ITV is set to expand its service after announcing a deal to acquire Dutch TV production company Talpa Media.
The agreement, valued at around £355 million, will allow ITV to increase its presence in TV production to reduce its reliance on advertising, a strategy that can be subject to a high degree of volatility. Officials explained that the deal is expected to completed by the second quarter of the year.
Talpa Media has a main focus on developing new TV formats which can generate big audiences. Founded by Big Brother creator John de Mol, the company has brought shows likes The Voice, I Love My Country and Dating In The Dark to mainstream television. The former has been a huge hit across the world and is currently broadcast in 180 nations.
In the UK, the talent show is televised on the BBC with the current judges including Tom Jones, Rita Ora, Will.i.am and the Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson. Despite the lack of commercial success from winners such as Leanne Mitchell, Andrea Begley and Jermain Jackman, the show remains a major draw for audiences retaining a primetime Saturday evening slot.
Adam Crozier, chief executive of ITV, said: "Great content is at the heart of ITV’s growth strategy and the acquisition of Talpa builds on the success of our international content business and is absolutely in line with our desire to create and own formats that travel.
"Mr de Mol and his team have an incredible track record of doing that consistently over many years and I’m delighted to welcome them to the ITV family."
ITV revealed earlier in the month that programmes such as Downton Abbey and Doc Martin had allowed it to generate pre-tax profits of 39 per cent for the year to December 31st. This meant, including exceptional items, ITV had made a £605 million profit during the past 12 months.
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