China pays local radio and TV stations to broadcast their content

(Image source: BBC)

(Source: The Independent via Andy Sennitt)

“The BBC has warned that China poses a “direct threat” to its global reach by paying incentives to local broadcast companies to prioritise its state-funded CCTV service over other international networks.

Peter Horrocks, the Director of the BBC’s World Service Group, told The Independent that the BBC’s distribution network was in danger from the hugely-ambitious CCTV and its deep financial resources.

“What the Chinese do is to pay local radio and TV stations to take their content,” he said in an interview with The Independent. “If you are a poor TV station in Tanzania and someone from China comes along and says ‘Will you take this content in Swahili?’ then you are quite likely to take it – so it’s a real threat to the future of the World Service’s content.”

As shortwave radio has become less widely used, the BBC has become increasingly dependent on local distribution partners for its radio and television output in large parts of the developing world. Around 40 per cent of the BBC’s global content is distributed through such intermediaries. “Locally distributed content is a very significant proportion of our overall audience,” said Horrocks. The BBC either seeks payment for its programming or provides it for free.”

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5 thoughts on “China pays local radio and TV stations to broadcast their content

  1. Roy Unger

    To compare CRI to the BBC is like comparing apples to oranges. While the BBC is state funded it is nowhere in the same league as CRI as a propaganda outlet. Its more than simply deeper pockets – the Chinese are aggressive users of state funds to promote Beijing’s interests globally, whether in business or in telecommunications.

    1. Keith Perron

      There is a difference between being state funded and public funded. The BBC is is public funded from the TV license. CRI is not funded using public funds but directly from the state. CRI’s budget come from different government departments. They are the Central Committee, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Defense, and the State Administration of Film, Radio and Television. These are the main suppliers of funds. But each of the other hundreds of government departments and other government ministries also provide between 2 to 4% of their annual budgets depending on their size to CRI. One of the biggest mysteries at CRI is no one, not even the president of CRI know exactly what the budget really is.

      The department I headed at CRI for 5 years had a monthly budget of 100,000USD a month. I remember being told 3 months down the line I was not spending enough. The 100,000USD was on paper only, but the reality was it was a bottomless pit.

  2. TP Reitzel

    One state broadcaster bemoaning the deeper pockets of another state broadcaster … oh, pity BBC. Break out the harps … 😉

  3. Keith Perron

    Back in 2003 while meet6ing a group from the BBC World Service in Beijing I told them this is what China is going to do and in many markets BBC content would be taken off the air. Well in the wisdum I mean wisdom of the BBC they told me “Won’t happen because our content is far better than CRI or CCTV content and the audience know that”. I told them yes that may be true. But If a station that was running BBC was offered money for the same slot by CCTV or CRI they will take it.

    When I was heading the overseas relay department at CRI we were paying up to 2000USD for 30 mins of air time. Real-Time China was on 32 stations in the US and another 20 or more in other markets. Our monthly budget was over 100,000USD. Do you really think BBC can compete with that? Not on your life. In a few markets BBC was take off the air to fit us in.


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