Der Economist hat in der aktuellen Ausgabe mal wieder China auf dem Cover. Die Titelstory über den auch im Hinterland wachsenden Reichtum gibt es nur kostenpflichtig, dafür ist ein Bericht über Chinas Medienlandschaft frei zugänglich: China has over 2,000 newspapers, some 9,000 magazines and 568 publishing houses, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), reflecting the practice of every ministry and party body to maintain its own mouthpiece. More than 700m Chinese listen to 1,000 radio stations, while 200 TV stations broadcast 2,900 channels. China Central Television (CCTV), the state broadcaster, claims an audience of over 1 billion people. Outdoor advertising is taking off and so is e-commerce, with 87m internet users. Yet Chinese media have long been loss-making due to their propaganda role. Advertising spending on TV, radio, print and outdoor, although growing fast, was still less than $7 billion for 2003—tiny when compared with America (see table). China's state broadcasters are heavily subsidised and its myriad government newspapers are financial burdens on the institutions that control them and on readers traditionally ordered to subscribe to them. The government is determined to eliminate losses by attracting more advertising and more paying users. Referring to CCTV, “China realises that the mouthpiece of the Communist Party can contribute to GDP,” says Jamie Davis, president of Star TV in China. Policymakers now recognise that unless Chinese media can win and hold viewers and readers they will ultimately be unable to influence public opinion. Rationalisation is part of the strategy. Earlier this year, more than 1,400 state and party newspapers and periodicals were shut down, merged with commercial groups or forced to finance themselves. At the same time, the government is promoting—as in other industries—the creation of national champions. “China is ultimately determined to turn itself into a global media power,” says David Wolf, a media analyst in Beijing. ... The need for new content and technology is driving Beijing to open its media sector to foreigners. Germany's Bertelsmann had a head start with its mainland book clubs in the 1990s. America's IDG, another pioneer, has a profitable magazine-publishing business. News Corp, Viacom and Time Warner have limited TV broadcasting rights in southern Guangdong province. Further deregulation will benefit these companies most, especially the removal in December of a ban on foreign investment in production companies. Viacom (which owns Nickelodeon) has signed the first joint-venture TV deal: to produce children's programming in Mandarin with SMG. Last month, Warner Brothers announced the first foreign joint venture to produce films in China, which still restricts the import of foreign movies. Advertising groups have more than 330 foreign-invested agencies in China. In June, Britain's WPP was the first to buy a majority stake in a big local agency


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