Move is part of propaganda drive abroad

Chinese pubcaster CCTV has launched the country’s first national Internet-distribbed TV service, China Network Television, a key weapon in a push to expand the web’s reach.

The service, which is part of a propaganda drive to boost China’s image abroad and increase its global media influence, will cover Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Russia.

China is reportedly spending 45 billion yuan ($6.6 billion) on expanding its three main media outlets — CCTV, the Xinhua news agency and the People’s Daily newspaper.

A lot of the competition for China Network Television (CNTV) has been swept away in recent months — the government has shut many websites that provide video downloading services as part of a crackdown on “unhealthy” content.

CNTV offers news, sports, entertainment and online video services Bugu and Xiyou. Bugu provides live online broadcasts, video-on-demand and 24-7 replays of shows. Xiyou is a community where users share their uploaded videos.

CNTV will offer live webcasting of all programs from CCTV’s 20 channels. It will also collate 400,000 hours of shows from CCTV’s back catalog.

The station was opened by the powerful senior politician Li Changchun, a member of the Politburo.

Li described the launch of the IPTV service as a major landmark event for China’s traditional media in its effort to advance into online media.

In July, Xinhua began a trial run of an international English-language TV news service.

China is keen to promote its influence in the world in the way that the BBC, Al-Jazeera and CNN do already.

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