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February 2, 2024

Shutterstock acquires celebrity photo agency Backgrid

Shutterstock customers will gain access to Backgrid's 30 million photographs.

By Bron Maher

News, entertainment and stock footage library Shutterstock has acquired celebrity photography agency Backgrid for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will make Backgrid’s catalogue of more than 30 million celebrity pictures available to Shutterstock subscribers.

Backgrid operates in the UK, US and Australia. Recent uploads to its site have included photos of actor Leonardo DiCaprio in character filming an upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film, singer Avril Lavigne exiting a dinner date and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez arriving at a concert in Los Angeles.

Shutterstock said the acquisition will bolster its “coast-to-coast editorial coverage in the United States” and support a “greater strategic vision to grow its domestic and international editorial business as the leading provider of high-quality celebrity news content with the largest network of the world’s top photographers”. Backgrid says it has 1,400 contributors to its portfolio.

Shutterstock chief enterprise officer Aimee Egan said the purchase “further elevates Shutterstock’s position as the premier provider of best-in-class entertainment and editorial content”.

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Backgrid chief executive Alex Kantif said: “This acquisition opens up exciting opportunities for growth and innovation for our global network of photographers, customers and our employees, and we look forward to pursuing them together.”

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In May 2022 Shutterstock bought photo and video agency Splash News, which it turned into its “candid celebrity content” vertical. The company’s vice president of editorial Candice Murray told Press Gazette that paparazzi was an “icky word” and Shutterstock had ushered its photographers away from the practice of “hiding in the bushes” to get their photos and toward “partnering” with celebrities.

[Read more: ‘The demand for content has never been greater’ – How Shutterstock teamed up with celebs to compete with social media]

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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