Development of Traditional Media
China’s newspaper industry is accelerating its system reform and mechanism innovation, constantly promoting its development and strengthening public cultural services, making considerable headway and historical changes in the areas of development, reform and management.
1. China is a large producer of newspapers. According to the Basic Information of National Press and Publications in 2013 released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in August 2014, the Chinese mainland published a total of 1,915 newspapers with a print run of 48.24 billion copies, 209.78 billion sheets and 44.036 billion yuan in total price. In 2013 the operation revenue from newspaper publication was 77.67 billion yuan and the total profit stood at 8.77 billion yuan.
2. There is a great variety of newspapers with a relatively rational structure. With macro-control and comprehensive regulation enacted in recent years, the structure of Chinese newspaper publication has been optimized and its composition more rational, forming a pattern with Party newspapers as the leader and newspapers for local news, life services, certain industries, specific target readership, and digests developing side by side, catering to the reading habits of readers of different levels. Among the current 1,915 types of newspapers, over 400 are Party newspapers, taking up 20% of the total; about 300 are newspapers for local news, 15% of the total, over 700 are newspapers for certain industries and specific target readership, about 40% of the total; and over 200 are newspapers concerned with life services, about 12% of the total.
3. China’s daily newspaper publishing business has topped the world for years, which has made China the market with the largest newspaper circulation in the world. In the past ten years, among the 100 most widely circulated newspapers recognized by WAN-IFRA, over 20, one fourth of them, have been from the Chinese mainland. According to statistics released by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television in August 2014, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the CPC Central Committee, boasted an average circulation of 3,143,200 each issue in 2013, and Reference News 2,884,700.
4. The business operation of newspapers is undergoing diversified development, as new economic growth points constantly emerge. An operation pattern giving priority to advertising and circulation, with exhibitions, training, industry consultancy and tailored information complementary with each other, is taking shape. Some newspapers have set up branch companies, seeking financing by listing them on the stock market, thus creating new channels for media financing.
5. Stepping up efforts to build more vibrant and competitive newspaper groups. The economic scale of the following ten press groups ranks top — Chengdu Daily Press Group, Zhejiang Daily Press Group, Shandong Dazhong News Group, Guangzhou Daily Newspaper Group, Jiefang Daily Group, Shanghai United Media Group, Henan Daily Press Group, Nanfang Daily Press Group, Hubei Daily Media Group, and Sichuan Daily Press Group.
6. Actively promoting the transformation of newspaper publishing companies into enterprises. The Chinese government is encouraging non-political newspaper publishing companies to change from public institutions into enterprises. Of the first batch of 3,388 such companies on the list, 3,271 have completed this transformation. China is also encouraging transformed publishing and media enterprises meeting the listing requirements to go public as soon as possible. Among the mainland-listed enterprises, 12 companies engage in book, newspaper and periodical publishing. They are Jiangsu Phoenix Publishing & Media Co. Ltd, China South Publishing & Media Group Co. Ltd, Zhejiang Daily Media Group Co. Ltd, Huawen Media Investment Corporation, Chinese Universe Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Chengdu B-ray Media Co. Ltd, Changjiang Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Time Publishing and Media Co. Ltd, Guangdong China Sunshine Media Co. Ltd, Central China Land Media Co. Ltd, Northern United Publishing & Media (Group) Company Limited and Beijing CCID Media Investment Co., Ltd.
7. Meeting the public reading requirements. A total of 18 billion yuan nationwide has been invested in building over 600,000 village libraries, each of which offers free services for readers in rural and ethnic-minority areas with a variety of books, newspapers and periodicals.
Radio and TV industry
The radio and TV industry is accelerating its transformation and upgrading, scoring remarkable achievements.
1. The influence and credibility of reports from radio and television are increasing significantly. In 2013 the televiewers’ attention rate for news programs registered 74.77%, an increase of 8.59% over 2012, which was the first time news programs surpassed TV dramas for TV audiences. During the sessions of the NPC and CPPCC in 2013 the audience share of the CCTV news channel stood at 3.07%, a 65% increase over 2012. Reports series like The Most Beautiful Minds, Attention to This and Chinese Dream innovated and enriched the experience and theory of reporting by telling the appealing, inspiring stories of common yet respectable people. In 2013 over 30,000 public service ads were aired by radio and TV stations, and broadcast about 10 million times, totaling six million minutes. Some of these ads invoke emotions by using real-life narratives, helping to spread positive energy.
2. Major breakthroughs are made in program innovation and improvement. In 2013, the total radio program production was 7,391,200 hours, a year-on-year growth of 2.82%, smaller than the previous year; TV program production was 3,397,800 hours, a year-on-year decrease of 1.12%. But the quality and originality of the programs increased markedly, public service, cultural and original programs are becoming the trend. Radio and TV programs are focusing more on quality and benefits rather than quantity and scale. Quality cultural programs of various types such as Chinese Characters Dictation Competition, Idioms Quiz Show and Super Speaker are emerging. A group of blockbuster variety shows such as The Voice of China, I Am a Singer and Song of China are enjoying soaring popularity, winning the hearts of the audience with quality production, and also improving the overall level of variety shows and their brand effect. The initial market for Chinese TV program formats is taking shape, and some original Chinese TV programs are selling to the Western market and starting to make their way into the list of the best global TV programs, becoming a new force in spreading Chinese culture globally. Radio and TV stations at all levels nationwide are allocating special funds for program research and development departments to institutionalize and normalize innovations and improvements in program production.
3. Modern radio and TV transmission upgrading is speeding up. From 2013 the national radio and TV transmission network has been becoming more digital, Internet-based, interactive and integrated, capable of covering both the center and localities, rural and urban areas and domestic and foreign areas with wireless, cable, satellite and Internet technologies. By the end of 2013 the coverage rate of radio and TV expanded to 97.79% and 98.42% of the population, respectively, with year-on-year growths of 0.28% and 0.22%, respectively. By the end of 2013 there were altogether 153 radio stations, 166 TV stations, 42 educational TV stations and 2,207 radio and TV stations (including 1,996 at county level). These stations produced a total of 4,199 sets of programs, including 2,863 radio programs (excluding CRI’s overseas broadcasting in 65 languages) and 1,336 TV programs.
4. The digital level of radio, film and television is being markedly improved. By the end of 2013 Chinese cable TV subscribers added up to 229 million, with a coverage rate of 54.14%; digital TV subscribers 172 million, taking up 74.95% of cable TV subscribers; and paid-TV subscribers 34,984,100, accounting for 20.39% of the digital TV subscribers. Some 95 million households had access to two-way interactive service, among them over 24.57 million households subscribed to such service. High-definition TV and 3D TV have become standard equipment for digital TV subscribers, and the digitalization of terrestrial television is accelerating, with over 300 cities having completed the launching and receiving of signals. Satellite TV service has been digitalized, providing satellite signal services to13.1 million and 19.09 million rural households via projects of “ensuring direct-broadcast satellite signals reach every household” and “ensuring radio and TV signals reach every village,” respectively. New progress has been made in the digitalization of radio and television programs, for example, programs of CNR, CCTV and CRI have all been digitalized, and the digitalization rate of programs of radio and television stations at the provincial, prefectural and county levels exceeds 90%, 70% and 50%, respectively. Television stations at various levels are making great efforts to promote high-definition program production, and by the end of 2013 TV stations at central, provincial and prefectural levels were authorized to open 50 high-definition (HD) TV channels, among which 44 are SD-HD simulcasting channels, two are HD unlocked channels and four are paid HD channels, increasing the coverage of HD programs nationwide. Film high-tech application is in full swing, which makes China a leader in film digitalization. Film projection in rural areas is all digitalized, urban cinemas have basically digitalized film shows, and the satellite transmission system building in this aspect is accelerating.
5. Public services for radio, film and television are speeding up their upgrading, and the overall level of national public services for radio, film and television is improving. In 2013 public service projects such as “ensuring radio and television signals reach every village,” “ensuring directbroadcast satellite signals reach every household,” “showing films in rural areas for free,” and “building digital cinemas in county-level cities” are being steadily advanced. Projects to ensure that every village has access to radio and television signals have been completed in 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and projects to ensure direct-broadcast satellite signals reach every household have been basically completed in eight provinces and autonomous regions. China is in a critical period for ensuring that radio and television signals are sent to every rural household rather than every village, improving its services and upgrading its service network. In addition to these efforts, some provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, based on their local needs, are implementing projects such as “covering each village with radio signals,” “ensuring offshore fishing boats receive radio and television signals” and “subsidizing poor households to have access to radio and TV signals” so as to make such services cover all households. The national rural film projection project is reaching a new stage along with the adoption of the urbanization strategy, and in many places film projection is changing from mobile to fixed points, from outdoors to indoors and from targeting rural residents to targeting migrant workers as well as rural residents.
6. Revenues from the radio and television industry are shrinking and entering a critical period of transformation and quality upgrading. In 2013 the revenue from the radio and television industry totaled 373,488,000,000 yuan and generated of 324,277,000,000 yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 15.67%. The advertisement revenue takes the lead in all channels of radio and TV revenue, reaching 138,701,000,000 yuan in 2013, up 9.19% over the previous year. Revenue from the cable network was 75,491,000,000 yuan, a year-on-year increase of 14.21%. The average revenue per user (ARPU) was 27.5 yuan per month, an increase of 7.3% over the previous year, and up 4.7% excluding CPI.
China has two news agencies: Xinhua News Agency and China News Service (CNS).
Xinhua News Agency, or Xinhua, is the state news agency of China as well as a global news and information network, and an omni-media news and information service provider. It has 32 branches in all provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities except in Taiwan Province, where it has posted resident correspondents. It also has bureaus in major cities, and bureaus for the People’s Liberation Army and Chinese Armed Police Force, and over 180 bureaus overseas, having built itself into a relatively complete news and information collection network covering the globe. As a multi-functional agency, Xinhua delivers around the clock its news and economic information across the world in eight languages — Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese and Japanese, in the forms of texts, photos, graphics, audio and video communications, and Internet and cell phone delivery.
Over the past few years, Xinhua has been comprehensively advancing its strategic transformation — from producing traditional news products to modern multimedia news products, from targeting media subscribers to reader subscribers, from providing news at home to distributing information worldwide, to set up an omni-media agency integrating news release, newspaper and magazine publication, TV news programs, Internet service, financial news release, new media service and multimedia database service. It is a public institution with five branch companies and some subsidiary companies and newspapers and periodicals operating by market rules. It is gaining increasing recognition and influence in the international media field, and striving to become a modern national news agency with Chinese characteristics and a first-class international omni-media organization.
China News Service (CNS) is a state-level news agency spreading news worldwide, and an international news agency with subscribers in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as overseas Chinese and foreigners. It has 49 branches in China and abroad, and has news release centers in Beijing, New York and Hong Kong. Based on a multi-channel, multi-level and multi-function news release system, CNS provides all kinds of news and information in the forms of texts, photos, videos, Internet and cell phone delivery, 24 hours a day.