Its news reporting follows parameters directed by the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China. Most of its programming, however, is a mix of comedy and dramatic programming, the majority of which consists of Chinese Soap operas. Like many media outlets in China, CCTV has had its state subsidy reduced dramatically in the 1990s, and hence finds it necessary balance its role as a government agency with the practical fact that it must attract viewers so that it can sell commercial advertising. In searching for viewers, CCTV has found itself in competitions with local television stations (which are also state run) which have been creating increasingly large media groups in order to compete with CCTV.
CCTV has thirteen different channels of programming content and competes with television stations run by local governments (such as BTV and several regional channels) and foreign programming which can be readily received via satellite television. Unlike US channel naming conventions, CCTV channels are listed in sequential order with no discerning descriptions, e.g. CCTV-1, CCTV-2, etc.
In the US, it is only possible to receive channels CCTV-4 (overseas channel) and CCTV-9 (overseas channel targeted at an English-speaking audience) via a Digital Video Broadcast signal. CCTV has just recently switched from analog to DVB primarily due to better signal quality and the ability to charge for reception (~10 USD per year subscription). The aforementioned overseas channels are relayed off of the government's Galaxy 3C satellite, located at 95°W.