Morning Conference: what the Unsplash sale and the Substack investment mean for you

Some swift analysis on the two big publishing deals of yesterday.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Well, some people got richer yesterday and, let's face it, it wasn't us.

Here's how their immense good fortune likely impacts us.

1. Getty Images acquires Unsplash

There's a pretty good chance that you use Unsplash. Over the past five years, it's become the principal source of free photography for many cash-strapped publications. I have regularly used Unsplash images here, and elsewhere. However, the independent company has now been acquired by Getty Images. Getty is the giant in this space, and don't have a great reputation for the way they deal with publishers.

Why you should worry

If you're a publisher who relies on Unsplash for imagery, I'd start looking at alternatives. There's a whole FAQ on the acquisition that tries to reassure the Unsplash community that nothing will change. However, anyone who has spent any time watching how corporate acquisitions play out will know that every paragraph in that really needs a “for now” appended. At some point, someone in Getty is going to look at how Unsplash competes with its paid offerings, and the changes will start.

The upside?

If you're a professional photographer, this could be the start of some good news…

2. Substack gets a $65m investment round

Axios got the exclusive, but Substack followed up pretty quickly with their own update: the platform has a chunky new VC funding round. Good news for the Substack team, of course, but how about the rest of us?

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