CCTV’s strategy of offering more events and more flexible packaging paid off handsomely as the national broadcaster rang up RMB6.7 billion (US$855 million) in ad revenues from its annual prime time auction for 2007—15.7% more than the previous year.

The participation of more multinational advertisers and keenly sought-after packages leading up to the the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games contributed to the record result.

“As CCTV bidding is the benchmark for all advertising in China, it appears the outlook for 2007 is very optimistic,” was the bullish assessment from media agency Mindshare. “Without question there will be an increase in advertising around the Olympics, and it appears the competitive environment for banking and insurance will be vibrant. Furthermore, the fast moving consumer goods industry will see great activity in 2007. CCTV continues to be the envy of the media industry. But we should expect competitors, such as Hunan, Anhui and Dragon Satellite TV, and local strong television stations to compete with CCTV Prime Time Resources.”

“CCTV is still a powerful brand in China media scene,” says Juliana Tang, national buying director at Carat China. “It still has a monopoly in certain genres, for example, in sports programs. It is also able to secure all the best dramas on an exclusive basis with heavy investment – which is difficult for local and provincial stations.”