Pay TV Investment Boosts Aussie Content

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Original television shows like the adaptation of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet have been made possible by a surge of investment in Australian-made programming last year.

Figures released by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) on Thursday showed a 7 per cent increase in spending on local content through 2010.

While sign-ups to Foxtel and Austar have slowed, the industry ploughed $578.4 million into original programming and now supports more than 7400 jobs.

Ratings winners included the Channel W drama Spirited and reality shows like LifeStyle Channel's Selling Houses Australia.

The Showtime mini-series Cloudstreet, successfully re-imagined from Winton's book, has been sold to a British TV station.

"For the small size of our industry, the vast amount of hours and huge expenditure on productions shows we are making a lot of good new and original programming," ASTRA's CEO Petra Buchanan said.

She said the diversity of content on subscription television had led to "increased levels of viewing across the board".

Light entertainment continues to be the most popular viewing genre across more than 200 channels on subscription, closely followed by kids television, sport and documentary.

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