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Indie group Zinc Media is to ‘reoriented’ to be more commercially driven business with high-volume and low-tariff series.

The group, which includes factual labels Blakeway, Brook Lapping, Tern and Films of Record, has gone through a period of high staff turnover, with 20% of its 120-strong workforce leaving the past year.

Speaking to investors on Thursday 11 February, chief executive officer Mark Browning said the departures were “necessarily high” last year as it positioned Zinc to “make the radical changes needed to bring future success and build high performance”.

Zinc is actively targeting its development slate towards low-cost, high-volume buyers such as UKTV, Discovery, Viacom and Sky. In January, the company revealed it had £9.3m of business pre-booked for this year, up on November’s £4m projection. 

Former BBC commissioning editor Tom Edwards, who joined the group in September as creative director of new popular factual Red Sauce, is one of several recent hires tasked with winning new business as part of a 'creatively-led, commercially driven' ethos.

Red Sauce effectively replaced labels Blakeway North and Reef, with both label names rested and Blakeway North executives Sarah Murch and Alison Lewis made redundant after 12 years as part of cost-cutting measures ushered in by Covid-19. Zinc also opened a branded content division last year to develop new funding models.

Other high-profile appointments include executive producer Ben Smith and senior development producer Sefunmi Olatunbosun, alongside group chief technology officer Olly Strous, hired from ITN where he secured post contracts for I’m a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice. 

The former ITN post-production director previously secured post contracts for I’m a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice.  

“Olly is known for saving money and winning new business,” Browning told investors. “This is an important hire and underpins everything we do.”

Scottish-based label Tern recently unveiled a 35-hour slate which included multi-part, returning series from BBC Scotland and BBC4.  

Browning was speaking in the same week that BBC2 launched Brook Lapping’s blue-chip factual three-parter Trump Takes on the World, directed by Norma Percy.

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