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Zoo Digital beats Hollywood strikes blues with new Turkish investment


Zoo Digital Group, the Sheffield-based provider of cloud-based localisation and media services to the global entertainment industry, has announced an additional strategic investment in ZOO Turkey, further expanding the group’s operations in a key growth region.

The company initiated the first phase in its global growth strategy with the launch of Zoo Turkey in November 2021, investing in Istanbul-based media localisation company, ARES Media. Two successful years of partnership has driven significant growth in core dubbing, subtitling and media services, helping to address the increased demand for high-quality Turkish content.

Global demand from major content creators and global streaming services for Turkish content and distribution of non-Turkish titles in the country continues to grow. As part of Zoo’s global growth initiative, the increased stake in Zoo Turkey will support new opportunities to provide an enhanced offering in the MENA region.

The investment will also enable Zoo to secure new talent across its key markets while the transaction will continue to provide greater capacity in Turkey to handle higher volumes of work at a faster rate, and access competitive pricing in all key languages.

Stuart Green, CEO of Zoo Digital, said: “We are proud of the success of Zoo Turkey since its launch two years ago. Our partnership with ARES has facilitated the delivery of high-quality Turkish language services to our customers and we are thrilled to further consolidate this relationship in a key strategic market.

“This additional investment further aligns Zoo with the most important markets for our customers and will ensure we are well placed to meet growing demand for our core services in the years ahead. We look forward to continuing to strategically support Zoo Turkey as part of our long-term growth ambitions in the region.”

Ender Albayrak, president, Zoo Turkey, ARES Media, added: “Since officially becoming part of the Zoo family, we have worked successfully as part of the wider Group to deliver technology-backed localisation and media services to clients. As we see demand grow in MENA and globally, further investment in Zoo Turkey will enable us to enhance our services and ramp up capacity to meet demand.”

The new investment comes despite Zoo issuing a warning in July that demand for its services would likely be lower thanks to the Hollywood writers and actors strikes which it acknowledged were “having an impact on the levels of localisation and media services’ work on new titles.”

In the same statement, Zoo also announced it had been misreporting its adjusted cash profit. The company said it hadn’t been booking supplier costs in the correct way and revised down its 2022 adjusted cash profit by $1.2m,while expecting this year’s to be $2m higher. Analysts forecast the company bringing in $13.4m profits in the financial year ending March 2024 before the accounting change. 

The new investment also comes during a period when many major global content creators are looking to make savings on original content, not least Zoo customer Amazon, which Bloomberg has reported is taking a “hard look” at its spending on originals.

Zoo remained upbeat despite this in its July statement: “Zoo expects to be in an even stronger position with several customers following a rationalisation of their supplier bases with Zoo selected as one of a smaller number of vendors,” the company said.

Hollywood writers represented by the Writers’ Guild of America have now returned to work after reaching a deal with the major studios, although around 160,000 members of the The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists remain on strike.

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