Hollywood subtitle firm gears up for big change

Zoo Digital's CEO Stuart Green
Zoo Digital's CEO Stuart Green
Have your say

Zoo Digital, which provides subtitles for Hollywood film studios, said market changes and new platform launches offer significant opportunity for growth.

The Sheffield-based group said market dynamics favour Zoo, with major US content owners Disney, NBC Universal and Warner Media confirming the launch of their own direct-to-consumer OTT services in the next six months.

Zoo said that this, coupled with Netflix, Apple and Amazon announcing significant increases in their budgets for original content, demonstrates a growing market for exactly the type of services it offers.

Zoo’s chief executive Stuart Green said: “Streaming video - which in the industry is termed Over The Top or OTT - has been ongoing for quite a while.

“It’s completely changed the face of the home entertainment industry, which has moved away from physical products.”

He said the industry is now at a point where it’s going through a second phase in its development.

“Until now the main players in that industry were people like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu,” said Mr Green.

“They built their technological platforms and then licensed content. Now what we are seeing is those big media producers are now introducing their own direct to consumer services.”

Later this month Disney is launching Disney Plus and Warner Media is launching HBO Max.

“These are all new streaming services and they all require content,” said Mr Green.

“There is a big push to launch new services which require new content, to be localised and go into lots of languages and that’s all creating a great opportunity for us.”

He was speaking as the firm reported a 4 per cent fall in revenue to £11m in the six months to September 30, driven by a 75 per cent fall in legacy DVD and Blu-ray services,

DVD and Blue-ray now make up just 3 per cent of overall group revenue. Excluding DVD/Blu-ray services, revenues rose 7 per cent, driven by strong demand for digital packaging and subtitling.

Zoo said it does not anticipate any significant impact on its operations as a result of the UK leaving the European Union.

“We are mostly working for content owners in the US. Freelancers are located all around the world. In both cases, we are not anticipating any significant hit,” said Mr Green.

Around 90 per cent of Zoo’s revenues are generated in the US.

“We don’t sell a lot to Europe. Our headcount is 60 per cent in the US and 40 per cent is in Sheffield,” said Mr Green.