CCTV's auction traditionally takes place on Nov. 18, an auspicious date in the Chinese calendar, but this year's event has been moved forward to Nov. 8. The Chinese broadcaster wants to accelerate companies' preparation time and decisions on ad budgets, and leave more time to finalize deals before 2011 rolls around.
Media buyers say CCTV also wants to do the auction, a televised event that generates enormous publicity, before the 16th Asian Games kick off in Guangzhou on Nov. 12.
The auction is seen as a barometer for the health of China's ad industry as well as an important indicator of consumer confidence and the overall economy.
Last November, advertisers like Procter & Gamble Co., alcohol marketer Langjiu Group, and China Mengniu Dairy, committed RMB 10.97 billion ($1.6 billion) for prime-time ad slots in 2010, an 18.5% increase over the RMB 9.26 billion ($1.36 billion) amount pledged at the November 2008 auction.
The timing of this year's auction isn't the only big change. CCTV will permit online bidding for the first time, allowing greater flexibility for agencies participating in the bidding process.
Charm will represent top advertisers
CCTV has appointed local ad shop Charm as the exclusive agency for more than 20 top advertisers at the auction, including the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Citic Bank, Hua Xia Bank, Yunnan Baiyao, Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, Midea Household Appliances, COFCO, Beingmate, Bosideng and Heilan Home Men's Apparel.
Advertisers can only participate in the CCTV auction through an agency. At last November's auction, Charm accounted for more than 21% of CCTV's record-breaking sales volume, making it the auction's largest agency for the eighth consecutive year. In January 2010, Aegis Media purchased a 17.7% stake in Charm. About the same time, Charm formed a joint venture with Aegis to operate its Vizeum media buying division in China.
CCTV has also signed co-marketing deals with two Chinese out-of-home advertising network operators, VisionChina Media and Airmedia Group. AirMedia, an airport advertising business that reaches affluent business executives, will promote this year's auction across its digital media network through Nov. 8, reaching affluent Chinese businessmen on the move.
National promotion with AirMedia and VisionChina
The co-marketing promotion "will give us an unprecedented opportunity to reach thousands of potential advertising clients in China, especially some of the most successful fast moving consumer goods brands," said AirMedia's chairman-CEO, Herman Guo.
AirMedia operates digital frames in 33 major airports, including the 15 largest airports in China. It also operates digital TV screens in 37 major airports, and sells ads on routes operated by nine airlines, including the four largest airlines in China.
In some airports, AirMedia operates traditional media platforms, such as billboards and light boxes, and other digital media, such as mega LED screens. AirMedia will promote CCTV's auction across these platform. In addition, winners of the bids for seven select CCTV prime-time shows will have the right to purchase AirMedia's media platforms at a discount.
AirMedia will ads run on CCTV and take part in CCTV's multi-city marketing road show promoting the auction to regional advertisers. The road show will travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Chongqing and Harbin.
CCTV has set up a similar deal with VisionChina, which operates an out-of-home advertising network on mass transportation systems in 23 Chinese cities that reaches over 40 million viewers daily.
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