Zinc Media Group plc (LON:ZIN) Chief Executive Officer Mark Browning caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss what the company does, its typical clients, highlights from their recent trading update and what investors can expect in 2022.
Q1: First off, can you just tell us a little bit more about what Zinc Media does?
A1: So, it’s anchored in television production so about 80% of the group’s turnover at the moment is in television but that phrase slightly masks the reality that you can make television and it not go on a television and we make televisual content for a range of clients. A lot of them are in television so all of the UK main broadcast channels, all the PSB’s, BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and a host of international partners and broadcasters in the US, particularly HBO, Smithsonian, PBS and lots of others and television for big brands and businesses like Red Bull or LEGO.
So, that’s the main part of our production company and we have a publishing business that also is a content making group so we wrap the whole of our narrative around us being a content creating company.
Q2: You’ve recently issued a trading update, can you just talk us through the highlights?
A2: We updated the market saying, as we had originally planned, that we will be profitable and cash generative in the second half of last year, obviously it was this time last year we were all lockdown again, so we are pleased with that performance in the second half of the year.
A lot of the opportunity with the company has been driven by the vastly improved performance at gross margin level, up almost 10 points from when I joined the company which means that we are now confident that when we win business, we win it both creatively well and commercially well. So, a lot of our success in the last 6 months has been driven by very good gross margin management and the return of a market that is desperate for content and storytelling, whether that be for TV channels or for brands and businesses.
Q3: Finally, can you just summarise what investors can expect from Zinc Media in 2022?
A3: They can expect growth and diversification of our business.
So, growth in commissions from our traditional heartlands of UK and international television buyers, diversification with new buyers in new markets outside of traditional TV companies so that might include SVOD and streamers and other platforms that are buying content.
It will include diversification into new markets and I’ll give you two illustrations in the last 6 months where we’ve worked with Red Bull and LEGO producing premium television content, it doesn’t arrive on a TV channel but goes straight to social media.
They can expect diversification into areas like podcasting and, very recently, in the last couple of weeks, we’ve announced our recommission of one of our podcast series for the Six Nations and we’re in production with Universal Music in podcasting. They can also expect further radio production and expansion of our branded content and publishing business.
So, all of our areas of content creation are all showing signs of growth.