Businessmen around the world are watching Facebook’s plummeting stock closely, but perhaps none more so than the folks over at Instagram. The world was shocked back in April when Facebook agreed to purchase the tiny startup for $1 billion, but one key fact is that the price was to be paid in a mixture of cash and stock. Due to the decline of FB stock, hundreds of millions of dollars have been wiped from the purchase price, which is currently valued at somewhere between $700 and $800 million.
The business world let out a collective gasp when it was announced back in April that Facebook had agreed to acquire Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Eric Savitz of Forbes points out that photo publishing company Shutterfly — which has the same market valuation as Instagram — may actually be a smarter buy:
Shutterfly this year is expected to post $582 million in revenue, up a gaudy 137% since 2009. As of the end of March Shutterfly had zero debt and $144 million in cash with another $100 million due to flow in this year. At a market cap of nearly $1 billion, Shutterfly is being told by the stock market that it is worth the same as Instagram, which being acquired by Facebook for $1 bil- lion in cash and stock. While Insta- gram has far more users (30 million), it lacks a few business essentials such as revenue, profit and scale. Instagram has about a dozen employees. Shutterfly, with 1,000 employees, produces photo books, prints and other goods in factories in Phoenix and Charlotte.
An interesting fact from the article: by 2015, Americans will take an average of 322 photos per person per year, or roughly a photo a day.
Leave Instagram To Facebook: Shutterfly Is The Better Buy [Forbes]
Image credit: shutterfly by kate at yr own risk
On Monday Adobe officially announced its upcoming Creative Cloud subscription service, which will allow users to “rent” CS6 for $50 a month or Photoshop by itself for $20 a month. Whitson Gordon over at Lifehacker did some calculations on whether subscribing is actually worth it. Here’s his conclusion:
If you’re upgrading from a previous version of the program, it’s quite a bit cheaper to just grab the upgrade from Adobe instead of subscribing. And, if you can get a student discount (which nearly anyone can do), that’ll be cheaper too—at least in the case of Photoshop, which doesn’t seem to offer a subscription for students. In the case of the Master Collection, the student subscription is cheaper than the regular student version, but still not cheaper than upgrading from a previous version. However, once you get past the two year mark, all bets are off—the subscription is more expensive than buying, even if you plan on upgrading every two years.
[...] our official recommendation is to stick with the retail versions unless you only plan on using your Adobe product for under two years. The subscription is great for the short run [...], but it’ll cost you quite a bit more in the long run.
Adobe’s John Nack also writes that one of the huge benefits of the new model is that it drastically reduces the barrier to entry. Previously you had to pay $700 to get started with using Photoshop. Now the cost is $20.
Is Adobe’s Creative Cloud Subscription Cheaper than Buying Photoshop? [Lifehacker]
Last month we reported that 36 digital pigment prints of photos by William Eggleston had been auctioned off for a whopping $5.9 million. At least one man wasn’t too happy about the news: a New York-based art collector named Jonathan Sobel has filed a lawsuit against Eggleston, claiming that the photographer’s decisions to sell new, oversized prints of his iconic images has diluted the resale value of the originals. Sobel owns one of the largest private collections of Eggleston’s photographs — 192 photos worth an estimated $5 million. He is seeking unspecified damages and also a ban to prevent Eggleston from making new prints of his 1960s suburbia photos.
Last week, a collection of 36 prints by William Eggleston was sold for $5.9 million at auction. The top ten list of most expensive photographs ever sold doesn’t contain a single work worth less than a cool million. Just a few months ago, Andreas Gursky’s ‘Rhine II’ became the world’s most expensive photograph, selling for $4.3 million.
Earlier this week, photographer Jeanine Thurston shared a letter that she received from a client that powerfully illustrates the value of photography. Thurston writes,
This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago. I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now. It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either. If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.
The post quickly went viral and has amassed hundreds of comments from fellow photographers who were impacted by the letter.
Kodak’s stock plummeted again today, losing nearly 50% of its value and closing at $0.78 per share. The company was worth over $30 billion back in 1997, but todays stock price pegs the value at just $200 million. Prominent investors in the company are calling for its sale, but apparently there’s been hurdles in selling off its patent portfolio, and now bankruptcy might be on the horizon. A quote by a company spokesperson a couple days ago caught my eye: when asked why Kodak was struggling in the digital market, the response was,
We have one of the leading digital camera line-ups, including top-selling pocket video cameras with differentiated features, and a wide range of digital cameras that feature the unique “Share” button.
That kind of explains things, doesn’t it? The end appears to be very near…
You probably know that, like computers, digital cameras depreciate pretty rapidly — especially when a replacement model is announced every 2 or 3 years. A sad truth about digital cameras is that the digital sensor inside DSLRs cause them to be more expensive than comparable film SLRs when purchased new, yet less valuable further down the road when purchased used. Ken Rockwell calls this “digital rot“, and writes,
Digital Rot means that a camera’s digital guts rot-out its value in just a few years because you can’t remove the digital guts. Sadly, Digital Rot is a disease shared by all digital cameras.
Buy a film camera and you can shoot it for a lifetime. Buy an expensive digital camera, and you only get a few years out of it before its value rots away.
A “new in box” Nikon F5 film SLR just sold for $1,350 on eBay yesterday. How much do you think a “new in box” 2.7 megapixel Nikon D1 (a camera that cost $5,000 in 2000) would sell for today?
If you’re looking for a fun photography-related way to invest some money, you might want to look into photobook collecting. The Guardian writes that prices have been soaring in recent years, and not just for expensive rare editions:
Photobooks are expensive to produce and, while demand is too small to warrant long print runs or multiple reprints, it is large enough that the books remain desirable, soon become scarce and can eventually be very valuable. This means new editions costing between £20 and £60 can double or triple in price in as little as two to five years. In 10 or 20 years – and if the work of the photographer becomes particularly fashionable – the price may increase even more.
[...] one of the great things about photobook collecting is discovering the work of emerging photographers whose early books may become sought after. A good place to look is among the current boom in self-published titles.
They also list a number of currently in-print photobooks that can help you get started.
Photobooks – affordable collectibles that are soaring in value [The Guardian]
Image credit: Paris Photobook by rthakrar