Zinc's 2021 Annual Report reveals better than expected post-lockdown bounce back

Leading factual content powerhouse Zinc Media Group has confirmed a very strong performance in 2021 and a post-lockdown bounceback, according to its annual results for 2021, which are published today.  The successful results reflect the company’s significant investment in new talent and growth into new markets.

The company’s financial statement for the year reflects considerable success, despite the first lockdown between January and April 2021, with the consequential negative impact on TV businesses heavily reliant on accessing people to film. The excellent results were only tempered by the difficult trading conditions in H1 but the Group continued to invest in business development and new hires, trusting that this would deliver growth and profitability in H2 2021 and 2022. This decision has been vindicated with:


  • revenues in the second half of the year increasing by 50% to £10.5m
  • revenues from productions made outside London rising to 71%, up from 58% in 2020, driven by the success of Red Sauce in Manchester and Tern TV in Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • revenue diversification seeing the Group break into the UK multi-channel networks for the first time in 2021, with new business coming from Dave, Sky Arts and Discovery
  • good profitability and cash generation in the second half of the year
  • the Group delivering its first ad-funded series, My Greatest Shot, Sky Arts’ first ever ad-funded programme. Developed in partnership with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, it was Adobe’s first ever ad-funded programme in the UK
  • a number of other notable firsts including: a multi-million pound 52-episode returning series with Channel 5, the Group’s largest ever volume commission; the Group’s first advertiser-funded funded podcast series; the Group’s first audio commission from Amazon Audible; the Group’s first funded development for one of the world’s biggest streamers; and the launch of new TV label Supercollider which won new business from Red Bull and Lego
  • continued success in returning series, the bedrock of any successful TV business, with the Group delivering 13 returning series in 2021, accounting for £5.5m of television turnover in 2021
  • Zinc’s five new businesses, launched to propel the Group into new content creation areas, delivering £5m, or 29%, of Group revenue in the year.


In 2020 the company announced a transformation plan centred around five key areas - revenue growth and diversification; culture; gross margin growth; cash generation and cash management; and shareholder engagement.


Mark Browning, CEO, Zinc Media Group, says: “I’m delighted that our annual report confirms better-than-expected results, despite the extremely difficult business conditions in the first half of 2021.  The focus on our five strategic priorities for success is really paying off.  This may be a financial announcement, but behind each and every notable first delivered in 2021 is a huge amount of drive and determination, all testament to the commitment and talents of the Zinc team right across the UK. 


“Whilst, in 2021, we saw the UK start to recover from the effects of the pandemic, the international commissioning market was still impacted. As the rest of the world starts to emerge from the pandemic, we are continuing to grow our work on the international stage and are thrilled to be in funded development for one of the world’s biggest streamers. The Group continues to win business from an exciting list of new clients, diversifying revenues, increasing margins, hiring new talent, winning awards and innovating creatively. I’m delighted that the fuel facilitating our growth - our balance sheet and our cash balances - have remained so strong, providing the platform for the Group to continue to invest. The size of the opportunity for the Group is significant. Success will come from pursuing organic and acquisitive opportunities, and we are optimistic that our growth will accelerate in 2022 and beyond.”


The balance sheet has remained strong with cash of £5.6m at the end of 2021, demonstrating the progress made under the current management team.


Editorially, 2021 was packed with programme highlights including many ‘firsts’ for the Group. Ian Wright: Home Truths for BBC One attracted very high levels of press and discussion, and is another world-class piece of reputational television. Blitz Spirit with Lucy Worsley, a follow-up to the BAFTA Award-winning Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley, transmitted on BBC One in February 2021.  The Hunt for Gaddafi’s Billions, a feature-length documentary for BBC, VPRO, ZDF/Arte and other broadcasters transmitted on BBC FOUR and was nominated in the category of best current affairs at the International Emmy Awards.  Norma Percy’s series Trump Takes on the World was a three-part series for the BBC and Arte France and other international broadcasters transmitted on BBC One to great acclaim.


On ITV 9/11: Life Under Attack anchored ITV’s coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Twin Towers attack and has been nominated for an RTS award. The Group produced several series for Channel 4 including the returning series Emergency Helicopter Medics from Tern TV for More4, and 50 Years of Mr Men with Matt Lucas for Channel 4.  For Channel 5, Tern TV produced Thatcher vs The Miners and Red Sauce won a mammoth 52-hour commission for Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun from Channel 5, forming Zinc’s largest ever volume commission.  Zinc won its first major new series for the Discovery Group: Spooked: Scotland, Tern TV’s 10-part series for Really. Red Sauce secured its first commission for UKTV and Zinc’s first commission for Dave with Special Ops: Crime Squad UK, and Zinc Communicate won the Group’s first Advertiser Funded Programme, a series broadcast on Sky Arts, funded by Adobe, titled My Greatest Shot and produced by Tern TV in Scotland.


Additionally, the Group made significant progress in diversifying into content for brands and agencies. The Group’s newest TV label Supercollider won its first production, Human Pinball for Red Bull, a stunt action film with YouTube freerunning star Pasha, featuring the biggest freerunning set ever built.  This premium television production was released on social media and Red Bull’s own channels.  Supercollider followed this up by producing social media content for The Lego Group to launch their Lego Stuntz range of toys.


Zinc Communicate launched into the potentially lucrative market of podcasting, building organically from Zinc’s heritage in radio production.  The audio and podcasting business won its first commission for Amazon Audible, as well as its first commercial podcasts.


The Group continues to make significant investments in new talent.  As well as the 2021 appointment of Director Mike Christie to lead production label Supercollider and the appointment of Tanya Shaw as Managing Director, Zinc Television to lead the company’s TV labels based in London and Manchester, the company recently announced a new label, Rex, to fuel its growth in popular factual and documentaries, led by BAFTA-winning programme maker Lana Salah.


Full information can be found here.

Share the news...