Chinese want their MTV, ESPN

BCG survey finds sports, music dominate cable homes

HONG KONG — MTV and ESPN are the dominant foreign-programming channels on cable systems in China, according to the results of a new survey.

Boston Consulting Group surveyed 41 cable stations in China’s top 30 cities and 10 provinces, covering about half of the country’s 51 million cable homes. It found that music and sports programming are the most popular formats when it comes to foreign shows.

BCG vice president John Wong said the results show the significant lead that music and sports have over other categories, as well as the prominence of MTV and ESPN.

“Both channels have solid distribution coverage throughout China and ESPN in particular enjoys high penetration and air time, as it is the only foreign channel currently aired 24 hours per day anywhere outside Guangdong province,” Wong said.

ESPN is available on 21 of the 41 stations surveyed; MTV is on 13.

“Based on this and other studies conducted by BCG, we expect China to continue to open up access to foreign participation in the television industry, albeit with close scrutiny,” Wong said.

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