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Specialty channels splurge on Canadian content: CRTC

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Specialty, pay and on-demand television services directed $1.4-billion toward the production of Canadian content last year, with sports programming the biggest beneficiary of increased spending.

The services must dedicate a portion of their revenue toward the creation of new content, and higher revenue meant that spending increased by 10 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011. Sports programming led the way with a 22-per-cent increase, helped by spending on the London Olympics by Canadian broadcasters.

"Spending on Canadian programming included $221-million for news programs, $233-million for programs of national interest (drama series, long-form documentaries, and Canadian award shows), $486-million for sports programming, $109-million for human-interest programming, and $241-million for other types of programming," according to a report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

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The CRTC said pretax profits in the industry were $916.6-million in 2012, down slightly from $934.2-million the year before. And while national advertising increased for the third year in a row to $1.2-billion, it only increased by 2.4 per cent compared to a 10-per-cent increase in 2011.

The channels generated $3.9-billion in revenue, an increase of almost 6 per cent from 2011, although expenses increased slightly to $2.9-billion The channels didn't do all of the work themselves – the CRTC said they paid $353-million to independent Canadian producers.

"The creation of these programs contributes to the overall Canadian economy by giving employment opportunities to all those involved in the production sector, including performers, writers, musicians, designers, directors, producers and experts in the production crafts," the CRTC stated.

The channels also spent more on non-Canadian programming, at $293-million compared to $278-million in the year before.

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