China's biggest TV network, CCTV, drew $2.55 billion (15.9 billion yuan) in advertising commitments for 2013, an increase of 11 percent over the amount it attracted a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported the results of an annual auction that the state-run network held this weekend. Last year, CCTV had recorded a 13 percent ad increase in its version of the upfront ad sales market. The latest results came in ahead of observers' projections for a gain of 8 percent-10 percent, which had been affected by China's slowed economic growth in the third quarter.
The paper said the latest strong increase signals continued confidence in China's economic outlook though and marketers' interest in reaching the country's 1.3 billion consumers. Recent moves by Chinese media regulators to crack down on programming by CCTV's competitors and to keep ads from interrupting drama series, which tend to draw big ratings, may have helped the overall haul, it said.
State TV regulators this year cut more than two-thirds of primetime entertainment programs, such as dating and reality shows, on pay TV networks that compete with CCTV, citing "excessive entertainment and a trend toward low taste."
Foreign companies, such as Procter & Gamble, seemed to play a less active role in the ad auction this year, pulling back in favor of online spending, the Journal quoted sources as saying.
This year's largest bidder in the CCTV ad auction was alcoholic beverage company JNC Group, which agreed to spend more than $96 million (600 million yuan) on advertising, it said. Last year's highest spender was competitor Kweichow Moutai with $80 million (498 million yuan).
Home appliance retailer Gome Electrical Appliances offered $34.5 million (215 million yuan) for one of the most valuable Chinese ad slots of the year - a 10-second slot before the evening news in January and February. That period traditionally draws strong ratings due to special Chinese New Year programming.