Many pages would be needed to tell the story of Zinkia, the producer of the sympathetic children's drawing Pocoyo born in 2002. 90% of the company's 16 years of existence would be covered by the misadventures of up until two years ago, the highest shareholder, José María Castillejo. A big man from Spain born in 1962 who defines himself above all as a fervent Catholic and who descends directly from "Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, […] El Cid Campeador, "he recalls in his personal blog. Overwhelmed by debts, the also Count of Floridablanca (among other titles) was removed from the company on June 14, 2016 after the entry of Mexican shareholder Miguel Valladares. It was the end of a trip that the current owners define as a "constant flight forward" of Castillejo, who on the way was abandoned by the creative parents of the drawing, the brothers David and Colman López, and who was more concerned "to cover holes "with the money from the IPO to strengthen the business.
In 2009 Zinkia was the first to debut in the MAB, the market for companies with low capitalization. He made it to 1.92 euros per title and in his debut it was revalued by 24%, which came to capitalize 40 million. I aspired to be the Spanish Pixar. Today is worth less than half and this week announced its exclusion from the parquet, closing a very complicated stage that nevertheless has not been able to knock down the main asset of the company: Pocoyo videos that can be seen for free on YouTube. The company has passed during these years by bankruptcy; He has fired part of his staff – he now has 45 workers -, he has embarked on a war of quarrels between shareholders and a year ago he produced his last videos (26 episodes of the fourth season). But the pull continues: the blue dummy and his friend the pink elephant have 3,000 million views every year, which gives Zinkia revenues of around three million a year, according to its CEO, Alberto Delgado.
That billing is rounded up to nearly five million thanks to the agreements of product sales (merchandising) and, recently, the revenue from hooking to platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
"Unfortunately Zinkia has not known how to match the success of the character with the success of the company. Although Pocoyo still works very well at audience levels ", analyzes Delgado. They have left the MAB, he says, because the direct cost in structure they needed to meet the requirements of periodic information was very high in relation to their income. And, fundamentally, because their contribution is practically flat: in the last months they have moved about 80 daily titles, to an average of 40 euros a day. Being in the market is not going to help them attract new investments either because "there is not as much interest," Delgado confesses. The commitment of the capitalist partner Miguel Valladares, who holds 55% of the securities, is to buy back 19.2% of the floating capital. Of the rest, 10% is in the hands of the patrimonial company of Castillejo and 11% belongs to the Santa María de los Peñones Foundation, controlled by religious relatives of Castillejo.
Does Zinkia have a future? The company does not have more products than the four seasons of Pocoyo, and the last one is missing half of the deliveries, until completing 52 passes. They have failed in their strategy to take advantage, market by market, the potential of the brand by partnering with local operators; this year it will invoice less than the previous one and its image is badly damaged. In his favor, on the other hand, he has some things. It has come out of the bankruptcy without elimination (committing to the deferred payment of the debt in 10 years). It has assumable maturities and has opted to negotiate agreements with large global toy companies instead of going country by country (it is in 150 markets). If it works well, it could reactivate the most neglected part, the core of the business. "We have been solving problems for two years, deactivating the mines that [Castillejo] He had left us. This year we will finish the contract with Bandai [que tiene la licencia para sus juguetes] and we are negotiating to get another agreement worldwide. " With this, the toy company would commit to running the costs of promotion and production of items in exchange for staying with almost all sales. "We have placed ourselves in the hands of a Spanish agent who in turn will work with another agent in China. In that country they have begun to broadcast Pocoyo episodes on television. "
The CEO and former collaborator of Castillejo hopes that the problems are behind and that the founder ends up being an anecdote in the history of the company. "Mix the name of a doll with the adventures of a snake charmer who made forecasts that never came true … He was about to end the company. The day we took control the board was going to approve the creation of a subsidiary in Panama transferring all the assets. Coincidentally, these assets were equivalent to the money that was in the box, two million euros. If that had happened we would not be here talking, Zinkia would be over. " For Castillejos, everything has been a plot. "The fundamental issue is not of shareholders, but of judicial corruption and officials. They have wanted to destroy me by all means to keep a top-level brand, "says Castillejo.