Broadcaster ITV looks to the Nordic region with acquisition of Finland’s Tarinatalo

British broadcaster ITV Plc (LON:ITV) on Monday said it had taken over Finnish factual entertainment, reality and lifestyle programmes producer Tarinatalo Oy, in line with its transformation strategy aimed at boosting international content business.

Financial terms were not revealed.

ITV Studios International’s managing director Paul Buccieri described the acquired business as a very creative producer with strong relationships with Finnish broadcasters and a substantial portfolio of hit shows, as well as a large number of ideas under development.
ITV will work towards the future growth of Tarinatalo, which has so far expanded fast in terms of size, programme genre, licensing and online, he added.

With this move, which follows ITV’s recent buy of Norwegian indie Mediacircus, ITV Studios, with already a presence in Sweden, achieves a footprint in three Nordic countries.

Set up in 1997, Tarinatalo also co-produced the 2007 Eurovision song contest held in Helsinki.

Hans Engholm, the CEO of ITV Studios Nordic, of which Tarinatalo will be part, said in a comment that the Finnish producer has experience in creating and selling formats for the international market, in keeping with ITV’s current goal of building a strong creative business.

Tarinatalo’s chief executive Aram Aflatuni welcomed the transaction as well, pointing out the importance of forming a Nordic creative hub with producers in Sweden and Norway.

Apart from ITV Studios, the British group also operates through its Broadcasting & Online segment.

Britains got talent benefit fraud

THE mother of a Britain’s Got Talent finalist has been exposed as a benefits cheat after receiving more then GBP20,000 in social security she was not entitled to.

Mandy Davis, mother of dance star and CBBC presenter Aiden Davis, today escaped a jail sentence for scaming the system.

The 43-year-old was overpaid GBP20,548 in benefits over a three year period between June 1 2006 and May 22 2009.

Birmingham Magistrates Court heard the mother-of-two was living with Leroy Davis – the father of her two children – as husband and wife during that period but failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions.

When interviewed by officials she said Mr Davis, who she married in January last year, worked away and only stayed with her at weekends, therefore she thought she did not have to declare the change in circumstance.

But JPs took a different view and handed down an eight week prison sentence, suspended for 12-months. She was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over the next 12-months.

Mrs Joanne Good told Davis, who starred at the ground as she was sentenced: “We are making this order because these offences are so serious custody is the only option.”

The court was told Davis, from Birmingham, had received income support since September 1990 on the grounds she was a loan parent and had no means to support herself or her family.

She also sought assistance from Birmingham City Council for housing costs.

But she had been living with her partner, who had bank accounts, car registration, a mobile phone and life insurance registered to her address.

She maintained they did not live together as husband and wife and said he was a good dad and supported their children – who are aged 14 and 22 and still live at home with their mum.

Davis was charged with two counts of failing to notify a change in circumstance and pleaded guilty on July 19.

Since she was exposed, she has been making repayments of GBP350 a month for the last eight months, magistrates were told.

Defending, Abid Hussain told the court Davis had behaved ‘naively’.

He said: “This is a matter which is going to stick with her for the rest of her life and no doubt have an impact on her future employment and more importantly her two children, who still reside with her.

“The two children are probably going to feel the brunt of any attention over the next few days by any press coverage.

“Her belief,perhaps naively, as he was staying over as and when he could, was she did not believe it acted upon her entitlement to benefits but now does accept it did.”

Davis was also ordered to pay GBP100 court costs in full within 28-days.

Her son Aiden shot to fame after appearing on the third series of the ITV1 talent show, where he finished fifth overall.

He has since performed on the ‘Diversitoys’ tour with dance group Diversity and also presents a new show on CBBC called Friday Download.