Why Shutterstock is betting on generative AI for the future of stock images

Why Shutterstock is betting on generative AI for the future of stock images

Since its inception nearly two decades ago, Shutterstock has evolved from a platform with stock images to one that also includes libraries of graphics, illustrations, video clips and music tracks. . Recently, the platform has started to embrace content created with artificial intelligence, moving beyond human-made photos to experience images not taken with a traditional camera.

Shutterstock has begun experimenting with the use of generative AI, an emerging innovation that allows users to enter textual “prompts” to generate unique computer-generated digital images. In late October, the company announced a plan to sell AI-created stock images in collaboration with OpenAI, the research company behind the popular DALL-E image generator. And earlier this month, he announced a new agreement with LG to research how AI can be used by marketers and designers and explore ways to label images, reduce manual tasks and pay people whose images have been ingested by the AI.

AI-generated images will be a way to fill gaps in content that are difficult for humans to create, said Meghan Schoen, chief product officer at Shutterstock. According to the company’s recent survey of 3,000 customers and contributors, 35% of customers said they had experimented with generating images from text, 18% said they had used AI for editing, and 18% had said he used AI to draw pictures.

“More than two-thirds of our customers and contributors knew what generative AI was,” Schoen said, adding that the awareness made it clear that “we have to play in this space.”

Generative AI has been around for years, but it gained traction this summer after DALL-E helped over a million users create generative images based on anything users submitted in the area of text. While the technology hasn’t become ubiquitous in marketers’ toolkits, some have begun to explore and discuss how generative AI could be useful for brands and agencies.

According to Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy, some could use the tools to think creatively beyond traditional stock images. Others may want to use the technology to augment and scale projects. He gave an example of what a marketer might do for a campaign based on a photo of a dog.

“They found the perfect picture of a golden retriever,” Hennessy said. “But boy, this particular advertiser would love to have a bone in his mouth. And maybe there’s generative content integration. Say, I want a picture of this golden retriever with a bone in his mouth.

When asked how he would use generative AI in marketing, Hennessy – who was previously head of marketing at Booking.com and Priceline – said the platform could help marketers see what kinds of images resonate with target customers and optimize campaigns by creating AI-made images like those that outperform.

Shutterstock is one of many technology platforms often used by marketers who have announced generative AI tools. Others include Adobe, Canva, Microsoft, and PicsArt. Various startups are also using AI to generate video, audio, and even avatars for brands to use in sponsorship deals, customer service, and training tools.

Because of new generative AI, companies like Shutterstock can help marketers create brand-safe, lower-risk experiences, said Greg Swan, chief creative and strategy officer at The Social agency. Lights, based in Minneapolis. Instead of being afraid of the technology, Swan said marketers should be excited about its potential to help create new types of photos, videos, audio and text. He added that it will become “just another tool in our creative toolbox” if people learn to use it.

“The creative opportunity for generative AI is vast and yet it’s still incredibly early to understand the impact on human creators,” Swan said. “Ensuring attribution and compensation of source material could become a best practice as this technology progresses into the mainstream authoring toolkit.”

Despite the bubbling interest, others say it’s still unclear what the long-term uses might be for marketers. Jordan Fox, head of agency Laundry Service, said he was interested in the potential of the AI-generated images, but added that most were not of high enough quality to meet brand standards. However, he thinks there could still be other ways to use the technology on the road that have yet to be discovered.

“The things futurists think tools like this will lead to are almost never the tools they end up leading to,” Fox said. “It’s always a bit to the left.”

Why Shutterstock is betting on generative AI for the future of stock images

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