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  Chinese Way>Life

The battle for young viewers

2014-12-18 16:57:11

(China Daily) By Han Bingbin


Judges (top) and Rising Star's host Li Jiaming (above,right).In the program, a studio audience and fans watching on television vote for their favorite singers in real time,using the instant-messaging app WeChat. [Photo/China Daily]

The producer of Rising Star, Enlight Media, says the program will have "a phenomenal effect" given CCTV's audience base nationwide.

"But it comes with a challenge," says Zhang Hang, chief producer of the program and CEO of Enlight Media's TV business.

Unlike top-ranking provincial satellite channels such as Hunan TV, which have a large base of young fans thanks to a series of phenomenally popular entertainment and reality shows, CCTV productions are usually more conservative and serious, and thus have a much older audience base.

"If we were to run this program on Hunan, we may attract twice as many viewers," says Zhang. "But since we didn't make it there, we now have to make the best out of the given conditions. And it means we have to make certain compromises."

When the current season of Rising Star ends, Zhang says his company will conduct an overall evaluation of the program and make adjustments for future seasons. Although audience ratings haven't lived up to Zhang's expectations, he says the program has already helped CCTV attract more young people. According to Enlight Media, the number of people ages 15 to 35 who watched the first episode of Rising Star was 76 percent higher than the usual audience for CCTV entertainment productions.

In order to attract young audiences, CCTV has been working with independent production companies. As one of CCTV's closest partners, Enlight Media has produced several entertainment and reality shows for the company's channels, including the Chinese version of The Biggest Loser on CCTV's business channel and an original teenager talent show Shaonian Zhongguo-qiang (Strong Young Chinese) on CCTV1.

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