The ratings are in for one of the biggest events on the American television calendar, the 2015 Academy Awards.

This year, quite a few local stations have decided to reject to show the CCTV Gala. Instead they would show their own version of the New Year Gala, which would probably be more catered to the local taste, local interest.

Lijia Zhang, author of Socialism is Great!

Those figures are down from last year, but still, an audience of 36,5 million is nothing to sneeze at.

Unless you are Chinese.

The Spring Festival Gala, which marks the Chinese New Year, was broadcast on China Central Television - CCTV.

There too, the numbers were down, to a mere 690 million viewers. The ratings for the gala actually peaked in 2009, when 800 million people watched.

To put that into perspective: 800 million people is the equivalent of the combined populations of the United States, Brazil, Russia and Japan. Every last person, watching the same television programme.

The gala features a line-up of star hosts, songs, dances, drama, acrobatics - and it is the perfect staging ground for state-sponsored messaging. The programme has been on the air for 32 years and has grown progressively more politicised.

Last year, the chief executive of CCTV announced that the gala would henceforth be considered a "national project" - along the lines of the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In other words, they take it very seriously.

The Listening Post's Meenakshi Ravi reports on the world's most watched TV show and the politics behind it.

Source: Al Jazeera