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CCTV ad slot auction sees bids balloon

Proctor & Gamble tops list for ad space

China Central Television’s auction of its ad slots for 2007 generated 6.79 billion yuan ($860 million), up 16% from last year.

State broadcaster’s advertising bidfest, which has been part of the ad landscape in China for a long time, used to put off foreign advertisers unused to buying media space to the sound of the auctioneer’s gavel.

Last week, however, Proctor & Gamble topped the bidders’ list for advertising space on CCTV’s 12 channels for the fourth time in a row, spending $53 million, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

P&G has become a big ad spender on other TV stations, too. It recently struck a reported $1 million deal with Hunan Satellite TV to make Gillette Vector razors the title sponsor of two reality shows, and it already has deals with News Corp.’s Star network for the Whisper brand to sponsor a dance show, as well as separate reality-show deals with Viacom’s MTV China and Chongqing TV.

Also high on the CCTV buyers list were Chinese banks and car manufacturers. World Trade Organization rules state that China has to open up both sectors to foreign investors next year, meaning increased competition for domestic players.

With the Beijing Summer Games less than two years away, industry sources suggest the surge in ad spend is Olympics-related.

“Since the Olympic Games will not open until 2008, it is imperative for enterprises to enhance their brand image in 2007,” Zhang Weiyang, professor with the Guanghua School of Management at Beijing U., told the China Daily.

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