What makes China No.1 Entertainment TV Station a Market Leader

By Lin Bai | February 23, 2010

Hunan Province is most well-known for a several things. Yes, it is the birthplace of Chairman Mao. Yes, it also has some of the spiciest (and best) Chinese food anywhere in the world. But, in the media industry, Hunan is very well-known for its excellent TV station.

Since 1997, Hunan Satellite TV (HSTV) is one of China’s most successful state broadcasters and has been widely recognized as the number one entertainment media outlet in China. News articles report about HST V, “Over the past 12 years, the company has grown rapidly, expanding its audience from 65 million to 880 million viewers. It also broadcasts to viewers in parts of North America, Asia, and Australia.” Not fully believing this statement until I was having dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Monterey Park, California when the TV behind me had the Hunan Satellite TV-produced program ‘Ugly Wudi’ televised – which begs the question as to why this inland province broadcaster has been so incredibly successful amongst giants such as CCTV, Beijing TV, and Shanghai Media Group.

To give some context, here are some major milestones in HSTV’s history:

1997 – First Hunan Satellite TV Program transmitted via satellite
1997 – “Happy Camp” program launch
1999 – Shenzhen Stock Exchange listing (the very first China Media IPO)
2002 – Entertainment Positioning: a new mission to create a “comprehensive channel highlighting entertainment and information”
2004 – “Super Girl” program launch
2004 – Brand Positioning: Launch of a new “Happy China” campaign that focuses on building nationwide brand awareness

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2006 – “Happy Shopping” channel launched (the first national chain and new modern style TV shopping company in China)
2007 – “Happy Boy” launch
2009 – Awarded No. 1 Television Entertainment Brand in China ranking by the World Brand Lab in its “500 Most Valuable Brands in China.