11 Sep 2015 Sean Prior – Microstock Celebrity
Irish videographer and founder & CEO of Wavebreak Media Sean Prior is certainly a quiet achiever. Although his successful company is getting close to its 10th anniversary, he has had very little online exposure so far.
Sean is a low-profile, super nice guy, generous with his time and always willing to help people around him. I want to tell you about the work philosophy that has made him one of the top stock footage producers in the industry.
Entering Stock Footage: Wavebreak Media
Sean entered the stock industry late in his life. He previously worked in sales business development management, but he always had a passion for videography. He got into the field as a hobbyist while traveling.
Soon enough, he discovered the stock footage market and saw an opportunity to break in. He and his brother founded the stock video company WaveBreak Media in 2006.
They describe it as a “compelling visual content production company,” focused on HD video footage but also featuring photos, 3D media, custom animations, and after effects. It was the first company of its kind in Europe.
Local Community Support
Sean’s local community in Cork, Ireland has played a huge role in his success. Wavebreak was financed through the Genesis Enterprise program, an integral support platform for startups coordinated by the Cork Institute of Technology and funded by the Bank of Ireland Seed and Kernel Capital.
Headquartered in the Rubicon Centre, Cork Institute of Technology’s startup incubator building, they grew quickly, adding staff and expanding their business.
Business Model and Philosophy
Sean has stated he doesn’t believe in taking risks in business. He thinks every move should be a calculated bet, and he directs his company with that vision. As I mentioned, he has not had a lot of personal media exposure yes, but when discussing his business, he speaks with a combination of passion and modesty, as you can see in this interview he did for The Stock Performer blog.
Starting his career as a one-man operation, Sean quickly realized how important backend technology would be in running his business smoothly, and the company committed a full year and a lot of funds to develop a custom management system. This was crucial in enabling Wavebreak to produce a large volume of content, expanding to include photographers, filmmakers and various other positions.
In the quantity vs. quality debate, Sean stands somewhere in between. Although Wavebreak’s goal is to produce a lot of content, Sean says that the volume does not compromise the quality of their output. The company dedicates plenty of time and money to pre and post production, using high-end equipment, the most current technology, and international locations and models.
Wavebreak Media is a very team-oriented company. Sean highlights the importance of hiring the right people, empowering deserving employees, and delegating duties in order to run a successful company. Being funded by a local sustainable business program, his predisposition to hiring local talent is also remarkable.
For his business in particular, he highlights the fact that most of his team members come from outside the stock imagery industry, which he considers an asset due to the variety of perspectives they bring to the company, rather than a liability due to the lack of industry-specific expertise.
Some Metrics on His Success
Wavebreak Media has shown impressive growth since its founding in 2006. In 2012, the company made its one millionth sale and simultaneously received another big investment from Bank of Ireland Seed and Kernel Capital to continue development.
In August 2013, Wavebreak launched a new world-class studio in Cape Town, South Africa: The Daylight Studio. Between the Ireland HQ and the South Africa location, they now employ 30 permanent and 8 part-time staff, a notable expansion for a locally funded, two-person startup.
Today, they are one of the biggest providers in stock footage. With over 74,000 footage files and counting, Wavebreak Media has one of the largest lifestyle and business stock video portfolios in the world. They also have a collection of 468,000 photos, but the core of their business is always footage.