In Frontpage Featured Content, News, Research
Visual 1st Perspectives
September 2, 2020
PlanetArt acquires CafePress;
Circle Graphics acquires Bay Photo
[Click Download Pictures if images don’t show]
This week no specific theme. The intent was to do a quick roundup of photo & video industry news that jumped out for me. But then a doubler header of M&A announcements was swung my way. We’ll start with this morning’s M&A announcement, followed by yesterday’s.
Which leaves the question: who will buy whom tomorrow?
PlanetArt & CafePress (& Snapfish & Shutterfly). PlanetArt announced this morning that it has acquired the assets of CafePress from Shutterfly’s Snapfish business unit. CafePress is one of the earliest companies in the personalized products space, offering products ranging from T-shirts to mugs to tote bags. CafePress’ products are developed almost entirely by third-party content contributors and are sold on a combination of CafePress’ own sites and custom stores that can be set up by any user. CafePress brings a new growth engine to PlanetArt, already one of the fastest growing businesses in the personalized products space. PlanetArt’s CEO Roger Bloxberg will speak in the Photo Print Product Success Stories panel at Visual 1st. More about Roger and PlanetArt in my earlier posting here.
Circle Graphics & Bay Photo. Last year’s PE capital-infused Circle Graphics acquires Bay Photo. According to Circle’s CEO, Andrew Cousin, “Bay Photo enhances Circle’s presence in the professional photography and artist markets while expanding Circle’s product portfolio into the rapidly growing segments of metal prints, albums and photobooks.” Congratulations to our long-time Visual 1st supporter and this year’s Gold sponsor, Circle Graphics!
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Google. Licensable images. Google’s image search results now include information on whether the found images are free to use or licensable, with a link to the licensor. You can now also filter image results by “All”, “Creative Commons licenses”, and “Commercial & other licenses.” It’s a big deal.
Pixsy & SmugMug. Enforcing licensable images’ rights. 2018 Visual 1st Special Recognition Award winner Pixsy announces a strategic partnership with SmugMug to enable SmugMug members to instantly protect their photo collection with a one-click integration, as well as to utilize Pixsy’s various tools to monitor photos, and to prevent and fight against unlicensed use and copyright infringement.
Popsa. On a roll. UK-based photo print app developer Popsa is on a roll. After introducing a hyper-realistic 3D preview feature of a user’s printed photobook, the company announced integration with Google Photos, including utilizing Google’s signature photo search capabilities and photographic highlights discovery. To top it off, the 4-year-old company announced that its 2020 revenues will exceed $27M. Hear more from Liam Houghton, their CEO, in our Photo Print Product Success Stories panel at Visual 1st, Oct. 14-15!
Meural. Digital photo frames. Meural (a high-end digital frames company acquired two year ago by Netgear) announces digital frames that are WiFi-enabled and can be controlled through Meural’s smartphone app. The Meural photo frame now also supports gesture control and display of Apple’s Live Photos and other short-form (up to 15 seconds) video formats. Meural is known for its integrated sensors that monitor the room’s ambient light to ensure the proper brightness of the displayed images and the frame can automatically set to go to sleep when it’s dark.
Snoppa. 3-axis gimbal camera. You too can be a vlogger for $249. The Snoppa Vmate, a new handheld video camera with a built-in gimbal with 3-axis stabilization, is now shipping. It features an integrated 3-axis gimbal and can record UHD 4K at up to 60fps and HD at up to 240fps for slow motion movies in both horizontal and vertical orientation. The Snoppa Vmate contains a built in Wi-Fi module for connection to your phone. But wait, you want to vlog and include yourself in the movie too? The Vmate Broadcaster Mode allows you to use the front-facing camera on your phone in addition to the Vmate’s gimbal camera, so that you can simultaneously record video of the scenery and yourself at the same time.
Canon & Google Photos. Canon and Google announced a new software integration that enables automatic Google Photos backup of pictures taken with select Canon cameras with Wi-Fi capabilities. The auto-backup feature will work via the Canon mobile app, available on Android and iOS devices.
Fairphone. No need to replace that whole damn phone. Fairphone, the sustainable smartphone manufacturer that tries to make easily repairable devices using responsibly sourced materials, announces the Fairphone 3 Plus, an upgraded version of last year’s Fairphone 3 with improved cameras and speakers. Note that if you already own last year’s phone and don’t want to upgrade to a whole new handset, the Fairphone’s modular design enables you to purchase just the new camera module for around $110 and install it into your existing phone. Wouldn’t it be nice if larger smartphone vendors follow suit?
Xiaomi. Under display camera. How can that front-facing camera be out of my way? Well, we’re moving beyond notch design and punch hole design, with under-display cameras being the next big thing for smartphone front-facing cameras. Xiaomi announced one for their next generation model that they’ll be shipping next year.
Vecnos. 360 video creation app. Vecnos, a spin-out of Ricoh, launches IQUISPIN, an iOS and Android app allowing users to easily create and share short videos with automated motion and effects using images taken with any 360-degree camera. The app converts still 360-degree photos into a several-second MP4 motion video clip that can be easily shared.
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