Integrating technology into broadcasting

- December 5, 2019 -


Vice President of CCTV Sun Yusheng addresses the third CGTN Global Media Summit and CCTV+ Video Media Forum in Beijing, December 4, 2019. /CGTN Photo

Editor's Note: Sun Yusheng is the Vice President of CCTV. The article is based on his speech at the third CGTN Global Media Summit and CCTV+ Video Media Forum in Beijing on December 4.

The military parade at the 70th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China in Beijing attracted a great deal of attention from both domestic and foreign media outlets. We livestreamed the whole event and it was perfect. Many foreign media also used the livestream in their coverage of the parade.

I have reported the parade several times now. To ensure the quality of the reporting, I proposed using the same narrative technique in movie production to broadcast this year's event. Out of everyone's expectations, 70 cinemas in China shared our livestream signals.

All these should be attributed to technology. 4K resolution was used to livestream the whole event. Such a large-scale 4K livestream is the first in China, and one of only a few in the world. As the quality of 4K images meets the standards of movie productions, watching the livestreamed parade in cinemas became a new option. This means new connotations of media integration: Movies could also be considered in the whole media integration process.

I met Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei earlier this year. I advised that while our smart phones can livestream clear images, very few manufacturers have put effort into enhancing the audio of their products. If smartphones could be transformed into stereophonic devices, we could enjoy 5.1 surround sound effects when watching videos on our phones. That would be a totally different experience.

Given the huge influence of TV, the UN proclaimed November 21 as World Television Day in 1996. Meanwhile, given the huge impact of the Internet, China Central Television (CCTV) started to set up its official website in the same year. Almost at the same time, China's four largest portal websites – NetEase, Sina, Sohu and Tencent – were founded. The following years saw the establishment of Alibaba and Baidu. Since then, China has entered into a new era where traditional and new media have started their competition for influence, and media integration has become a much-discussed topic.

It's worth noting that apart from Alibaba's cofounder Jack Ma, the originators of the above-mentioned websites, together with Twitter and Facebook, all majored in technology-related subjects. Although Jack Ma was not a technology specialist, he has Wang Jian, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as his tech chief.

I read Wang's book before. He said that data is not valuable for its quantity but for the fact it could be put online. This is inspiring. According to him, data presented on Google Maps does not belong to the company, but Google has transformed the data into real-time navigation and an industry of high value by putting it online.

Around 2005, China saw the rise of video websites. But only a few of them survived. The technological inability to provide real-time online services is one of the key reasons. The development of Internet startups is always accompanied by twists and risks.

The year 2010 was marked with two events: China surpassing Japan to be the world's second largest economy and the release of the iPhone 4, which had a five megapixel rear-facing camera. Smart phones and high-definition filming have made media more mobile, socialized and adaptable to video.

Video is always the highest form of communications. But a look at the early-stage development of China Network Television (CNTV) shows that we lacked determination in our video strategy. After pouring more resources into IPTV, CNTV has jumped from 53 in 2017 to 22 in 2019 in a ranking of China's top 100 Internet companies.

Entertainment is an intrinsic characteristic of video. But despite it, media gains influence and discourse power from news, not entertainment. This is why international media organizations have both entertainment and news channels.

Although video is the highest form of communication, it doesn't necessarily mean it is a must. Videos are flooding everywhere and some of them have no value at all. The charm of video news lies in on-the-spot scene, not the empty format.

China Media Group (CMG) aims to build a new type of world-class mainstream media. Learning from the past, I propose that we must utilize technology, not administrative means, to integrate media resources. Only by putting things online can resources reach their full potential. On November 20, China Media Group officially launched the first state-level 5G new media flagship platform. This product aims to make communication more natural, vivid and livelier.

Quality is what distinguishes us from other commercial platforms. The fact that our coverage of this year's military parade was livestreamed in cinemas is one of the examples. It is always the content that consumers are willing to pay for.