China to open TV studios in DC


China Central Television (CCTV), China’s state-owned broadcaster, is opening a new HQ and studios in Washington that will air English-language programming. CCTV, which produces the ruling Communist party’s news shows and other propaganda programs, is constructing the studio to serve as its US broadcasting center. It aims to begin broadcasting from the site by the mid next year and will air up to six hours of original programming a day, according to a Financial Times story.

The DC market also hosts a full-time brokered 50-KW AM for China Radio International on New World Radio/Potomac Radio’s WCRW-AM 1190.

CCTV leased 36,000 sq ft at 1099 New York Avenue and is hiring local staff to work at the facility. CCTV has also built a studio facility in Nairobi, from where it will broadcast its English-language channel in Africa, and plans to open a broadcasting center in Europe, according to the story.

“They have a very ambitious plan to increase distribution of their English language channel,” said one person familiar with the broadcaster’s expansion strategy. “But they don’t want to go public with their plans until they’re ready.”

The push comes as the ruling Communist party counters what it sees as the negative image of China spread by Western media.

“The big four Western news agencies dominate about 80% of the news flow, and if China wants to strengthen its soft power it must speak through its own media,” Dong Tiance, a journalism professor at Jinan University, told the paper. “The strengthening of international broadcasting allows the world to understand us more thoroughly and increases our influence.”

CCTV’s English channel is currently available in a limited number of US homes via cable and satellite providers, such as Dish Network, in areas where there are concentrated Chinese populations.