ACTRA wants less U.S. fare on TV

Revenue for Canada's broadcasting biz up 6.7%

MONTREAL – ACTRA, Canada’s main actors union, is unhappy that broadcasters are spending less on homegrown programming and more on U.S. fare.

A study from broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission reported that private broadcasters spent C$616 million ($601 million) on local fare last year, down from $609 million the previous year, while spending on Hollywood programming rose 5% to $705 million.

“We need more Canada on TV, not less,” said ACTRA national exec director Stephen Waddell. “We need the CRTC to halt the annual Hollywood spending spree by Canadian broadcasters, where they overspend millions of dollars on American shows sight unseen.”

Revenues for the broadcasting business rose 6.7% to $12.8 billion in 2007, with the increase powered mainly by growth in the cable and satellite business and by a rise in revenue for pay TV channels.

Revenues for the pay and pay-per-view channels increased by 9% to $2.6 billion last year. Revenue for the private commercial networks increased 1.3% to $2.1 billion.

Revenue for the English-language networks grew 2% to $1.8 billion, while revenue for the French-language networks decreased 2% to $372 million.

The CRTC study also reported that Internet use continues to increase in Canada. English-Canadians spent an average of 13.4 hours online last year, up from 11.7 hours in 2005. French-Canadians spent on average 9.8 hours a week online, up from 9.1 hours in 2005. The most popular online activities for Canadians were watching videos (36%), listening to streamed radio stations (16%) and downloading music (17%). Online advertising grew from $878 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion last year.

Last year, 7.7 million Canadians subscribed to cable services and 2.6 million subscribed to satellite services. Revenue generated by the cable operators and satellite companies increased 8.8%, going from $5.7 billion in 2006 to $6.1 billion in 2007.

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