SMG, Ningxia to expand CBN footprint

Little-known station gives media giant nationwide reach

BEIJING -- The lead financial news network of China's No. 2 broadcaster, the Shanghai Media Group, plans to expand its reach nationwide on the satellite television platform operated by the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in central China.
SMG's six-year-old China Business Network, long focused on reaching wealthy viewers in and around Shanghai, the nation's wealthiest city and financial hub, soon will reach more than 400 million mostly-urban viewers across China in cooperation with Ningxia Satellite TV, SMG president Li Ruigang said on Monday.

The move comes as Shanghai prepares to host the 2010 World Expo this summer and competition for influence and advertising reach heats up with China Central Television, as the central government encourages the commercialization of the state-controlled media.

"It is CBN's ultimate goal to become the all-media financial and business information service group based in China with the greatest influence corresponding to Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones in future," Li said in a statement.

CBN will "enter into data service" so investors "can quickly and easily access our services anytime and anywhere, including a variety of forms, e.g., paper-based media, video and audio media, Internet, mobile phones, terminals, etc.," the statement said.

SMG said CBN's financial news team is comprised of nearly 500 journalists and editors both in China and overseas and in various media.

CBN's current business model is advertising-based and SMG will "carry out relevant advertising operations" with Ningxia Satellite TV and work with "strategic investors" to accelerate its development.

Ningxia is a sparsely-populated, poor, agrarian desert area in landlocked central China, it -- like all of the country's provinces -- runs its own satellite television station. Although little known, Ningxia Satellite TV has virtually nationwide reach.

Ningxia is home to many of one of China's largest ethnic minority groups, the Hui, who practice Islam.