Sportsworld puts£4m into Zeal Television the new independent formed by Tiger Aspect board director Mark Linsey
Tiger Aspect board director Mark Linsey has left the indie to launch a new company, Zeal Television, backed by£4m from Sportsworld Media Group, writes Simon Ellery.

The sports rights and TV productions outfit is pumping the cash into the indie over the next two years and claims Zeal will have a turnover of more than£10m within a year.

Sportsworld, which jointly owns the rights to the Popstars format and The Pepsi Chart in more than 30 countries, will fold all its non-sports content into Zeal. It is pitching the company as the 'first true global indie' and as a direct rival to Bazal and Tiger Aspect in the UK.

Linsey will work alongside former Mentorn International head of international sales Andrea Jackson who joined Zeal this week as director of international TV sales. The indie expects to recruit several producers and sales staff to form a 15-strong team by the end of next month.

Sportsworld European managing director Peter Christiansen said: 'Zeal will operate independently of Sportsworld while taking full advantage of its financial strength and global capabilities.'

Linsey added: 'Simply living off UK commissions is a very difficult task and international sales and exploitation is essential.'

Talks are ongoing with terrestrial broadcasters over Sportsworld format Search for a Supermodel, which is in production in 11 countries. Zeal is expected to produce the show in the UK.