China Central TV hits ad rev high

18% increase fueled by rise in mobile phone advertising

SHANGHAI — State broadcaster China Central Television announced record ad revenue for 2003.

Income from commercials was up more than 18%, fueled by a massive rise in advertising for mobile phones and food products.

Advertising sales at the broadcasting giant — China’s only national TV station — reached 7.53 billion yuan ($900 million) in 2003, compared with $788 million in 2002.

CCTV’s increase outpaces the rest of the TV advertising market, valued at $2.7 billion last year, which saw an average increase of around 11%.

The figures are even more impressive given that they cover the period when an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome shut down business in China.

This year may prove to be more difficult for TV ad sales, however. New rules, which came into effect Jan. 1, restrict the amount of advertising that can be played during peak viewing hours to only 9 minutes an hour. Industry sources estimate that as much of 90% of ad revenue came from these peak hours in China.

Initial reports suggest that some ad buyers may switch to print ads. Optimists point out that rocketing car manufacturing in China may keep ads rising across the board.

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