Hey Bart, thanks for posting those "mass production image enhancement" companies. First I've seen of them.
Don't quite understand their target market since most of their samples are of family photos and weddings, but I always wondered when those kind of companies would start popping up.
Some of them have been around for a while, and there are more that the two I mentioned (because I have good personal experience with them). Their target markets are diverse, but you can think about internet print facilities (photofinishing labs and photobook creators, but also newspapers and magazine/periodicals producers, such as e.g. Playboy magazine and TopGear to name a couple of popular ones). In short, anyone who needs to optimize huge amounts of images in relatively short periods of time.
And here I've been toiling long hours using Adobe software trying to get the results they seem to get with the click of a button. That is some sophisticated image analysis software to know just what to fix. Wonder how they do it.
Research and focused dedication ... But do not forget that their competences are also about doing things very fast, multithreaded, parallel processing, and networked workflow integration (to cope with the huge volumes and deadlines), so some trade-offs are involved.
Besides, a lot of things take longer than necessary in Photoshop. Some of the PS/LR Plugins are heaven sent, much better quality and faster results.