Entertainment electronic magazines relying on popularity of stars have become part of fan economy in China

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/21 12:57:00

Chinese actors Xiao Zhan (right) and Wang Yibo (left) Photo: VCG

Amid China’s “I love you” Day on Wednesday, some entertainment magazines launched electronic publications about celebrities to draw fans. Sales of such electronic magazines are based on the fan economy and rely on the popularity of these stars rather than the magazines’ contents and quality.

At least six media outlets launched star newsletters on Wednesday – May 20, which sounds like “I love you” in Chinese – to encourage fans to support their idols by purchasing these online magazines, Tencent news reported.

The report said China’s leading fashion magazine “Bazaar” picked 21-year-old singer Wang Linkai for the first electronic magazine after the COVID-19 outbreak, to target his 12.9 million followers on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo. 

Another idol magazine chose young Chinese actor Liu Yitong, and Liu’s fan club posted the purchasing link on Sina Weibo to hit a big sales number as a present for Liu on the special day. 

The first Chinese e-magazine for celebrities was born two years ago and allowed Chinese fans to prove their love of their idols by the sales, which created a new mode of selling amid a media industry slump. And now it is found that such e-magazines are coupling with the fan economy, experts said.

“These e-magazines have been built on the fan economy from the start and depend on how popular the stars are,” Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Fans with strong buying enthusiasm prove the popularity and market value of the idols and also contribute to a business model. In this model, making a profit has less to do with product quality and more to do with the purchasing power of the fans. 

Shi said that entertainment e-magazines also tried to find other profitable content. They cooperated with the Palace Museum and other well-liked scenic spots and intangible cultural heritage products, but the much lower sales proved that this was the wrong target.

Sales data for fashion e-magazines from July 2018 to April 2020 shows that the top three issues were about Chinese actors Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan, and Chinese boy band RISE. All of them have had sales of more than one million, Tencent news reported.

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