Tuesday, August 30, 2005

China/Movie producer

FT: Beijing blocks film group’s IPO plans

"Plans for a Hong Kong listing by state-controlled China Film Group, the country’s dominant movie producer, have been blocked indefinitely by Beijing authorities amid a tightening of limits on foreign involvement in media and entertainment."

"The decision to bar the listing by China Film, controlled by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft), the Chinese industry regulator, highlights the determination of senior Beijing leaders to limit the pace of opening the media."

Monday, August 29, 2005

China/Tv/Foreign Media Giants

The Asia Times: Sex and the City (and China' s media crackdown)

"So far, foreign media companies have had two basic ways to participate in China's TV market: either through licensing of content or through broadcasting. The presence of import quotas and scarcity of cash available from most TV stations to pay for program licenses has prompted large foreign media companies to aggressively pursue the broadcasting option."

"Advertising expenditure in China has been growing an average of 40% per annum over the last five years, with 2004 ad spending estimated at $23.3 billion and TV ads accounting for an estimated 50% of the total. Companies such as Viacom, News Corporation and Time Warner have therefore been very keen to set up some form of channel presence in the market as a way to tap into the pool of investments available and, at the same time, build up broadcasting assets in what is already the largest TV market in the world in terms of the number of viewers."

"There is, however, a problem: regulations do not allow foreign channels into the country, and ownership of local channels by foreign companies is strictly prohibited. That is why, over the years, some foreign media companies have become very proficient in learning alternative ways to get on local TV sets."

"It is important to note that these media companies are unlikely to have done anything illegal. Rather, they have learned how to fulfill market needs and rely on local third partners to do any necessary ' spadework' . This is a common approach for foreign businesses in China, since the opacity of regulations makes it easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Below are some of the most common workarounds adopted to distribute foreign channels into China."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

China/Foreign Media Giants

The New York Times: Media Executives Court China, but Still Run Into Obstacles

" - - the long-held optimism of Western media companies about venturing into the Chinese market has suffered several setbacks recently. At the beginning of the month, as part of an effort to tighten control over cultural products, China's Propaganda Department, the Ministry of Culture and four other regulators published new rules that further restricted what foreign filmmakers and television companies can do in China. Last week, the News Corporation's plan for a new television channel to be co-owned with a Chinese company was quashed by the government."

"A larger question facing Western media companies is how long the newly tightened restrictions will hold. Pessimists in media organizations worry whether the latest crackdown reflects a longer-term shift under a more cautious Chinese president, Hu Jintao. Optimists suggest that the recent moves are just the latest in a long series of episodic, sometimes short-lived efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to preserve social control."

China/Search-engine company/Baidu

CNN Money: Blue Baidu

"Baidu, the China-based search-engine company frequently referred to as China's Google, went public nearly three weeks ago and the stock soared 354 percent in its first day of trading."

"But since then, it's been all downhill. Shares have plunged 37 percent from the first-day close and are nearly 50 percent below the all-time high of $153.94 a share they hit on day 2."

"Even though the company reported late Tuesday afternoon that second-quarter sales more than doubled and that profits increased more than six-fold, shares tumbled more than 5 percent Wednesday morning on the news."

Friday, August 26, 2005


The Hindu: The Business of PR

"That selling editorial space officially is only the legitimisation of a practice in which clients pay PR firms to pay media to plant news is 'the highest form of balderdash

"Several years ago the stock market boom turned the focus on PR. Public issues were the order of the day (they were not called IPOs in those days). Several advertising agencies positioned themselves as specialist financial services agencies. Their forte was public relations. I believe this phase did a lot of harm not just to the small investor who got creamed after the markets crashed but also to the profession of public relations and commercial journalism."

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Business Week: A Watchful Eye on China's Blogosphere

"Blogcn's Hu Zhiguang talks about the special challenges of running a blog service provider given the Middle Kingdom's 'political environment'. China may have some of the world's most active Internet police, who make sure its citizens don't get out of line while they're online. But Hu Zhiguang is out to prove that the blogosphere is nonetheless alive and thriving in China."


Agencyfacts/Business Standard: A fight to the finish

"With the Mumbai forays by Hindustan Times and Daily News & Analysis (DNA—promoted by the Dainik Bhaskar group and Zee), the city’s advertising industry happily anticipates the increased level of competition."

“' Media planners are generally thrilled as two strong publications have entered the Mumbai market almost together,' says Nayan Desai, head of print media buying at Lintas."


The Australian: Reporters rebel on propaganda bonus

"Under a new incentive system for writers at the official China Youth Daily newspaper, 34-year-old chief commentator Li Fang was in line for top points for a recent fawning article in praise of Chinese President and Communist Party chief Hu Jintao."

"Instead, the article, and the bonus points system, has outraged Li's colleagues, left him soul-sick and desperate to leave, and laid bare internal tensions at the once-progressive newspaper as communist propaganda tsars attempt to haul it back into line."

"Journalists at the paper scored a rare victory this week. Editor-in-chief Li Erliang, brought in from the ultra-conservative People's Daily late last year after his more liberal predecessor was squeezed out, dropped his despised bonus points proposal."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Financial Times: Sales growth set to slow at Baidu

"Baidu.com, China’s leading internet search company, expects revenues to rise 11-16 per cent in the third quarter compared with the previous three months, a marked slowing in the new Nasdaq star’s sequential sales growth."

"In its first outlook forecast since its IPO won a rapturous reception from US investors this month, Baidu said it expected revenues from July to September to reach Rmb77.4m-Rmb81.2m ($9.6m-$10m), compared with Rmb69.7m in the second quarter."

China/General Business Environment

CNN: State stock shakeup in China

"China has thrown open a controversial plan to float state holdings in excess of $200 billion to all 1,400 of its listed firms, a decisive step to remove a decade-old market overhang that has long depressed stock values."

Asia/Regional brands vs. international

India Times:Asian consumers prefer regional goods

"Asian consumers prefer regional brands such as Japan's Sony against internationally famous names, a survey said Tuesday. Asian names filled nearly half of the top 20 slots in Media magazine's "Top 1,000 Brands in Asia", jostling with the likes of Nestle, Mercedes-Benz and McDonald's. Japan's Sony emerged as the favourite. Nokia and Panasonic rounded out the top three."
"Market research company Synovate conducted the survey, which revealed that Japanese and South Korean brands are seen as market leaders in the region. 'Many Asian brands are now world-class because they have to compete with products made in Europe or the US,' Steve Garton, Synovate's director of media research, said."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


CNN: China: Web icon floozie or role model?

"Despite all of Beijing's controls, pockets of free speech still appear online and more and more Chinese are tapping the Internet for information outside of official sources."

Monday, August 22, 2005

China/Foreign media giants/Star TV

FT: China probes Star TV linked company

"A dispute between News Corp’s Asian broadcaster Star TV and a former employee has prompted an investigation by Chinese authorities into alleged unauthorised sales of access to Star’s satellite channels."

"The investigation into a company connected to Star TV comes at an unfortunate time for the broadcaster, which has seen hopes of a greater opening of the Chinese market cooled by a tightening of media controls."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

China/Direct Sale

The Wall Street Journal: China May End Direct-Sales Ban

"China is close to issuing new regulations that will formally end an eight-year ban on direct sales, but any potential benefits may be limited by tough restrictions in the rules."

China/Newspapers/Beijing Media Corp.

China Knowledge Press: Beijing Media Issues Profit Warning on 1H Results

"Beijing Media Corp., the advertising arm of China's only overseas-listed newspaper group, has issued a profit warning saying its first half results would be badly affected by the government's economic tightening measures."

"The company said the tightening measures had delayed the approval and sale of property projects in China, resulting in the decrease of advertising revenue from property – the core source of the company's revenue."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


China Knowledge Press: China’s Daily Newspaper per Thousand People Increases by 6%

"The number of daily newspapers owned by every thousand people in China, which is a key indicator of a country’s information development level set by the United Nations, exceeded 75.86 copies in 2004, up 6% from 70 copies in 2003, according to the 2005 China Publishing Annual Development Report."

"Presently, there are 10 provinces and cities with a growth exceeding 20% and six provinces and cities which average more than 100 copies. Beijing and Shanghai have increased to 274.2 and 268.1 copies respectively in 2004 from the previous year.Up to 2005 July, China has a total of 1,926 newspapers titles, including 218 central party newspapers."