Adobe Launches Stock Image Service, Releases Creative Cloud Upgrade

Adobe Systems is expanding into the stock photo and image business.

On Tuesday, Adobe launched Adobe Stock, a stock content service with some 40 million images that's being offered as part of the vendor's Adobe Creative Cloud Software-as-a-Service lineup. Adobe Stock rebrands Fotolia, the online stock marketplace that Adobe acquired in January for about $800 million.

Adobe also announced the 2015 release of its Adobe Creative Cloud applications and services, with significant updates to the vendor's Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, Premiere Pro CC and InDesign CC software, as well as new connected mobile applications for Apple iOS and Android.

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"Creative professionals are consumers of, and contributors to, repositories of stock photos and images," said David Rich, Adobe director of Creative Cloud for SMB, in a phone briefing. The global stock image market is put at $3 billion. And Adobe said that 85 percent of creative professionals who buy stock content use Adobe tools and more than 90 percent of stock content sellers use Adobe software.

Adobe's vision, Rich said, is to create a frictionless process between stock images and the desktop and mobile applications that create and make use of them. Users will be able to launch Adobe Stock from within Creative Cloud apps, access and work with images, and then license them when ready. By linking its new Adobe Stock business with its Adobe Creative Cloud, the vendor hopes to greatly simplify the buying and usage of stock photos, illustrations and graphics.

The 2015 Creative Cloud release includes a broad range of enhancements and new functionality. Chief among them is the improved connections between desktop, Web and mobile apps using the new CreativeSync technology. With CreativeSync, users can begin working in one Creative Cloud application, then pick up the project later in another application with the same files, photos, fonts, settings and other assets available.

Adobe also broadened its support for Android-based mobile devices with Android versions of Brush Creative Cloud, Shape Creative Cloud, Color Creative Cloud and Photoshop Mix. Also new is the Adobe Hue Creative Cloud software for capturing and sharing production-quality lighting and color schemes for video, film and broadcast using an iPhone camera.

Adobe's go-to-market strategy relies heavily on channel partners, including resellers and companies that provide software and services to content creators, said Rob Giglio, Adobe vice president of consumer and SMB sales, in the phone briefing.

Those partners are always looking for new services they can offer their customers, use to expand their businesses and receive incremental revenue, Giglio said. The new Adobe Stock "gives them a way to sell stock images that are perfectly integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud," he said.

Adobe debuted its first Creative Cloud applications in 2012 and ended its development of packaged applications in 2013. While some channel partners were unhappy with that move, others such as Auburn, Wash.-based Zones have embraced Adobe's direction as they focus on the cloud.

"Adobe is one of our key strategic partners," said Jon Allen, cloud vice president at Zones, in a phone interview. "Adobe's commitment to the cloud aligns with Zone's own strategy."

Allen said the CreativeSync technology, the Android support and the enhancements to the Adobe Creative Cloud applications were all noteworthy. And he said Zones could use the new Adobe Stock to build a new revenue stream. "We're going to build a strategy around that," he said, noting that Zones was just briefed on the service Tuesday and the solution provider needed to determine the best way to develop a value proposition around it for clients.

"These kinds of announcements get us really excited about how we can build an enhanced product portfolio that we can take to our SMB and enterprise clients and develop a much deeper relationship with them," Allen said.

Adobe is pricing Adobe Stock for Creative Cloud subscribers at $9.99 for a single image, $29.99 per month for 10 images monthly, and $199 per month for 750 images monthly. Adobe is also offering the Adobe Stock service as a standalone stock service for those who are not Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers.