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23 April 2021

Leading factual content powerhouse Zinc Media Group has announced that its revenues rose significantly in the second half of 2020 and it continued to win new business in Lockdown 3, according to its annual report released today.

 

The Group saw revenues in the second half of 2020 increase by 33% to £9.3m and it reported cash increasing by £3.6m to £6.8m in the 18 months to December 2020. The factual producer has proactively worked to counteract the impact of Covid-19, investing in new talent, diversifying revenues and building a more future-proof organisation.

 

For the 18 months ending December 2020 the Group generated revenue of £30.6m and an adjusted loss of £0.8m due to the impact of Covid cancelling or delaying productions. 

 

Mark Browning, CEO, Zinc Media Group, says: “This has been the most challenging period in the Group’s 20 year history. Like many organisations, our revenues were significantly disrupted by Covid.  However the Group moved very early in the pandemic to reduce overheads with a range of measures including furloughing, salary sacrifice and some restructuring, while continuing to invest in new production opportunities.  As a result we are a more commercially resilient Group, have more creative firepower and increased ambition.  As restrictions lift we are confident revenues will recover further during 2021.”  

 

The Group laid out a clear strategic plan in September 2019 to help fuel the organisation’s growth.  Despite the enormous challenges caused by Covid-19, Zinc has progressed its plan.  Achievements in the period* include:

 

  • A significant push into branded content to leverage relationships with brands and their agencies and further diversify the Group’s revenues. This saw the creation of a Branded Content Division, headed by Dominic de Terville, which has one series in advanced discussions with a broadcaster and a brand funder and ideas in play with all UK terrestrial broadcasters.  This week the Group announced the launch of Supercollider, a new label producing imaginative, ‘genre-fusing’ content for brands and broadcasters, led by Mike Christie.  
  • A strong performance in the international market with 21% of Group TV production revenues coming from international TV buyers and the remaining 79% coming from the UK TV market
  • Major new clients confirmed in the period including A+E Networks, Smithsonian Channel and UKTV
  • The launch of new popular factual TV label, Red Sauce, based in London and Manchester, and the recruitment of former BBC Commissioning Editor Tom Edwards to lead that label
  • A new focus on creative commerciality spanning the full range of factual – from popular returnable series to high value feature documentaries
  • The creation of two new Zinc Communicate production divisions which are synergistic with the television businesses and will benefit from sharing the same workflows and infrastructure
  • Investment in operational excellence including significant investment in post-production facilities, a move to a new creative HQ and investment in HR

 

With multiple bases across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Zinc saw its made-outside-London revenues increase to 58% of turnover while 60% of its workforce live and work outside London.

 

“Zinc has one of the most established and credible ‘out of London’ presences in the UK, with five production bases across the country,” adds Browning.  “We are perfectly placed to deliver high-quality, returnable, series that are made outside London and are extremely proud of our Nations’ expertise.”

 

Over 150 hours of Zinc programming was broadcast in 2020 including: Tern Television’s A Very Country Christmas (BBC One), Britain’s Best-selling Toys with Keith Lemon (Channel 4) and Britain’s Lost Masterpieces (BBC Four); Brook Lapping’s The Curious Life of…. (Smithsonian Channel), Cuba: Castro vs the World (BBC and ARTE France) and Is Your Online Habit Killing the Planet (Channel 4); Films Of Record’s BAFTA-nominated David Harewood: Psychosis And Me (BBC Two and the Open University), The Station: Trouble on the Tracks (ITV) and Sound of Music TV (BBC); and Blakeway’s Tony Robinson’s History of Britain (Channel 5), Tutankhamun in Colour (National Geographic/BBC Four/France Televisions), and Fighter Pilots: The Real Top Gun (ITV).

 

* Zinc’s Annual Report for the period ended 31 December featured the Group’s results

for the 18 months to 31 December 2020, rather than a year. This was caused by the Group’s accounting reference date changing from 30 June to 31 December in the period.  The Annual Report is available to view in full here.