Zinc Media raises a further $5m as ‘bulwark’ to Covid & to fuel growth

Inside The Zoo

UK-based factual production outfit Zinc Media Group has raised £4m ($5.2m) via a new share issue, with the investment used to explore growth opportunities and act as a “bulwark” to the impact of the pandemic.

The company – which houses UK prodcos Blakeway, Blakeway North, Brook Lapping, Films of Record, Reef, and Tern Television – had already raised almost $5m earlier this year as part of its plans to expand.

That investment was used to hire new execs including former Sky exec Dominic de Terville, who is heading up a new brand-funded arm, which joined other Zinc divisions including agency unit Zinc Communicate.

“Covid-19 has increased the pace of change in commissioning and opened up new opportunities for Zinc,” said the company’s CEO Mark Browning. “We are now having discussions about all sorts of opportunities that weren’t available six months ago.

“This investment provides a bulwark against further Covid related disruption, even if it extends into 2021, and it means we can now drive forward our growth plans. New markets for content creation are emerging and we see opportunities for further revenue diversification as we expand the kind of content we make both in Zinc TV’s labels and in Zinc Communicate,” added Browning.

The group currently has offices in Aberdeen, Belfast, Glasgow, London and Manchester in the UK, in addition to an “emerging” Bristol base. Browning added that the investment was a “huge endorsement of the progress we have made since January” and would allow the group to “realise our ambitions” next year.

Emergency Helicopter Medics

“Demand for our labels’ programming is extremely strong, both domestically and internationally, and we are getting a lot of traction in the US. Our strategy for 2021 includes diversifying our revenues; exploring IP and format rights; developing our radio and audio business and expanding our Nations and Regions profile. Exceptional creative talent is at the heart of this strategy.”

Zinc’s stable of indies continued to win new commissions during the pandemic, including recommissions from the BBC for Beechgrove Garden, Britain’s Lost Masterpieces and The People’s News. ViacomCBS-owned Channel 5 also returned for more History Of Britain With Tony Robinson, Bargain Loving Brits In The Sun and The World’s Funniest Ads With Jason Manford.

Zinc was established as a new corporate brand for UK-based Ten Alps in 2016, after the company was recapitalised in 2015 following an uncertain period wrestling with debt. At that stage, founder Bob Geldof exited the business. The rebranded group continued its acquisition activities, picking up firms including Tern Television and corporate video producer Straker Films.

Its shows also include Brook Lapping’s Inside Europe: Ten Years Of Turmoil for BBC Two, Blakeway’s Lost Cities With Albert Lin for National Geographic, and Fighter Pilots: The Real Top Gun for ITV. Other IP on the slate includes Films of Record’s The Trans Women Athlete Dispute With Martina Navratilova for BBC One, BBC Scotland’s Inside The Zoo and Tern Television’s Emergency Helicopter Medics for More 4.

The closing of the fund raise is conditional upon all necessary resolutions being passed by Zinc Media’s shareholders at an upcoming general meeting in November.

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