Earlier this year, after years of struggle, Germany-based stock photo website EyeEm went bust. It had stopped paying photographers even before that, but hey, good news – you’ll finally get your money! Spanish platform Freepik has acquired EyeEm, and the first they’re doing is paying the debts.
Paying the photographers
Perhaps you remember the scandal that broke out this summer when EyeEm stopped paying photographers who’d been earning money through the platform. At the time, the company cited “company restructuring” and “global events.” But it looks like they’ve restructured and everything is slowly going back to normal for those who have been left without their payments for the past few months.
Freepik’s CEO, Joaquin Cuenca Abela, told TechCrunch that the company’s top priority would be to finally pay out money owed to photographers and other creatives. If that issue hadn’t been resolved, it would have hampered the future credibility of the platform with the photography community.
EyeEm’s journey has been marked by highs and lows. Founded in 2011, it was once considered a potential rival to Instagram in Europe It had positioned itself as a platform for high-end content creators and photographers to sell their work. However, in recent years, it faced financial difficulties and it finally filed for bankruptcy in August 2023.
Freepik’s acquisition of EyeEm involves the integration of EyeEm’s extensive photo library. It consisted of approximately 160 million images and a community of 150,000 photographers. All of that has now become a part of Freepik’s platform. While the fate of the EyeEm branding remains uncertain, Freepik sees this as a strategic move to enhance its photography offerings.
“We had photos already but ours were not good enough,” Abela said of Freepik’s library of some 72 million vectors, videos, illustrations, and other images. “EyeEm has a big library and community, and it’s a way of getting more photos on our platform.”
Abela highlighted plans to monetize EyeEm’s content further, but also to explore the integration of AI into the platform. “We see many people use AI, and we think of it like another tool, like a camera: some people will be better at using AI in pictures than others,” he explained.
The financial terms of the acquisition haven’t been disclosed. But for scale, it’s worth noting that in 2021, Talenthouse AG acquired it for $40 million. Although, it did devalue it significantly so we can only guess the price Freepik paid to take over.