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The Democratization of Content Creation

How Shutterstock is mining a global talent pool and creating a dent in the content creation industry

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

They say two heads are better than one. So how about more than a million heads? That would make you unstoppable, right? Well, in the case of Shutterstock, which has 1.6 million contributors and content that has been downloaded for use more than a billion times, world domination is still pretty far off.

This army of creators and collection of content is no doubt impressive, but the company realised that it wasn’t being used to its fullest potential. That’s where Aiden Darné comes into the picture. Darné is the Global Head of Shutterstock Studios, a new arm of the Shutterstock portfolio that is focused on original content.

“Out of that 1.6 million… we have about 20,000 of those that we’ve qualified as part of this global creator network,” Darné says. “It’s photographers, videographers, producers, directors, writers, animators, illustrators. So, at our lowest investment level, we function as a marketplace connecting creators with a brief, and we’re getting to a point where that is scaling even bigger.”

This creator network is what Darné believes sets Shutterstock apart from any other production company out there. It’s worldwide, it’s diverse, and the various skill sets within it mean that any kind of project can be staffed by Shutterstock creators.

But because Shutterstock had only been seen as one thing for so long, it’s been a bit of a struggle to get the ball rolling on democratizing the content creation process.

“It’s been resistance everywhere,” Darné says. “The biggest resistance is we are daily having to work on changing the perception from the industry of who we are, because the beauty is that we have these existing relationships with the massive media companies, agencies, and studios. But the horrible side of it is we have these existing relationships with these studios and agencies and because they see us in a certain light and they’ve been working with us for a long time in that, in that type of relationship. So it’s a daily obstacle.”

How has Darné and Shutterstock overcome this resistance? And where will the power of the network take Shutterstock next? To find out, be sure to tune in to Business X factors.

Business X factors is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by Hyland.

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