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WordPress News | 2 May 2024

Shutterstock enters into definitive agreement to acquire Envato for $245 million

Shutterstock buys Envato

The acquisition adds 650k subscribers to Shutterstock, more than doubling its subscriber base to 1.15 million.

While Envato Elements is the hero of the press release, Envato Market (aka Themeforest) plays an important part, opening the door for Shutterstock to the WordPress community. Even so, you need to get to the end of the press release to find a mention of WordPress.

Further diversifies Shutterstock into new content types including code & web themes, product mock-ups, fonts and templates (e.g. Slides, Powerpoint, Keynote, Wordpress, video, designs for social posts, gaming, podcasts and print-on-demand)

The rest of the strategic highlights make interesting reading:

  • Complements Shutterstock’s existing offering with Envato Elements, a leading unlimited multi-asset subscription offering
  • Expands Shutterstock’s reach within faster growing audiences such as freelancers, hobbyists, small businesses and agencies
  • Adds 650k subscribers, more than doubling Shutterstock’s subscriber base to 1.15 million
  • Increases Shutterstock’s Content revenue from video, audio, graphics, fonts and templates
  • Bolsters Shutterstock’s content library with 10 million images, 6 million videos, 1 million audio clips, 0.5 million templates and 0.2 million graphics & fonts

We also learn that Envato generated more than $1.3 billion in earnings for its authors. It will be interesting to learn what plan Shutterstock have for them.

Not an unexpected sale

Having spoken and worked with a number of Themeforest authors, I got a sense that authors were becoming dissatisfied with Envato Market. In an interview with Freemius, Igor Ligay of Stylemix Themes (a Power Elite Author on Envato Market) shared some of the challenges developer face relating to pricing and effectiveness as a channel:

If you are a new developer you need to have another $5000 to spend on your product’s marketing alone. If you don’t market your ThemeForest/CodeCanyon product listing, I would safely say that there is a 99% chance your business will fail.

Other factors are are play, no doubt. One of them is demand for WordPress themes which seems to have peaked about 10 years ago, according to Google Trends.

Google trends chart showing the demand for WordPerss Themes peak around 2014.

Interestingly, the same search for ‘Elementor‘ shows a sharp rise at about the same time searches for themes started to dip. Can we speculate that growing popularity of page builders caused this? That is, non-developers being able to design their own website and not have to buy a pre-packaged theme or hire a dev?  The Block Editor may well have played a part in this story too.

Launching Envato Elements back in 2016 was both timely and a strategic move. To tap into an existing audience with a complementary product, generate additional revenue and build another brand.

What next for Envato Market authors?

Nothing will change any time soon, but it’s fair to assume that Shutterstock will have plans for the long term. Internal changes are likely as operations are consolidated, which may effect both product and support functions.

Envato Market authors should consider other channels anyway. There other other marketplaces, such as TemplateMonster. Or do what  Stylemix Themes did, when they decided to sell MasterStudy LMS directly too.

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