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MONTREAL — Canada’s federal regulator will allow broadcasters extra advertising time during original French-lingo drama to encourage more in primetime.

Thursday’s initiative from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) comes several months after it introduced a similar plan to boost English-language drama.

French drama does better than English largely because there is a captive audience of French-Canadians keen to watch programming in their own language.

In sharp contrast to English Canada, virtually all of the top-rated shows in the largely French-speaking province of Quebec are homegrown productions.

But there has been a downward trend in the past few years, especially on the privately owned networks.

The exact number of extra ad minutes that the French networks get will depend on the size of the dramas’ production budgets and whether they are financed by the Canadian Television Fund.

The networks will be able to stockpile extra advertising minutes and insert them wherever they want.

Right now, French networks are allowed 12 minutes of advertising per hour.