We report the effect of substitution of 10% divalent ion (Mn2+, Co2+ and Ni2+) on the magnetization of Zn ferrite thin films. M0.1Zn0.9Fe2O4 (M = Mn2+, Co2+ and Ni2+) thin films were pulse laser deposited on to fused quartz substrate at substrate temperatures (TS) ranging from room temperature (RT) to 750 °C. Some of the films deposited with substrate at room temperature were also annealed at different temperatures (TA). While the bulk samples of similar composition are paramagnetic at room temperature, the films were found to be magnetically ordered. The values of magnetization obtained were dependent on TS and TA, similar to pure Zn ferrite films. However, the magnetization values for substituted films were stable over a much larger range of substrate temperatures than pure Zn ferrite films. The thin films of Co0.1Zn0.9Fe2O4, Mn0.1Zn0.9Fe2O4 and Ni0.1Zn0.9Fe2O4 deposited at TS = 750 °C showed the 10 K magnetization values of 5.8 kG, 4.4 kG and 4.5 kG respectively and 0.1 kG, 0.3 kG and 0.2 kG at RT respectively. These values are to be compared with the reported values of ZnFe2O4 thin films deposited at TS = 750 °C, which showed magnetization value of 0.7 kG and 0.2 kG at 10 K and RT respectively. The magnetic properties of bulk and thin films of M0.1Zn0.9Fe2O4 were explained based on the cation occupancy of A and B-sites. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.