×

China’s Spring Festival Gala is estimated to have been watched by some 450 million people, according to official sources.

The variety show, produced by China Central Television (CCTV), was aired on Wed Feb. 18, the evening before the annual Chinese New Year festivities, and into the small hours of Thurs Feb. 19.

It regularly draws huge audiences. The 450 million total is a third of China’s population. While the show is celebratory, rather than overtly political, it can contain political messages. This year several of its sketches and ‘cross-talk’ routines took on anti-corruption themes.

Additionally the show was carried by 10 overseas channels – with foreign language versions including English, German and Hindi — and on the Internet.

iQIYI, one of the online platforms carrying the show, said that simultaneous views of the Gala reached a record 14 million, surpassing the company’s previous record set during the 2014 soccer World Cup. “As of February 19, the Gala had been streamed over 70 million times, with total viewership surpassing 40 million and total viewing time reaching more than 50 million hours,” said iQIYI in a statement.

During the live broadcast, viewers posted more than 100 million subtitle comments, on iQIYI.