Deng tributes block out ads in China

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BEIJING -- As the whole nation mourns the death of leader Deng Xiaoping, Chinese news media, especially TV stations, may also suffer some economic loss because of a resultant fall in advertisements.

In the days since the news of Deng's death was announced on February 20, TV commercials - especially those with a happy theme or music - have almost all disappeared from several major channels of China Central Television (CCTV).

On normal days, upbeat TV commercials promoting the sales of alcoholic, soft, and nutritious drinks, medicine, washing detergents, cosmetics, food and women's sanitary protection dominate the prime-time ad space on CCTV's major channels.

However, in the past few days, no ads have aired on TV as CCTV and major provincial and municipal TV stations have been broadcasting long programs in memory of Deng. For instance, CCTV's 7pm news, which usually lasts for 30 minutes, was on February 21 extended to more than 100 minutes, using up time when ads would normally have appeared.

At the same time, Chinese newspapers have been cutting down on the number of ads they publish to make way for articles in memory of Deng.

Even cinemas in Beijing have stopped showing blockbuster foreign movies during the past few days, and many arts performances and concerts have been called off. The hot sellers in China right now are books about Deng and his newly-printed color portrait.

The situation will continue at least until February 25 when a memorial, expected to draw around 10,000 people, will be held in Beijing.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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