Survey shows about 214 million Chinese in more than 100 million families, or 70 percent of the national total, watched the annual evening gala broadcast live on the official CCTV networks on the eve of the Lunar New Yea.
Actress Zhang Ziyi sings at China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala on Wednesday, February 6, 2008.
The variety performance gala presented by the China Central Television (CCTV) still enjoys top audience ratings worldwide among Chinese, according to the survey by the Nielsen Media Research.
The annual Spring Festival gala celebration started in the 1980s. Since then, it has been the most popular TV event of the year. The special usually features dances, songs and short comedies.
This year's Spring Festival fell on Feb. 7. The show was broadcast live on several CCTV channels from 8:00 p.m. on Feb. 6 to 1:00 a.m. the next day.
The survey found that among all the television audience during the period, 68.16 percent tuned in the CCTV gala .
Compared with the northern part of the country, Chinese in southern China showed little interest to the show. The booming province of Guangdong posted the lowest audience ratings among all monitored regions, with only 4.59 percent watching.
In contrast, 24 million people in eastern Shandong Province, one of the most populous region of the country, tuned in the gala , the highest among all monitored places. The province has a 93.67 million population.
Short comedies and cross-talks have been among the most popular parts of the gala since 2000. However, for some years, audiences have been expressing disappointment at timeworn routines and overly familiar entertainers.
Young people were excited this year to see pop stars such as Taiwan singer Jay Chou.
A survey on Sina.com showed that among the performances at this year's gala, "Blue and White Porcelain" by Jay Chou ranked top among the viewers.
People believed that "watching the gala had become a habit", the Sina survey said.
Meanwhile, the month-long snow disaster ahead of the Spring Festival also thwarted many's travel plans so people "had nowhere to go" but watch the gala , it showed.
This year's gala included a special theme -- unity and the courage of the people to cope with the snow disaster.
An epic -- "Warm 2008" -- praising disaster-relief efforts, was penned by leading poets to boost national morale in the wake of the snow disaster. It was expressively recited and movingly performed by famous artists, TV anchors and entertainment stars on the show.
(Xinhua News Ageny February 17, 2008)