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Foreign investment up nearly 14%

PARIS — International buyers flocked back to French TV product last year, upping foreign investment nearly 14% to a record high of more than 300 million Euros ($269.7 million), according to figures released today.

While foreign spending on French TV shows slipped 5.9% in 1999, the overall trend has been upward, with investment doubling in five years.

In 2000, co-productions and pre-sales accounted for $154 million, while sales made up another $116 million. Animation accounted for $40.4 million — some 35% of foreign sales — while fiction grabbed the lion’s share of the co-production cash, $62.9 million compared with just $28.7 million last year.

Recent international co-productions include the GMT-produced miniseries “Napoleon.”

Two-thirds of French program sales were made with other European countries; Germany was Gaul’s biggest customer.

The figures are due to be made public today at the French Screenings in St. Tropez, an annual gathering of French TV producers and international buyers hosted by the Gallic industry’s promotional body, TV France Intl.

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