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American TV Series, Not Movies, in Demand

Variety reports that American TV series, not feature films, are the hottest commodity in the international market today. The creme de la creme -- hour dramas like "CSI: Miami," "Desperate Housewives" and "Invasion" -- are reckoned to be pulling in upwards of $1 million an episode from foreign deals.

A just-released study from Paris-based research firm Eurodata argues series are the most-watched fiction genre in most countries around the world. "Among the different fiction genres, note the sharp rise of series, to the expense of all the other genres, to 64 percent of the top fiction audiences in 2005, compared with 50 percent in 2004," the study's authors pointed out. Among the reasons: The study suggests "creative scripts and cliffhanging endings."

The seven major Hollywood congloms belonging to the Motion Picture Association of America rake in upwards of $6 billion a year from their free and pay TV deals outside the U.S. With new-media platforms -- digital terrestrial, broadband, video-on-demand -- set to take off abroad, that figure is bound to climb.

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