Ha Wen, wife of CCTV host Li Yong mentioned to Advertising Age that, “the cost of the gala is paid for with CCTV funds, not with advertising revenue. The gala is not a commercial performance.”

“This year the gala is much better without the massive commercials and product placements,” said Yexian An, a 25-year-old female magazine editor in China. “I can’t tolerate the gala being frequently intruded by advertisements, especially the ones that aren’t relevant to me at all, such as white wine.” Yexian has been watching the gala for 20 years. She recalled that, “the drastic advertising years were from 2001 to 2005.”

Local residents watching CCTV. Original image by Adam Young (Creative Commons)

“Most of them are boring and annoying,” said Hao Zhai, a 26 year-old-male viewer who has been watching the gala for 22 years. “I felt like I was losing my patience after seeing three or four of them.”

Similar to the Super Bowl’s rating in the past five years, CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala also maintains over a 30% viewership. This means that about 100 million Americans watch the Super Bowl annually while about 400 million Chinese watch the gala.


Source: China Census Bureau

Source: U.S. Census Bureau