Canadian spending on foreign drama tops $500 million

Industry groups have called on Canadian broadcasters to show a greater commitment to local drama after the release of new figures that show they spent C$505 million (US$508 million) on foreign fiction in 2007.

The financial results for Canadian TV in 2007, issued by communication regulator the CRTC, show the country’s non-public broadcasters generated C$2.2 billion in revenues last year and profits and margins increased.

After a sharp decrease in 2006 the broadcasters’ spend on Canadian fiction increased 4.5% to C$74 million. Industry group ACTRA said this level of expenditure is too low and called for a the CRTC to require that the broadcasters spend 7% of revenues on locally-produced English-language drama.

"Canada’s broadcasters are spending seven times more on buying foreign drama than they spend on Canadian drama," said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s National executive director. "Canada’s public airwaves are filled with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S.-made drama programs and Canadian audiences, creators, and culture pay the price."

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