Stock media site Pond5 has been known for providing royalty-free content for mainstream TV and film projects like AMC's The Walking Dead and movies such as Iron Man, Thor and Dallas Buyers Club. Ad agencies have taken advantage of its offerings, including Global Hue in its infamous Bob Dylan Super Bowl Chrysler ad. And, producer Ryan Lewis and Macklemore have used Pond5 clips in the Same Love music video and other projects.
But with video production blossoming online, CEO Tom Bennett said—in order for the company to stay relevant—it hopes to expand from a business-to-business clientele to appeal to a creator-to-creator (or C2C) online video market, growing its user base of app developer, YouTube and digital producers in general. While it's entering a space already populated by strong competitors like Shutterstock, Bennett believes there's plenty of room.
"For the first time in human history, virtually everybody has access to the tools to produce, consume, and distribute video and other rich media, so the market for stock media is growing at an incredible clip," he explained. "For anybody producing media, stock footage and other pre-created elements allow them to do it more quickly and less expensively, and with a much broader set of creative options."
On Wednesday, the New York-based company announced that it raised $61 million in equity financing from venture capital and private equity firms Accel Partners and Stripes Group. Accel Partners vp John Locke said it had been trying to invest in the stock media outlet for quite some time.
"Major film studios and TV networks don't have a stranglehold on great video content anymore as evidenced by the success of YouTube channels, Netflix, Vox, Vice, etc.," he said. "And Pond5 is enabling all of these emerging producers to put out rich content without huge production budgets."
Bennett added that the new funds will go toward doubling the Pond5 team over the next year. The player hopes to focus on improving its product, building its collection and increasing marketing for its artist clients.
"We will continue to focus on what we've been doing for the past eight years, but hopefully be able to move a little more quickly," he said. "We have a number of product updates planned for, including a revamped mobile app and improved tools for sellers."