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The main channels are strapped for cash and cutting back on original content. But they can’t fill the gap with CCTV footage

The five main terrestrial channels pay for more than 90 per cent of the original content produced for British television. A combination of BBC cost-savings and the collapse in television advertising means this expenditure is declining for the first time. At the current rate, by 2012 the funds committed to indigenous production will have fallen by more than a third since 2004. So how are the main channels responding?

In the first week of August, it became depressingly clear that from now on they are going to acquire as much free programming as possible. The free footage in question comes…

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