$1bn acquisition of Instagram by Facebook highlights the importance of photography within social media, says Blipfoto founder

The $1bn acquisition of Instagram by Facebook highlights the importance of photography within social media, the founder of Blipfoto has said.

Speaking to The Drum, Joe Tree, who founded the social network that is based around the sharing of images on a daily basis throughout its community, described the deal as being ‘a serious recognition’ of photography.

“That a small team managed to build such a valuable product so quickly is also to be admired - well done to them,” he added.

“Instagram is still a physically small company with no apparent business model or revenue. So the $1bn valuation is a clear indication of Facebook's hunger to keep control of our social interactions, and the central role it sees mobile playing in the future.”

Tree continued by questioning whether the free-to-use model, which was part of Instagram’s success, continues to work.

“Facebook has paid $37 per user for Instagram's user base - 99% of which I'd wager are already on Facebook - or about a dollar per photo. Facebook goes public next month, and must start to show revenues and profit rising every quarter. Can it really capitalise on these users and their content sufficiently?

“Blipfoto is a very different beast, with a solid user base who already pay for the service. But the success Instagram's had with their quite specific approach shows our appetite to share life through photos. That's very exciting for us,” Tree concluded.

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Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze and producers Harvey Weinstein and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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