21 January 2019

Everyone’s a winner as reality shows sweep China

Before appearing in the singing competition series I am a Singer {我是歌手}, Hong Kong Cantopop singer-songwriter Gloria Tang Tsz-Kei {鄧紫棋}, nicknamed G.E.M. (Get Everybody Moving), was not so well-known on the mainland. But she instantly shot to fame with her outstanding performance in the show, and the number of followers on her Sina Weibo account ballooned to 3.9 million in less than a month.

Music reality is but part of the variety show fever that has swept the mainland in recent years. Joining the bandwagon are The Voice of China {中國好聲音}, a clone of the Dutch program The Voice of Holland; China’s Got Talent {中國達人秀}, the Chinese version of The American Idol; parental variety show Where Are We Going, Dad? {爸爸去哪兒} and dating game show If You Are the One {非誠勿擾}. These shows have amassed hundreds of millions of followers across the country, both through TV broadcast and on the internet, according to a Hong Kong Economic Journal report.

Unsurprisingly, producers and broadcasters of these shows are raking in tons of money, while boosting the advertising industry in a fatigued economy.

Jiaduobao {加多寶}, a Guangzhou-based herbal tea brand, splurged 250 million yuan (US$41.35 million) to be the solo title sponsor for The Voice of China. Laundry detergent maker Liby {立白} snapped up the title sponsorship for I am a Singer after feverish rounds of bidding that ended with a budget-busting fee of 235 million yuan, the report notes.

Liby began spending heavily on sponsoring the show last season, hoping to use it as a platform to raise the profile of the local brand. And it was well worth it. Figures from China Central Television’s (CCTV) CSM Media Research revealed that Liby’s brand recognition climbed 13 percent after the first episode of I am a Singer was aired at the beginning of 2013. Information and measurement company Nielsen’s China branch also confirmed that Liby’s sales surged 66 percent in the first half of 2013 from a year earlier, taking the brand to the second spot in the cleaning agents sector in terms of market share.

Meanwhile, Liby’s arch rival Blue Moon {藍月亮} became the exclusive sponsor of CCTV’s Sing My Song {中國好歌曲}, which was launched on the same day I am a Singer had its nationwide premiere. Blue Moon also spent 73 million yuan to advertise on Where Are We Going, Dad?

With such head-on rivalry among shows and their sponsors, it’s not surprising that the mainland advertising market expanded 9.5 percent in the first half of last year. Household cleansing brands led the charge with an impressive 74 percent surge in advertising expenses. For Liby, money is no object as it tries to grab business from both domestic rivals and foreign brands such as Procter & Gamble.

Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. (300104.CN), the online video portal that created I am a Singer, saw its share prices soar more than 60 percent in less than two months.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]



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