Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 08:20
CCTV annual ad auction draws banner response

The annual landmark advertisement auction by China Central Television, the country’s sole national TV station, drew active bids from companies targeting China’s consumer market, with consumption playing an increasing role in driving the nation’s economy.

The auction is widely seen as a barometer of China’s economic situation and has gained steady sales growth over the past two decades.

The broadcaster, however, declined to reveal specific bids at this year’s auction.

He Haiming, director of CCTV’s advertising center, said he expects the auction will reap satisfactory results with a growth rate similar to the pace of China’s economic development.

The 10-second ad slot for the daily 7:00pm evening news program was sold for more than 3.5 billion yuan ($570 million) for the year, according to stcn.com.

All the major automobile brands, for example, were present at Monday’s auction. Companies such as Volkswagen AG and Audi AG retained a strong presence in CCTV’s platform, while newcomers like Daimler AG have begun to seek exposure.

“Because CCTV’s advertisements directly influence hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers, we are seeing a trend toward more consumer-oriented companies,” said Li Guangdou, a Beijing-based branding expert.

For 131 million yuan ($21.48 million), Gome Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd claimed an exclusive naming right for a variety show, which promotes attendance at the Chinese Spring Festival Gala.

Zhang Rongzhong, vice-president of Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, a home appliance manufacturer, said his company spent 150 million yuan on ad slots between the weather forecast and Topics in Focus programs.

“CCTV has the highest audience coverage rate, the best audience rating and authority as a national TV station,” Zhang told China Daily after the bidding.

“The golden resources in the golden time is what we are looking for,” he said.

Purchasers could either participate in Monday’s live auction or apply for a negotiated subscription from mid-September to October. The live auction, targeting the big-budget customers, offered the most valuable ad slots.

But this year, about two-thirds of CCTV’s ads were sold through signed subscriptions as the mode allowed different-sized entities to compete for slots and offered diverse ad packages.

Another area of focus was sports. Next year is rife with major sporting events, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the Asian Games and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. CCTV is the sole station in China to broadcast these games, and companies showed great interest in investing in sports-related ads.

Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall threw 142 million yuan at TV spots for the 2014 World Cup.

Tmall’s purchase of ad slots in the World Cup’s top scorer list drew industry attention as it is one of the boldest marketing steps to date taken by the business-to-customer website that is owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Few e-commerce companies had previously spent much on CCTV commercials, but analysts noted that the rapid rise of China’s e-commerce industry is certain to spur more businesses to build up branding on the traditional media platform.

He said CCTV holds advantages over local TV stations in terms of attracting clients.  “If you look at the overall viewership in China, CCTV takes about one-third of the total.”

The CCTV advertising manager also refuted the opinion that the television industry is facing a slump.

“Globally, TV is the largest and most trustworthy advertisement platform out of all media categories, and occupies about 60 percent of the world’s ad market,” He said.

Contact the writers at shenjingting@chinadaily.com.cn and duxiaoying1@chinadaily.com.cn