Yesterday, my mom asked me what a “web celebrity” is like, because my cousin said she want to be a “web celebrity” when she grow up but none of those elderly people know why does a kid envy a “web celebrity”? Yes, nowadays, web celebrity has become a job in China. The reason why I said it is a job is because web celebs make a lot of money.
Social networking sites like Twitter, YouTube, Weibo offered great platforms for people to express ideas. It also gives opportunities for smart people to make money. “Luogic Show” was a self-media on Weibo talking about current news and encouraging young people to think critically. Because of its’ quality content and its huge follower basis, on 2014, it received series A investment from VC. One year later, its valuation reached 1.3 billion in series B financing. It is amazing that an account on SNS, that does not sell any real products, got such a high valuation. Now, Luogic Show has built its learning community and become a mature Internet company.
Last month, the VC behind “Luogic Show” invested 12 million to another web celebrity Miss Papi, which made this girl’s SNS account valuated at 300 million. Miss Papi is a master student in Beijing. She uploaded original videos talking about funny things in life and finally attracted 8 million followers online. The average amount of view per post of Miss Papi was about 3 times more than Chinese government’s official newspaper. According to the VC and Miss Papi’s management team, to make revenues, next step, Papi will offer advertising service on her account.
Except for Luoic Show and Miss Papi who were phenomenal cases in web celeb economy, there are also many smaller web celebs on SNS who make money out of their fame. Except for offering ads service, a more widely used business model by web celebs is transferring to other mature business like C2C or B2C. Many web celebs acquire huge amount of followers relying on their own talents (game commentary, fashion trend sensitivity, or simply making people laugh, etc.). Most of them then go to C2C platforms to sell related products (clothes, cosmetics, food, game and electronic devices, etc). This phenomenon also induced some professional web celeb management companies. This kind of companies have professional management team to help web celebs to make posts, interact with followers and monitor feedback. When the web celeb reaches the stage of selling real products, the company also help them to manage and operate their real product business. It’s almost like making a start-up online.
SNS not only provided places for people to express idea and emotion, it also gives ways to commercialize your talent. Although the way to commercialize web celeb’s fame is not clear and mature, the new force of economy still carries many opportunities and possibilities.