C-drama viewership ratings explained

C-drama viewership ratings explained
Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms Dilraba Dilmurat
As an avid drama fan, I have seen enough to know that TV ratings don’t always tell the whole story. Depending on what viewers like, good shows can tank horribly while bad shows can get a free pass. Nevertheless, I still find it a lot of fun to track ratings especially when your favorite show happens to be doing well.  Competition is cutthroat because of the number of channels in China. Apart from government-owned channels by CCTV, there are a number of private broadcast networks like Hunan TV, Dragon TV, Beijing TV, Zhejiang TV, Jiangsu TV, Anhui TV and Shandong TV that air nationwide. There are also countless channels that air provincially. These TV stations can choose to air new shows or reruns. 


CSM Media Research is the largest ratings agency (approx 85%) in China followed by AC Nielsen which occupies a smaller portion of the market (approx 10%). CSM does different kinds of tabulations like CSMNationwide, CSM52 Cities, etc. 

Take Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms for example, which was a daily drama that aired on primetime (7:30 pm). Given the show’s popularity, I think it’s safe to say that it had a pretty good run. It was a show that aired on two channels simultaneously, earning a series high of 1.910% on Dragon TV and 1.518% on Zhejiang TV (see link).

Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms Episode Ratings on Dragon TV
Date Episode CSM52 Ratings (%) CSM52 Audience Share (%) Ranking
2017-01-30 1-2 0.597 1.907 3
2017-01-31 3-4 0.575 1.840 4
2017-02-01 5-6 0.479 1.473 7
2017-02-02 7-8 0.634 1.887 4
2017-02-03 9 0.722 2.059 4
2017-02-04 10 0.909 2.691 2
2017-02-05 11-12 1.134 3.206 2
2017-02-06 13-14 0.987 2.780 2
2017-02-07 15-16 1.036 2.817 3
2017-02-08 17-19 1.043 2.845 3
2017-02-09 20-22 1.129 3.120 2
2017-02-10 23 1.118 3.667 2
2017-02-11 24 0.971 2.869 1
2017-02-12 25-26 1.479 4.238 1
2017-02-13 27-28 1.511 4.281 1
2017-02-14 29-30 1.434 4.207 1
2017-02-15 31-32 1.401 3.968 1
2017-02-16 33-34 1.527 4.396 1
2017-02-17 35-36 1.630 4.528 1
2017-02-18 37 1.467 4.384 1
2017-02-19 38-39 1.629 4.534 1
2017-02-20 40-41 1.629 4.521 1
2017-02-21 42-43 1.576 4.344 1
2017-02-22 44-45 1.613 4.501 1
2017-02-23 46-47 1.568 4.429 1
2017-02-24 48-49 1.575 4.397 1
2017-02-25 50 1.600 4.615 1
2017-02-26 51-52 1.658 4.655 1
2017-02-27 53-54 1.674 4.978 1
2017-02-28 55-56 1.679 5.006 1
2017-03-01 57-58 1.910 5.542 1
Average 1-58 1.287 3.700 2


CSM Rating is the percentage of viewers watching the show against the total population in the region. It is time sensitive just because primetime tends to generate higher numbers than say, a show airing in the middle of the night. It doesn’t make the most sense to use CSM Ratings to compare shows from different timeslots even though it’s often done for ranking purposes. 

Princess Agents


Clearing the first hurdle of 1.0% is always a good sign, and anything higher like 2.0%, 3.0% and so on become causes for celebration. Princess Agents managed to reach 2.525% (see link) which is impressive considering that it’s not a primetime show (it airs at 10pm) nor is it a daily drama (airs every Monday – Thursday) though it still failed to beat Journey of Flower in its heyday two years ago.

Even so, the real undisputed winner for the year (and the years before that) is the political drama In the Name of People which averaged 3.626% and hit a series high of 6.695% (see link). This is where the pull of primetime becomes evident because it shows just how powerful the timeslot and network can be. Hunan TV is generally a channel that attracts high viewership. 

In the Name of People c-drama MOVEE
On the other hand, CSM Audience Share is the percentage of viewers watching a particular show against the numbers of viewers watching TV on the same timeslot. TMOPB hit a high of 5.542% in terms of audience share, which is like having 5% of the whole pie with the remaining 95% split among other shows. It’s a good gauge for competitiveness because it reveals just how well a show has done against its peers.

Just a disclaimer that the above are merely from the perspective of a fan. If you have anything to add, please definitely share it in the comments section below. 

Source: 1, 2


7 Comments

  1. Tia

    August 14, 2017 10:10 PM
  2. Anonymous

    August 15, 2017 3:00 AM
  3. Sunny

    August 15, 2017 3:40 AM
  4. Anonymous

    August 16, 2017 8:26 PM
  5. Sunny

    August 16, 2017 11:22 PM
  6. Anne J

    August 17, 2017 12:12 AM
  7. Anonymous

    August 17, 2017 6:09 PM

Leave a Reply