The Canadian production industry saw amodest decline in volume in 2003/2004 - down 2.1% from $4.05bn (C$5.03bn) in2002-2003 to $3.96bn (C$4.92bn) - but the bad news was concentrated in thedomestic sector.

According to numbers released today by theCanadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA), Canadian contentproduction was down 7% from the previous year, 12% below the peak reached in1999-2000, driven by a trend in declining foreign investment, particularlypre-sales of Canadian production.Foreign equity is less than half of what it was at that peak.

Surprisingly, foreign location shooting(also known as service production) was relatively stable in the country as awhole, at $1.53bn (C$1.9bn), down only 1% from the previous period; however,service production levels varied widely between the regions, with Toronto andMontreal off by 40% and 50% respectively and Vancouver up 50% - thanks to thelikes of big budget projects like Warner Bros' Catwoman and Fox's I, Robot.

The CFTPA's annual report 'Profile 2005'suggested that preliminary numbers for 2004-2005 show across-the-boarddecreases. At the same time, a post-publication note included in the documentpointed out that the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have increasedtheir labour-based tax credits for foreign productions from 11% to 18% andQuebec has increased its similar credit from 11% to 20%.

It's worth noting that changes in the rateof exchange make the numbers improve in terms of US dollar value. The 2002-2003figure of C$5.03bn figure was worth US$3.17bn in January 2003 when the Canadiandollar was equivalent to US 63 cents whereas the 2003/2004 figure of C$4.92bnwas worth US$3.83bn in January 2004 when the Canadian dollar was worth US 77cents.

By this comparison, Canadian productionvolume was up 20% between 2002-2003 to 2003-2004.