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Canal Plus ramps up original programming

French pay-TV operator Canal Plus is planning to ramp up its investment in original fiction programming in a drive to attract new subscribers, with over €40m to be spent this year, according to local press reports.

Canal Plus is investing in new series including Maison Close, which recounts the life of three prostitutes in a brothel in 1870s Paris (the first major costume drama series produced by the pay-TV operator), XIII, an international co-production of 13 x 52-minute episodes costing €25m, and Borgia, a 12-episode drama series costing €30m.

The pay-TV operator, which is providing up to 30% of the finance for these shows, plans to make 50 hours of original shows available in primetime in 2010-11, 10 hours more than the previous year, according to the reports.