LONDON — Global entertainment biz Content Media has taken a 50% stake in Finland’s leading factual entertainment production house Aito Media. The deal marks the next stage in Content’s strategy to expand its international production partnerships.
Aito is managed by Ilkka Hynninen and Eero Hietala, who jointly founded the company in 2003. It has produced three of the most watched weekly series ever for Finnish networks, and produces more than 150 hours of content per year, including “The Night Patrol” (pictured), “Different Moms” and “30 Days on the Arctic Ocean.”
The pact will see the production company working with Content and existing partner Small World IFT to share formats and production ideas across multiple territories. Content’s sales team will also work with Aito on the exclusive distribution of the company’s formats and finished titles in the international market. Small World IFT already represents Aito’s hit reality format “The Night Patrol,” which it recently relicensed into Norway.
Aito joins a growing group of production companies within Content’s portfolio, which includes Jeff Collins’ Los Angeles-based reality producer Collins Avenue, Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions in New York and format specialist Small World IFT, founded by Tim and Colleen Crescenti.
Hynninen and Hietala said in a statement, “We’re continuing to see an increase in new commissions, orders for returning shows and remakes across all the major Finnish networks, and now into the wider Scandinavian region, as displayed by the recent re-commission from SBS Discovery Norway for our highly rated ‘The Night Patrol.’ Our new partnership with Content Media has come at the perfect time for us to ensure our production and format development reaches its full global potential.”
John Schmidt, CEO of Content, added, “Our television production business, anchored by Collins Avenue in Los Angeles and Jigsaw Productions in New York, has been growing very nicely, and we welcome Aito to this group. Ilkka and Eero have already achieved impressive results and we’re looking forward to showcasing their talents to an even wider audience as they reach the next level of success.”