyblocks screen grab

The company is keeping its existing pricing model, which allows users to purchase marketplace images for use one at a time (the typical price tag is $9.99), or to subscribe for all-you-can-eat access to the subscription library. A subscription is normally $49/month or $149/year, but Storyblocks is currently available at $99 for the first year of service. The marketplace images are not included in the subscription library, but can be purchased by subscribers at a 60% discount, bringing the price down to $3.99 per image.

The existing video and audio libraries are being maintained as separate subsites: Videoblocks by Storyblocks and Audioblocks by Storyblocks. (Each offering requires a separate subscription.) The former GraphicStock library is now part of Storyblocks.

The Goal: A One-Stop Shop

The move to emphasize still image content was a response to customer trends, according to Storyblocks CEO TJ Leonard. “For a long time, the West Coast bought video, and the East Coast bought print,” Leonard told StudioDaily. “But now one in four of our customers buys multiple stock types. We’re seeing mixed use of different visual elements, stills and motion. It led us to the conclusion that we can’t be a one-stop shop, the first and last place a creative goes when they start a new project, unless we’ve got a photo offering that offers as much value and selection as in video.”

By making a big move into stock photography, Storyblocks is entering a highly competitive market — the company itself estimates that photos make up 70 percent of the stock media industry. But a selling point for VideoBlocks has been its policy of returning 100% of marketplace sales to the creators. By making contributors happy, the company was able to further expand its library, which then served as a more effective advertisement for the subscription service. And that goodwill was key to getting a large photo library ready for the launch of Storyblocks, Leonard said.

“The response has been great,” he said. “We are completely oversubscribed through the trust we built with our 100% commission structure in video. And that video success has given us the confidence that we’ve got the right model to crack photography.”

The Future of Stock

What’s next? Pressed for a look at new categories of content that might make up future Storyblocks libraries, Leonard noted that new types of media are being invented all the time. For example, he nodded toward Adobe’s just-announced plan to begin adding motion-graphics templates to its stock library. And he said that fonts could provide a future business opportunity. “Fonts are really interesting,” he said. “They’re a part of every single visual story someone would want to tell.”

Storyblocks: www.storyblocks.com