This year's Olympic opening ceremonies, perhaps the most watched television event in history, were a huge programming coup for CCTV, one of the main propaganda conduits for the Chinese government. CCTV has a larger audience than every major TV station in the US and Europe combined, writes the New York Times. And global companies seeking Chinese customers are beginning to take notice.
NBC thought 29 million American viewers was something to celebrate, but CCTV pulled in up to 840 million spectators on opening night. Its 18 channels now broadcast everything from party-approved news to NBA games, and its landmark new headquarters in Beijing, designed by Rem Koolhaas, is testament to the network's growing clout. Government censorship hasn't hurt the network's bottom line; on the contrary, Western corporations are clamoring to get in. One analyst said simply, "They’re a TV powerhouse."