Posted by Laura Fitch on November 23, 2009 03:20 PM
No Chinese television station reaches more people than China Central Television (CCTV). From the far western mountains, to the humid southern provinces, to the rich eastern seaboard, every Zhou, Li, and Wang with a television watches CCTV.
CCTV’s annual ad auction serves as a "broad barometer of the Chinese economy and an indicator of the health of the country's consumer sector," reports the Wall Street Journal. CCTV’s recent auction saw ad sales soar 18.5% above last year's tally. The first bid went to liquor producer Sichuan Lang Jiu for a cool 33.3 million yuan (just over $4.8 million) for a slot in a program linked to the World Cup.
Initially, most Chinese media was local, with early TV stations broadcasting in regional dialects. In 1958, the Chinese government launched what would become CCTV to disperse propaganda for the Communist Party, programming in the official language of Mandarin. Establishing a network to broadcast CCTV around the country became a national priority.
Brands can potentially reach more than one billion Chinese consumers by purchasing ad space during popular programs on the station – for a hefty price. As Jiangsu Sunrain Solar Energy Co. chairman Xu Xinjian told the Journal, after his company recently spent roughly 140 million yuan ($20.5 million) on ads, up 40% from the year before:
It’s a bit expensive [but] the power of CCTV’s influence is beyond compare to other media. It’s still worth it.
Mengniu, whose brand image as a wholesome provider of milk products was smashed last year when melamine was found in its infant milk powder, signed on for a series of commercial slots at just under 204 million yuan. Building, or rebuilding, brand trust is best done inside the comfortable confines of a consumer’s home, and both Chinese and multinational advertisers understand that in China, only CCTV has the keys.