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CCTV's outgoing headquarters

China Central Television or Chinese Central Television, commonly abbreviated as CCTV ( ) is the major state television broadcaster in mainland China. CCTV has a network of 19 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers. Most of its programmes are a mixture of documentary, comedy, entertainment and drama, the majority of which consists of Chinese soap operas and entertainment. This station is one of the official mouthpieces of the Chinesemarker government, and reports directly to high-level officials in the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Central Propaganda Department.


CCTV aired its first ever programme on September 2, 1958, under the name Peking Television (北京电视台), after an experimental broadcasting in May 1, 1958. It began its official broadcast on September 2, 1958.On May 1 1973, Peking Television began its colour experimental broadcast in PAL-D system on its second channel on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.The name was changed to CCTV on May 1, 1978.

At the end of 1970s, it had evening programs only, usually ending at midnight. During the summer and winter time, it occasionally broadcasted daytime programming for students (who were on vacation). In 1980, CCTV experimented with news relays from local and central television studios via microwave. By 1985, CCTV had already become a leading television network in China. In 1987, popularity of the CCTV was primed due to the faithful adaptation and presentation of Dream of the Red Chamber. This 36-episode TV series, the first Chinese television drama to enter the global market, is available on DVD and is still very popular. In the same year, CCTV had exported 10,216 programmes to 77 foreign television stations.

Initially, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued directives as to what was appropriate for broadcasting and was not. During reform in the 1990s, the Party adopted new criteria for CCTV: "affordability" and "acceptability", loosening the previous central control. Affordability refers to purchasing ability of programs, and acceptability requires that a programme has acceptable content, preventing broadcasts of material that are against the CPC, socialism or communism, or feature sexual or violent content.

Like many media outlets in China, CCTV had its state subsidy reduced dramatically in the 1990s, and has since found it necessary to balance its role both as a government agency and commercial broadcaster.

On September 2, 2008, the new CCTV Headquartersmarker was opened on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of CCTV.

Today, CCTV has 16 national channels, most of them aired around the clock - 24 hour a day, and a High Definition channel.

2009 fire

On February 9, 2009, Television Cultural Center caught fire on the last day of the festivities of Chinese New Year, killing one firefighter. The blaze rendered the 42-story structure unusable, as the zinc and titanium alloy of the outer skin was burnt. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel was destroyed before its expected 2009 opening.

The fire had implications for the credibility of CCTV, which was already unpopular because of its dominance in the media. The incident was mocked by netizens who reproduced Photoshopped photos of the fire and criticised CCTV for censoring coverage. Pictures of the fire were widely broadcast on the internet, as a result of citizen journalism.


Key staff are transferring to CCTV's new headquarters
China Central Television, which employs about 10,000 people and had an annual income of ¥ 1.2 billion yuan in 2006, falls under the supervision of the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television which is in turn subordinate to the State Council of the People's Republic of China. A Vice Minister in the latter ministry serves as chairman of CCTV. The organisation has relationships with regional television stations run by local governments, which must reserve up to two channels for the national broadcaster.

The network's principal directors and other officers are appointed by the State, and so are the top officials at local conventional television stations in mainland China; nearly all of them are restricted to broadcasting within their own province or municipality—that receive CCTV broadcasts. Its editorial independence is subject to government policy considerations, and as a result, it has been charged with being "propaganda aimed at brainwashing the audience" in its history and news programmes. The letter, written by a number of Chinese intellectuals who also called for a boycott of state media, was posted on a US-based website and has circulated through Chinese websites.

Journalists working for CCTV-9 are under constant pressure to present a positive account of China, according to Anne-Marie Brady's study published in 2008. "In August 2005, a series of items reported factually on coal mining disaster in China; soon after the channel's leaders received a warning from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that its reports were harming China's international image. Following this incident, senior editorial staff and journalists were all forced to write self-criticisms."

Brady says that while the channel's equipment is state of the art, the employees are not well trained in how to use it, so there are frequent errors during broadcast. "The political controls on the station contribute to a general low level of morale and initiative among station staff," she writes.

The organization itself is considered one of the "big three" media outlets in China, along with the People's Daily and Xinhuamarker.


CCTV produces its own news broadcasts three times a day and is the country's most powerful and prolific television program producer.Its thirty-minute evening news, Xinwen Lianbo ("News Simulcast"), is on the air at 7:00 PM Beijing Time. By far, it is the most known and watched news program in China which mainland Chinese watch to keep up with the government's politics: all local stations are required to carry CCTV's 7 p.m. main news broadcast; an internal CCTV survey indicates that nearly 500 million people countrywide regularly watch this program. However, the figure has slumped in recent years; the program has 10% of the ratings market, compared to 40% before 1998 - and around 72.8 million currently watch Xinwen Lianbo.
Former logo of China Central Television
Although news reform has been a prominent feature of CCTV networks, the Evening News has remained relatively the same since its first appearance in the early 1980s, having mainly focused on leaders receiving foreign guests and going on visits to foreign countries, the CPC's leaders having top meetings or conferences, and stories of courage that are supposed to exemplify one form or another of communism. Many important political news stories are broadcast through that program.

Focus is also a popular programme on CCTV, first introduced in 1994. The discussion programme regularly exposes wrong-doing by local officials, which attracts attention from higher levels of government that is taken seriously and hold a meeting to discuss what to do about a particular problem. The programme later announces how the Chinese government has tackled the problem. The programme is a chance for strong investigative journalism.

Its yearly special program of celebrating the Chinese New Year, the CCTV New Year's Gala, is the most watched program. In 2007 research data shows that the Gala was watched by over 800 million people all over the world. It started in the early 1980s. Each year, some singers and comedians become famous because of their single performance that night.

The network, considered the most authoritative in China, is usually the best place for advertisers to win consumer trust of their products - and to compete with local cable channels.

In 2003, CCTV launched its first 24-hour news channel, initially available to cable viewers.

Audience share

China's television audience rose to 1.2 billion in 2007, counting viewers aged four and older. The 2008 Summer Olympics coverage on CCTV resulted in an aggregate 41% audience share across its network. However, as more content is becoming more diversified, there has been some concern that the audience is fragmenting, as the network is losing out to cable, satellite and regional networks. In Guangzhoumarker for example, CCTV programming only accounted for 45% of a weeks viewing, compared to 78% for Hong Kong's TVB Jade and ATV and 80% for Guangzhou TV. Similarly, Shanghai's local stations reported a 71% audience share over CCTV and popular dramas in a large number of Chinese cities were located on regional channels. However, the CCTV New Year's Gala remains extremely popular, which CCTV has at times estimated more than a 90% audience share.


Producing a variety of different programming, China Central Television has a number of different program hosts, news anchors, correspondents, and contributors which appear throughout daily programing on the network.

CCTV-3 (Art and Entertainment) anchors

CCTV-News anchors

CCTV-9 (English International Channel) program hosts


The CCTV channels are listed in sequential order with no discerning descriptions, e.g. CCTV-1, CCTV-2, etc, similar to those channels in Europe and in other places around the world.

All CCTV channels are broadcasted independent. The following is list of the channels with their names:

All CCTV channels are also broadcasted through the following:

Overseas broadcasting

It is possible to receive channels CCTV-4 (Mandarin channel targeted at an oversea Chinese audience), CCTV-9 (targeting an English-speaking audience), CCTV-E in Spanish and CCTV-F in French outside China by using a Digital Video Broadcast signal (plus additional broadcast support together with Dolby Stereo, Dolby Surround, Dolby SR, Dolby Digital Advanced Sound Quality Definition and Improvement System Support, technologized & develop by Dolby Laboratories, DTS (Stereo Expansion Support), and the Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS Support) for digital audio system support. CCTV has just recently switched from analog to DVB primarily due to better signal quality and the ability to charge for reception (about 10 USD per year subscription). The overseas channels are widely available across many cable and satellite providers. The CCTV administration will start a CCTV Portuguese channel by 2010、and a CCTV English-News station by 2011.

CCTV-4 split into three channels on April 1, 2007; one is for China Standard Time, the second is for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and the third is for Eastern Standard Time (EST), in order to improve service for audiences around the world.

On July 25, 2009, CCTV launched its Arabic-language international channel, stating that it aims to maintain stronger links with Arabic nations and that the new channel will "serve as an important bridge to strengthen communication and understanding between China and Arab countries". The new Arabic Channel will reach the Middle East, North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. From September 10, 2009, CCTV began broadcasting its Russian-language channel.

See also


External links

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