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The foreign legion of Canuck distrib’n

Market is dominated from abroad

TORONTO — Foreign film and television continues to take the lion’s share of the Canadian film and TV distribution market, and that share is rising, according to a new study released Friday.

Distrib revenues reached an all-time high of C$2.8 billion ($2.1 billion) in 2000-01, up 13.1% from the year before, says Statistics Canada. Foreign films, mostly in the TV and theatrical markets, took 90% of that, up from 87% the previous year.

Canadian films and television, meanwhile, continue to lose share in both domestic theatrical and conventional TV markets, with the figure falling from 25% the previous year to just 16% in 2000-01.

“This encapsulates all of the problems that are currently facing the industry, and we see these trends continuing,” said a spokesman for the Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. “The bottom line is, it’s a really tough business working against the well-oiled machine of the American entertainment industry.”

The CFTPA and other groups such as actor’s union the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists have long warned of a crisis in indigenous television and film and recommended additional protective measures to address it.

One bright spot in the study for the domestic market is exports. Canadian productions are increasingly popular abroad, with 64% of all Canadian production distrib revs coming from exports, up from 58% the year before and one-third in the early ’90s.

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