Tencent’s Latest Investment: Making 101 Girls to 11 Superstar
Two weeks ago, the most famous female talent show, Produce 101, in China had come to an end. After ten rounds of fierce rivalry, 11 lucky girls were chosen by netizen to form a new female band calls the Rocket Girl 101 火箭女孩 and they will be fully supported by Tencent and other entertainment companies. This talent show is described by media as the most successful talent show since Super Girl in 2004. Tencent also attracts massive attention as the major sponsor of this talent show.
According to some databases, Produce 101 is the most watched online variety show from April 14, the launching day, till May 31, the last day of competition. The total amount of play reaches a high peak of 1.9 billion. The average amount of play of each episode is around 180 million. It is no doubt that Tencent creates a successful rating monster. But, how Tencent did it and what kind of unique strategy it used? In this article, we shall analyze Tencent’s strategy behind the success of Produce 101.
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Table of Content(Click to read)
1. The Import and Localization of Produce 101 Read Now
2. Tencent and Its Partners Read Now
3. Online Voting and VIP System: Tencent’s Secret Weapon Read Now
4. Case Study: Yang Chaoyue Read Now
5. 3 Tips You Should Know about China’s Celebrity Economy Read Now
The Import and Localization of Produce 101
Actually, talent show Produce 101 is not the first of its kind in China’s talent show business.
Produce 101 is based on a talent show produced by YMC Entertainment in Korea. The top goal of Produce 101 is to select talented candidates from ordinary people or less-famous artist to form a new band and promote them.
Yet, Tencent sensed the opportunity and potentiality of this talent show and bought the copyright in 2016.
Certainly, due to the homogenization of talent shows in China, it will be highly unsuitable for Tencent to adopt the original version without any modification and changes.
Thus, Tencent added some new materials and changes to Produce 101. Because of Tencent’s localization of Produce 101, it lead to its huge success. As a result, China’s Produce 101 has three major changes when compared to the Korean version.
First, Tencent changed the competition rule, it offers lost candidates a second chance to go back to the stage. For example, nobody will actually quit but still participate in training with others before the last three rounds.
Second, the diversification of candidates. As mentioned above, candidates who participate in Produce 101 have different backgrounds. Hence, in order to give the audience more choices, Tencent generally divide candidates into two different groups, talented and diligent.
Last but not least, Tencent also incorporates a challenging system into the competition. It provides a chance for lower-voted candidates to challenge popular ones by subjects after they are trained.
Tencent and Its Partners
Speaking of a nationwide talent show, it is undoubtedly Tencent could not achieve this goal without any other partners. Produce 101 is a carnival for both video websites and entertainment companies.
In fact, Produce 101 is also a big step for Tencent to enter the entertainment business and led the development of entertainment companies. Entertainment companies all sent their contract entertainers to join this show.
Although Produce 101 claims their top goal is to select superstars from ordinary people, the number of real ordinary candidates in Produce 101 is pretty small. Most of the candidates are from different kinds of entertainment companies.
Besides candidates, Tencent also invites 5 of China’s most famous singers and dancers to form the judge pannel. This is also a successful endorsement of Produce 101. In the final round of the show, Tencent even invites 5 more stars as guests.
When compared to other candidates, it is certain that those from professional entertainment companies are easier to attract attention and approval from the judges and audience. However, it is still not a likely job for candidates to rank into the final 11.
Surprisingly, even when 70% of the candidates are not from the mediocre, the audience seems to be fine with that. Needless to say, Tencent makes an excellent promotion for Produce 101’s core competence and spread of ideas.
The most important core competence of Produce 101 Tencent claimed to be is the right to “redefine the meaning of female group”. Moreover, it also successfully convinced the audience that their support is a part of “creating the best female group”.
Online Voting and VIP System: Tencent’s Secret Weapon
It is known to all that Tencent owns two most famous social media in China, WeChat and QQ. In the campaign of Produce 101, Tencent uses these two excellent platforms as their strongest weapon of promotion.
In general, Tencent has put a voting program on WeChat and QQ, every fan who would like to vote for their favorite candidate must at least a WeChat or QQ account and subscribe to the official account of Produce 101.
In addition, under such a voting system, the normal user has only 11 votes per day. But, in order to provide another way for users for showing their support for their idols, Tencent introduced the VIP system. Users can purchase the VIP membership for 88 RMB to get 121 votes per day.
By creating different groups among the audience, Tencent has successfully made the voting into a competition between different supporters. The audience in this competition will use whatever they can to help their favorite candidate to get a better position.
Knowing the power of China’s “fans economy”, Tencent literally made Produce 101 a talent show for the audience to devote into. This is a smart strategy that it mobilized the enthusiasm of fans as much as it can.
For example, some fans spontaneously formed different kinds of supporting clubs to solicit votes and raise money for their idols. Some reports suggest that Wu Xuanyi 吴宣仪, who got the second place in the final round, received 7 million RMB for soliciting and promotion.
In summary, Tencent’s strategy is extremely successful, this strategy creates a new model of the celebrity economy. Tencent’s model brings more immersion of the audience into the talent show. It created a feeling that the audience is growing with their idols.
Tencent’s new model of talent show has also created a lot of hot issues, how these issues help the related candidate and Produce 101 become so famous. There is a case study down below for a better understanding of Tencent’s model.
Case Study: Yang Chaoyue
With the development of Produce 101, one of the candidates, Yang Chaoyue 杨超越, has become one of the famous but maybe the most controversial figure in Produce 101. She got the third rank in the final round, but her success is criticized by many people.
Yang Chaoyue was born in a small village in Jiangsu province. However, not like most girls, she joined WenLan Entertainment Ltd right after several years of wondering in different industries. Her primary goal to join this company is the appreciable salary.
Nevertheless, compared with other candidates in Produce 101, Yang Chaoyue is less educated and merely trained. Her stage presence is far from satisfaction as an idol. In addition, she is also mentally immature, sometimes even cries during competitions.
Yang Chaoyue’s bad performance during the show
Yet, surprisingly, Yang Chaoyue ranked very high in every round. In fact, she is always on the top 5 list in every round. Nevertheless, she seems to be preferred by Tencent, like the video above, Tencent modified her singing a lot when Tencent released the video.
Of course, a lion’s shave of the audience is not satisfied with Yang Chaoyue’s performance. However, her fans argued that they love Yang Chaoyue because they think she is “real” and “willing to express her weakness in front of the audience”.
Surprisingly, Yang Chaoyue herself said that she deserves these praise and credits. “Sometimes when luck preferred somebody, it is super reasonable for those to take it for granted.” Said by Yang Chaoyue, an interview right after the final round.
Apparently, Yang Chaoyue’s attitude is the maximum contrast of the traditional value of Chinese society. She lacks capability, but is not willing to improve herself. Yet, she is unbelievably successful. This kind of public figure is full of controversy naturally.
3 Tips You Should Know about China’s Celebrity Economy
1. All the celebrity economy is about attention. Attention means there is a huge number of people that could be your potential customers. The ultimate aim of a successful online marketing is to attract people’s attention as much as you can. Moreover, if your business is the same kind to Produce 101, attention will be all you need to promote your business.
2. Creating controversial figures or issues. Controversy creates conflicts among your potential customers. Controversy also boosts the spread of one’s business and people will spontaneously forward and circulate controversial issues. Yang’s case is the best example of how controversial figures works.
3. Remember the power of social media. Using social media appropriately is a smart strategy to start and expand your business in China. In addition, getting familiar with new trends and applications on social media benefits your business in a surprising way.
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