TV channel hails to revolutionary era in Chongqing

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-05 08:32
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CHONGQING - The country's youngest municipality on Monday replaced TV sitcoms with revolutionary programs to restore fading red morals.

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The move has made Chongqing Satellite Television Channel the exclusive red content provider among its provincial-level counterparts. It even shows revolutionary programming during prime time, the golden advertising window between 7:30 pm and 11:00 pm.

The channel's parent company, Chongqing Broadcasting Group, said it "strives to create the first provincial-level red channel".

The morning broadcast features news and programs about "singing (red songs), reading (classic works) and telling (revolutionary stories)", the channel's website showed.

The afternoon broadcasts include news and classic TV plays that "reflect mainstream social values", such as Mao Anying (named after Chairman Mao Zedong's son), Liberation of the Greater Southwest and Marching Forward for the New China.

The vacuum created by the absence of popular sitcoms will be filled by locally produced programs, including Faith, Review of Classic Movies and Daily Red Songs.

Advertising rates increased with the introduction of what many believe will be less-exciting programming.

A salesman surnamed Zhong with Xunshi Advertisement and Communication Network, a major commercial contractor of Chongqing TV channels, said 10 seconds of hard advertising on the satellite channel cost approximately 120,000 yuan ($18,156) a month - 25 percent more than in 2010.

Higher authorities have applauded the change.

State Administration of Radio, Film and Television director Wang Taihua said in July that Chongqing's cultural and ideological progress, and its experience in promoting red culture, should be emulated nationwide.

"We can't just use ratings as the sole criterion for assessing programming," he said in a meeting with Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai in the municipality.

"Social interests should come first."

Local residents expressed mixed feelings to China Daily.

"I can watch my favorite shows on other channels instead, so the programming shift doesn't matter to me," 24-year-old local businessman Bai Ren said.

Huang Deli, 72, said: "People of my age may find the programs reminiscent of the old days. I watch popular TV shows, too, but it's good to have options."