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U.K. TV production still falling

Ofcom reports 6% drop between 2008-09

LONDON — Spending on first-run, U.K.-made TV shows continues to fall, according to a report by regulator Ofcom.

Across the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Five spending on new U.K. fare fell by 6% between 2008 and 2009.

Since 2005 there has been an overall decline of 16%, said Ofcom in its annual public service broadcasting report.

Looking at five-year trends for total network budgets, the regulator said that Five, recently put on the market by owner RTL Group, cut its spending by the most — a hefty 27% reduction.

During the same period, Channel 4’s network spend headed south by 8%, while ITV and the BBC both cut their network budgets by 5%.

One of the hardest hit areas was locally produced children’s shows.

Ofcom said that between 2005-2009 coin spent on tyke fare by the main U.K. channels fell by 26% to £108 million ($164.4 million).

However, last year the trend was reversed thanks to an injection of new cash by the BBC, which boosted the children’s budget by $13.7 million.

The Ofcom research indicated that Brits are watching more channels and TV than ever.

But the emergence of digital TV has led to a fall in the five main channels’ share of viewing from 58% in 2005 to 55% in 2009 in multichannel homes.

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