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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Beijing set for 1st countdown (3)

By Huang Shaojie and Xuyang Jingjing (Global Times)

08:32, December 31, 2011

Only 3,000 spectators, pre-invited to participate in the event, will watch the show and shout "Happy New Year!" at midnight.

Security and artifacts protection concerns due to lots of staging and wiring inside the temple mean the organizers could not bring in a bigger live audience, Sun said, and the 144-hectare park of the Temple of Heaven will be closed to visitors the entire day.

However, the live audience was not the primary target. "We hope to reach hundreds of millions of television viewers and Web users around the world," said Sun.

The celebration is designed to be a large media event. One hundred reporters and TV crews were offered the best seats in the house.

Intermittent live broadcasts by Beijing Television Station will start at 6:45 pm, while China's leading video content websites Tudou and LeTV stream pre-show footage and the final 10-second countdown.

Images of the show will also be provided free to AP, Reuters and Getty Images for overseas audiences.

Beijing is also eyeing potential revenue in the widely televised event. Hundreds of millions of people watch the countdown celebrations every year in Times Square, New York and at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Viewings net some cities returns that are eight times higher than the investment put into their shows.

"Hopefully, with security clearance, we will do the countdown at different venues in the future and gather bigger live audiences," said Sun. "Beijing is unique with its cultural heritage and the vigor of a booming international city. It's enough to sustain a fabulous event."


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