Raving about poetry
The Chinese Poetry Competition which was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) was not only highly popular among viewers during the Spring Festival holiday - it had also injected viewers with a powerful dose of enthusiasm for the art form, according to publishers and academics.
The second season of the 10-episode poetry contest, which ran from Jan 29 and Feb 7, had attracted more than 1.16 billion viewers. Wu Yishu, a 16-year-old middle school student from Shanghai, won the final.
Xie Yan, a lecturer from the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing Normal University, published a commentary about the televised contest on the school's official WeChat account on Feb 7. The post received more than 100,000 reviews almost instantly.
Beijing-based publisher Zhonghua Book Company had rolled out a book list on its WeChat official account on Feb 8 right after the show and the message thread which introduced the book list received more than 15,600 reviews, a record high in the past few weeks.
According to Qiu Zhongwu, general manager of Xinhua Book Store's Changning branch in Shanghai, the sales of poetry books have gone up by 20 percent in the past few weeks as a result of the poetry competition. He added that the books featuring exquisite illustrations of traditional Chinese elements sell better.
At the privately-owned Zhongshuge book store, publications on classical Chinese literature and studies of Chinese ancient civilization take up a significant portion of storage space. According to Jia Xiaojing, deputy general manager of Shanghai Zhongshu Industry Co Ltd, the company that operates Zhongshuge chains, sales of traditional Chinese culture books had been picking up even before the poetry contest was televised.
"There has always been market demand for books about traditional Chinese culture and such books are an important part of our operations. But with the help of the TV competition, sales of such books will certainly become even better," said Jia.
But it is not just book sales that are soaring. Viewers have also demonstrated keen interest in the Han clothing, a Chinese traditional costume, that some of the contestants were dressed in.
Zhang Hui, sales manager of Yimeng Garment Co Ltd in Henan province, said that the company has been receiving more orders than it normally would in the past few months. The most popular item is a Han dress which costs 59 yuan ($8.6). More than 500 orders for this garment were placed in the past 90 days.