China broadcaster brings in record $1.9 billion

State broadcaster China Central Television notched up a 15.5% rise in bids for its annual auction of advertising slots, earning a record 12.67 billion yuan ($1.9 billion), more evidence of the boom in China’s media sector.

The broadcast giant started the 17th annual primetime advertising auction at 8:08 a.m. local time on Monday, Nov. 8 — the number 8 is lucky in China — and ended it 12 hours later.

“The top bidders were from the food and beverage sectors, home appliances, as well as finance and security. There was also an increased presence by the auto and tourism industries,” He Haiming, veepee of CCTV’s advertising operation and management center, told

The first bid was won by the Yurun Food Group, which paid $7.5 million for 60 days of advertising in the timeslot following “Xinwen lianbo,” China’s most popular news program.

Meanwhile, the Shenzhen-listed Wuliangye Yibin Co. distiller paid $60.6 million — the highest price at the auction — to be nine-month sponsor of the clock that appears just before the 7 p.m. CCTV newscast, one of the country’s most watched programs.

The auction is closely watched as a barometer of media business health and is a sure sign that confidence in China is riding high.

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