BEIJING — China’s National Radio and Television Administration has started a trial run for a new system that provides audience size based on big data and prevents falsified viewing figures.
Developed since 2016, the new system will determine the audience size by collecting data directly from cable TV service providers, according to the administration.
So far, the system has collected data from about 40 million TV audiences that includes viewing figures for live, on-demand and other types of TV programs, and is expected to cover hundreds of millions of people in the future, according to Yu Ying, an official with the administration.
It is regarded as a great improvement from the old system, which was based on surveys with limited sample sizes and fraught with falsified audience size data.
“In the surveys, data about the audience size can be falsified by paying the sample households to watch certain programs,” said Wang Pengju, head of a TV drama industrial association.
The new system, which no longer relies on sample groups and instead gathers the data directly from the viewers, will provide numbers that accurately reflect what is being watched and by how many people, according to the administration.
Inflated audience data became a hot topic after a famous drama director publicly complained about it in September. In China, where TV dramas are mostly produced by specialized companies instead of individual TV channels, audience size has been an important indicator for TV stations while purchasing copyrights.
Audience size is therefore inflated by some companies to make their dramas more appealing to buyers.