Canadian indie prods rebound in 2006

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TORONTO -- Ending seven years of drought, Canadian independent producers posted a rebound in film and TV production activity in 2006 thanks to higher sales to U.S. cable channels and other international broadcasters.

Canada's Playback magazine, releasing its annual report on Canadian independent production Friday, said that domestic Canadian production and development spending jumped 21% in 2006 to CAN$1.52 billion ($1.4 billion), compared with year-earlier levels of CAN$1.3 billion.

The 2006 jump in activity represents the first significant increase noted in the Playback survey since 2000, when overall spending reached a record CAN$1.8 billion.

Last year's survey showed that domestic production and development expenditures inched up 2%, from CAN$1.2 billion in 2004 to CAN$1.3 billion in 2005.

The latest report polled 254 independent producers here, many of whom reported higher sales to Canadian and international broadcasters, particularly U.S. cable channels.

Canadian producers, who depend on foreign sales to drive profits, sold more telefilms, miniseries and pilots last year than in 2005.

There also were higher sales of Canadian-made lifestyle and reality TV shows, the survey reported.

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