Updated: 2016-05-13 08:27
By Chen Yingqun(China Daily Europe)
The many ways online stars can cash in show that the online celebrity economy has begun to run in a more cohesive, organized and professional way, the emerging online celebrity incubators and agencies say.
Moreover, as online celebrity becomes more mainstream, those who have gained fame in more conventional ways are increasingly turning to social media to keep in contact with their fans, and they, too, are beginning to develop online personalities.
More than 10 million viewers watched a live-streamed online games contest featuring musician, record producer, director and actor Jay Chou, who is famous throughout Asia, and controversial figure Wang Sicong, known for buying his dog two gold Apple Watches. He is the son of Wang Jianlin, one of China's richest men and chairman of mainland property and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group.
"The boundaries between online celebrities and other stars will increasingly blur as more stars will need to get online to communicate more with their fans, and more online celebrities will be able to attract advertisers and become involved in films and so on," Da says.
Given the size, reach and pace of change in the industry, authorities overseeing it are struggling to keep up. Some live streaming platforms cross into controversy as a result of host behavior considered inappropriate or illegal, such as wearing overly skimpy attire, using lots of vulgar words or, in some cases, simulated or actual sexual behavior.
The Ministry of Culture has ordered more than 12 live streaming sites to make changes to comply with regulations. Several weeks ago, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television gave Papi Jiang a dressing down for using "swear words and insulting language" and ordered her to clean up her act.
The desire by online celebrities to milk their fame to the fullest may be because a cyberstar's shelf life seems to be relatively short. The Tencent report says that the online celebrity of half of those now enjoying it is likely to dissipate after only six months to three years, even though those with more staying power may remain for five years or longer.
Yang Ping, general manger of a Hangzhou incubator, says that as competition between online celebrities heats up, the critical thing will continue to be the quality of content. "Few are going to be able to project personalized, excellent content," Yang says. "As in other industries, only the top 20 percent will survive."
Da says: "Online celebrities are usually highly attractive physically, but that's not enough. The best are those with strong personalities who are innovative, hardworking and talented, and those who are excellent communicators. They're the sort of people who will pose numerous times just for one shot that is going to be placed online. Having something unique to offer as well as a personality will be the key to survival."
Even for Papi Jiang - as commenters note that "aesthetic fatigue" for her videos is starting to creep in - finding a workable business model and sustainable popularity will still remain a question, he says.
Tang Yue contributed to this story.
Online celebrity Cheng Lianghuan, a model, shoots videos and shares her works with netizens.
Internet star Xiong Ting (right), launched her own fashion brand SSSXXTT in Shanghai. Photos Provided to China Daily
Taobao holds a seminar discussing the online celebrity economy in Shanghai in August. The most eye-catching group of online celebrities are those closely connected with China's e-commerce companies.
( China Daily European Weekly 05/13/2016 page1)