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2016 New Zealand innovation Awards Innovation in Media, Mobile & Entertainment: 90 Seconds

Although it’s been only six years since Tim Norton founded video production company 90 Seconds, the company has already produced more than 10,000 videos for more than 1,000 brands in 70 countries, including Paypal, Virgin, Google, Sony and Barclays and many, many more. And, earlier this year, 90 Seconds secured an $11 million investment led by one of the world’s very top venture capital firms, Sequoia.

With all those videos and all that funding, the company seems well on its way to becoming Aotearoa’s Next Big Thing, which is especially impressive given that, at the lowest point of his career, Norton found himself $750,000 in debt. Today the company has offices in Auckland, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo and London, with plans on opening in Berlin, New York and San Francisco in the near future.

Tim Norton.

What separates 90 Seconds from the countless other players in the video production market is its embrace of the cloud. Clients can easily purchase and manage shoots using 90 Seconds’ easy-to-navigate platform, and then the whole process is managed through the cloud. That works also for ‘creators’ – the people who actually make the videos for clients. It’s an example of the ‘gig economy’, where freelancers can pick up jobs producing videos for clients if they’re registered with the site.

More than 5,000 freelancers have used the site so far, which has been featured by international media including the likes of the BBC for its potential to disrupt the video production industry by eliminating the middleman in getting videos made. Sound somewhat similar to what Uber does with taxis or Airbnb with holiday accommodation?

General manager Marcus Wild says innovation can’t come without risks. Earlier this year in Auckland, he explained his company’s approach. “Think about, ‘how can I take the biggest possible risk and maybe get fired?’ Take a risk and do something different.”

Giving customers surprises they don’t expect, thinking about your customers and being where they are, amplifying the customer’s voice and actually listening to what they have to say are all also good rules to follow, explains Wild.

And another important element of innovation? “Have fun.  If you’re having fun, your customers are too.”


This is a very exciting venture that is clearly disruptive. I love how the business has been designed around innovating the customer experience at every key phase of the journey and having the outcome focused on customer success.

This story first ran in Idealog 63.
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