CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala, or Chunwan, is a Chinese New Year special produced by China Central Television (CCTV) shown on the eve of Chinese New Year on its TV channels. CCTV now requires mobile app advertisers with daily active users of at least 100 million. Otherwise, the server would crash upon broadcasting the advertisement.
We all know now how huge and crazy China’s Double 11 shopping festival could be. Yet, after upgrading the servers’ capacity by 3 times based on Double 11 traffic last year, Taobao’s servers couldn’t avoid downtime being the advertiser of Spring Festival Gala 2018.
This year, Baidu gave away 1.2 billion yuan worth of hongbao on CCTV Spring Festival Gala, which crashed the app stores of Xiaomi and Huawei according to Netease News. In this 4.6 hours’ CCTV live broadcasting, Baidu App saw 20.8 billion user engagements with hongbao from 300 million daily active users. It sent 10 million 20.19-yuan hongbao, 1 million 88-yuan hongbao, 100 thousand Baidu AI speakers, etc.
CCTV has different advertising packages for this show. The 10-second midnight time broadcasting auction ad is one of them, which cost 6.8 million yuan in 2005 and 57.2 billion yuan after 6 years. Advertising on CCTV Spring Festival Gala show costs more year after year, going in the opposite direction of its audience ratings. The estimated total ad revenues in 2019 are 1.5 billion yuan (US$222 million).
The ratings maintained above 30% between 2001 and 2017 according to CSM (CVSC-SOFRES MEDIA). Many have got the feeling more people in China participate in Double 11 shopping festival compared with those watching this gala show. But, the opposite is true.
In the 1980s, the main sponsors of the Gala Show were watches, bicycles, and sewing machines. In the 1990s, it was almost the world of home appliances and Chinese liquor such as Confucian Family Mansion Jiajiu (Kongfu Yanjiu) and Gujing Gong. The former became a national brand after advertising on CCTV. And, Gujing Gong’s net profit grew to 1.26 billion yuan in 2018 from 830 million yuan in 2016 advertising on CCTV Spring Festival Gala for 3 consecutive years.
Before 2010, medical health, home appliances, and FMCG dominated the Spring Festival Gala advertising. Beginning in 2015, Internet companies have entered and taken turns. Tencent’s WeChat collaborated with CCTV in 2015 during Chinese Spring Festival Gala 2015 giving away 500 million yuan cash hongbao and 3 billion coupon hongbao. Its WeChat Pay users grew to over 300 million from less than 8 million.