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CCTV Spring Festival Gala director criticized

2014-02-07 09:00 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing
CCTV Spring Festival Gala's share of TV audience on Lunar New Year Eve

CCTV Spring Festival Gala's share of TV audience on Lunar New Year Eve

Feng Xiaogang, the director of this year's China Central Television (CCTV) Chunwan (Spring Festival Gala), has been criticized in media reports during the Lunar New Year holidays.

The reports accused Feng of using the show as a tool to boost Huayi Brothers Media Corp's financial performance.

Lanjinger.com, a news portal and a forum for business journalists, said during the holidays that the Spring Festival Gala, which was aired on January 30, was "a platform channeling financial benefits to Huayi Brothers."

Feng, as a shareholder of the Shenzhen-listed company, has used several celebrities who either hold stakes in or are managed by the firm, the report said.

Zhang Guoli, a renowned actor who was one of the hosts of this year's gala, is a Huayi Brother's shareholder, the report said, and Yao Beina, a rising star in the music industry who sang a four-and-a-half minute song before the countdown, is managed by the company.

That means the gala could bring in huge benefits for Huayi Brothers, the report argued.

Cao He, a PR representative of Huayi Brothers, was quoted by media reports on Saturday as saying that Feng just selected "the most talked-about" celebrities to perform in the gala and many of China's top stars have been signed by the company.

That is why many Huayi-related performers showed up at the gala, Cao noted.

Hou Tao, vice president of Beijing-based entertainment consultancy Entgroup, told the Global Times Thursday he agreed, adding that the audiences would not be disappointed simply because the stars are from Huayi Brothers.

"The audience wants to see an entertaining show and the stars they like. They do not really care about which companies these stars are from or are connected with," Hou said. "Huayi Brothers manages some of the most popular celebrities in China, and it makes perfect sense for Feng to use them."

Feng could not be reached by the Global Times for comment by press time.

South Korean actor Lee Min-ho, who gained huge popularity in China by playing leading roles in South Korean shows such as Boys Over Flowers and City Hunter, was one of the most anticipated celebrities who appeared in the gala.

According to lanjiner.com, Huayi Brothers' music branch is planning to cooperate with Lee's South Korean management company, Starhaus Entertainment, to promote Lee in China. And appearing in the gala could be a vital step to becoming a star in the country, the report said.

Zhou Ying, a philosophy professor from Tsinghua University, posted an article on his blog on Sunday demanding that government departments investigate Feng's alleged inappropriate use of Huayi Brothers' stars in the gala.

"As a taxpayer, I have the right to demand CCTV's Spring Festival Gala team work in a transparent manner," Zhou said.

Zhang Yiwu, professor and deputy director of Cultural Resources Research Center of Peking University, told the Global Times Thursday that if someone reports to the government that Feng should be investigated, the authorities could launch a probe.

The government then needs to prove that Feng indeed received bribes to use the celebrities in order to boost Huayi Brothers' profits, with solid evidence such as a tape recording of him talking about the deal with Huayi's executives, he noted.

Huayi Brothers announced in late January that its annual net profit in 2013 is expected to be between 635.5 million yuan ($104.9 million) and 684.4 million yuan, an increase of at least 160 percent from 2012.

Hou said the appearance of a few celebrities from Huayi Brothers will not significantly boost the company's financial performance.

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