Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

Virtual idols are also going to attack variety shows, and this representative is Dian Zanxian, a virtual idol who “noisyed” to star guests and screenwriters on the variety show “2060”.

At the moment, the virtual idols riding on the concept of the Metaverse seem to have a good time again. According to incomplete statistics, in the past year, there have been more than 30 financings in the virtual character track, and companies such as Wanxiang Culture and Next World Culture have completed 3 financings within a year. Nowadays, companies that deploy virtual idols have covered the upper, middle and lower reaches of various industries. Everyone is in the same pace. Chen Zhao, the director of 2:10 animation, told Guduo that they gave Dian Zanxian a different position than other virtual idols in the market, targeting a general crowd, similar to variety show, covering outside the traditional two-dimensional circle.

The division of labor of virtual characters is becoming more and more detailed, which seems to show that virtuality will become the general trend.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

As a long-term follower of the virtual idol track, Fengrui Capital invested in the virtual film industry last year, and 2:10 received investment from Fengrui in 2016. It is not difficult to find that both are companies with senior animation genes.

Chen Zhe, executive director of Fengrui Capital, said that the reason why they chose animation companies is that they believe that the ultimate goal of the entertainment industry is content competition, and technological progress is actually creating more possibilities for content. The most essential part of the entertainment industry The thing is the story, “Not only the animation team, but all the teams that can make good content are what we pay more attention to.”

Even though the public’s attitude towards virtual idols is different now, and many people even think that this is a false fire driven by the concept of the Metaverse, Chen Zhe also admitted that the current development speed of virtual idols is slower than he expected, but he is always optimistic about this track. long-term development.

B-side enthusiasm is higher than C-side

In the past year, virtual idols have cooperated with many commercial brands. Whether it is the Internet or fast-moving consumer goods, almost every company has an avatar that appears in the same frame as the company logo, but the number of fans of these avatars is not stable. , is far from the celebrity spokesperson. You must know that a celebrity who can get business cooperation must have at least 5 million or 10 million fans, but so far, on major social media, the number of fans of virtual idols is not outstanding. .

For virtual idols, the enthusiasm of the b-end is much higher than that of the c-end, which is a consensus expressed by practitioners.

“At present, there are two relatively stable sources of funding for being a virtual idol, one part comes from financing, and the other part is from the B-side cooperation. As for the payment and rewards from the C-side, the income is very limited.” This is the reality of Chen Zhao as a first-line creator. feel.

Although the topic of virtual idols is very hot, the public has not really developed the habit of paying for virtual idols,which also makes it difficult and unstable to realize the C-end. And users are also very selective about their willingness to pay for virtual idols. Chen Zhao said that types like A-soul will be better monetized at the C-end, while others will be more difficult.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

“If you cooperate with a brand, the other party will give you millions. This must be an order of magnitude that cannot be achieved by the realization of the C-end.” However, Chen Zhe also said that in the long run, the realization of the B-end will ultimately depend on the popularity of the C-end. After all The money from the b-end is also earned from the c-end, and the brand also depends on the ROI (return on investment).

The brand side likes fresh species that attract attention, especially for some high-end brands, the brand concept of leading fashion and innovation has a good fit with the new species, especially now that the risk of traditional real idols is getting higher and higher, they They are also willing to try new forms of cooperation and invite virtual characters to speak.

But whether this business model is sustainable, no one can answer affirmatively at the moment.

After participating in the variety show “2060” and winning the championship, Wanda, Changan Automobile and other brands have found two points and ten points, but Chen Zhao admitted that the return on the investment of like cents is not proportional, and the commercialization is still in its infancy. All they have to do now is keep investing.“Although participating in variety shows has made a wave of transformation, but if we want to continue to allow Zanzan to receive more endorsements, our follow-up operations must keep up, such as creating stages, music singles, albums, etc.”

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

Subsequent content operations determine the life cycle of a virtual idol. What can be seen at present is that many virtual idols did not produce much content in the early stage, but first embraced customers and first met with the public in the form of business cooperation, which is completely opposite to the business logic of traditional real idols.

The general celebrity endorsement process is that after a certain celebrity has accumulated a certain amount of fans and traffic by virtue of the drama, the brand owner will find them and use their traffic to promote the product. And the public didn’t know what this virtual character was called, so it began to take over endorsements.

Capital poured into virtual idols crazily, and batches of companies received real money, but these virtual idol teams seemed to be the same as most companies. Everyone said that the biggest difficulty they faced was lack of money.Therefore, in the face of cooperation from brands, most virtual idol production teams are willing to seize such short-term opportunities for commercial cooperation, and the content will be released first.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

As a track that has been active in the past two years, virtual idols have no less fierce competition than any other line. The twenty-eight effect is particularly prominent in virtual idols, even more head-scratching than real idols. In Chen Zhao’s words, there are not many head avatars like Luo Tianyi that have been recognized by the public for so many years.And as long as the head is there, others won’t have much traffic to share.

And for a company, it takes a long time to incubate a virtual idol, and it takes too much effort. There are many virtual idols entering the game, and there are many big companies and large capitals, but the track has professional technical thresholds and operational experience requirements, which are more important than pure capital investment. Taking the variety show that pursues timeliness as an example, when participating in the variety show “2060”, the show team gave each virtual idol a stage production time of two weeks, which is the interval recording time of each show, even if it is two tenths. In this way, a company that is quite professional in terms of technology and character design is still tight for two weeks.

Cost, time, competition, etc. are all important reasons for virtual idols to accept endorsements first and then create content. “However, if you want to develop and operate continuously for a long time, you must have a precipitation in content. A pure image without content is unlikely to continue to explode.” Chen Zhe said.

Virtual idol PK popular idol

An important reason why virtual idols have attracted the public’s attention is “never collapse.” With the continuous emergence of various virtual characters such as virtual anchors and virtual actors, the voices of virtual idols replacing traditional real idols are getting louder and louder.

According to iQIYI’s “Virtual Idol Observation Report 2019”, nearly 400 million people across the country pay attention to virtual idols. The virtual idol market in 2020 is estimated to reach 200 billion, while the size of China’s idol market in 2020 predicted by iResearch earlier 100 billion yuan. In other words, everyone’s estimates of the virtual idol market are higher than real idols.

But doubts followed. According to the “2021 China Virtual Idol Consumer Market Research Report” released by Huskar Culture, only about 23% of consumers have never heard of virtual idols. Although this data shows that everyone knows virtual idols, it does not mean that everyone is willing to spend money on it. The current low monetization of the C-end also illustrates this problem, and the short lifespan of the first-generation virtual anchor Kian Ai of 5 years is frequently mentioned by everyone, and the public’s acceptance of virtual idols is still waiting to be seen.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

In the eyes of the production team, operating a virtual idol is much more difficult than a real idol.

“If you feel that the artist has no potential to cultivate, the company can choose to terminate the contract, but once the virtual idol is launched, millions of dollars in investment in the early stage, the production cycle of three months to six months, and the investment of time, energy and money are not small. It requires us to figure out the entire commercialization path of virtual idols in the early stage.”

Virtual idols are more complicated than real people to participate in variety shows, and the input-output ratio is much lower. Chen Zhao told Guduo, “The technology, efficiency, and application scenarios of virtual idols are relatively heavy. At this stage, they are far less cost-effective than real idols. Taking a stage as an example, even if it is just a few minutes, it needs hardware and software to build on it. Together, several teams of dozens of people have completed a performance.” In Chen Zhao’s eyes, it is only possible to treat virtual idols as a business, to constantly find a balance and find a sustainable and stable business model, so that the investment is proportional to the return. Do it for a long time.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

At present, the scope of virtual idol radiation is mainly the two-dimensional circle. How to break the circle and whether virtual idols need to become popular idols are also issues that everyone is thinking about.

The second dimension is a very good market. This group of users has strong spending power and loyal users. There is a mutually reinforcing relationship between fans and content providers, and this ecology is very benign. But if this market is bound to grow very large, Chen Zhe feels that there is no obvious trend yet.

Although everyone likes the convergence of mentality between virtual idols and traditional real idols, there is no doubt that traditional real idols cover more users and are still the mainstream demand of the public. Whether it is investors or the production team, everyone also believes that virtual idols will not replace real idols.

“There is still a big gap between the influence of head virtual anchors and real head anchors. At present, the number of users who focus on virtual idols is not that large.” Chen Zhe said.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

Even though various data show that virtual idols will not bring much profit in the short term, everyone is still optimistic about them. Although they cannot be replaced, they will take part of the market of real idols in the future. Chen Zhe feels that if a top-tier IP like a traditional real idol can come out of a virtual idol, it is hard to predict how big this market will become.

How to give full play to the unique advantages of virtual idols determines the incremental space of this market. Just like a live streamer can’t jump right into the game and fight alongside the player’s character, a virtual streamer can. This is also the focus of Chen Zhe’s attention. “If a virtual character does the same thing as a real person, I don’t think it is particularly attractive. Its imagination must come from the fact that it can do things that real people can’t do.”

Entering a cooling-off period? The differentiation and follow-up operation of virtual idols

Because there is a huge outlet, virtual idols have won the favor of capital in the short term. As long as the production company wants to do it and the idea is good, it will invest a lot of money, which also makes Chen Zhao use out of control to describe the hot state of virtual idols last year. “And for those who really want to participate in virtual idols, there is nothing to lose. Just come in and do it. Even if you fail, you will gain experience.”

However, after the beginning of this year, everyone seems to have calmed down a lot. Chen Zhao felt that in a year or two, 70 to 80 percent of people might choose to leave. At present, the test of practitioners is whether they understand enough about virtual idols. “Have you figured out its future commercialization positioning, you should think about virtual idols as a brand, and build them from the inside out based on user preferences.”

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

This model based on Hatsune Miku has been successfully verified, but Chen Zhao said that there is a high threshold for copying Hatsune. “Its overall investment and style of play are very heavy, and even the entire budget and expenditure are made in units of 100 million. This method is not affordable for all companies, and it is generally not born in animation content companies.”

And virtual anchors mainly rely on the live broadcast room for rewards, focusing on companionship, and the mode of using live broadcast frequency and duration in exchange for corresponding income is also limited, “Because it is difficult to improve the matching brand of the entire IP, brand owners generally do not find a virtual anchor as an endorsement. Chen Zhao said that at Two Points Ten, when creating virtual idols, the general direction was clarified. They must find subdivisions, differentiate and personalize, and operate around this feature. They position Dian Zan Xian as a variety show. Route, hit the pan crowd.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

For the audience, although there are differences in the presentation of large and small virtual idols, they are not much different. The technical fidelity and whether the strokes of the hair are so fine that the pores are not so important. Everyone pays more attention to this person. What is unique about virtual idols? This is also the main reason why Dian Zanxian is favored by the audience, a virtual idol with a chatty but lovable personality.

“The virtual idols produced by everyone are similar in appearance. Even if you do a little better, the audience will not care too much, but it will increase the operating cost. If the virtual idol achieves 70 points and the cost is controllable, once If you want to improve to more than 90 points, then a video has to cost millions, which is a lot of burden for many companies, and the audience may not like it.”

Chen Zhao said that the improvement of the “skin appearance” of virtual idols is constrained by the cost-effectiveness, but a mature operation team will explore their own character personality and broaden their empathy with the audience, so as to achieve better results. The personality given to Dian Zan Xian by 2:10 solves many cost-intensive problems. While improving technology, we also hope to achieve a balance between continuous investment and return, and to find a stable business model. And this, they are still exploring.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

At the same time, everyone also believes that it is not difficult to create a virtual idol at present, but the difficulty lies in the follow-up operation, especially for technology-oriented companies, this is difficult to break through. Just like an actor’s acting skills, if he can’t pick a good script, it’s hard to come out without packaging and publicity. A factory can produce something of better quality, but it doesn’t sell, pack, or operate it, and it won’t sell for a good price in the end.

If the virtual idol is judged on the hard indicators such as model refinement and motion capture technology, Chen Zhe thinks that he can give 7 or 8 points, or even 8.5, but at the operational level, he thinks there is still some room for improvement. It is a level of 6.5 points.

Perhaps a technical team and a team of artist brokers work together to create a virtual idol, which is a very good choice. “It is certainly good to combine production and marketing, but the key lies in how everyone’s rights and interests in this virtual idol are divided. Chen Zhao believes that this will involve a lot of problems, unless the two teams have a strong degree of trust, Otherwise, there will be no cooperation soon.

Status quo of virtual idols: It is difficult for the B-side to break the circle, and the 28th effect is obvious

At this moment, virtual idols have exposed a series of problems, but everyone is also optimistic about them for a long time.

Chen Zhao believes that animation-type content must eventually be converted into traffic through virtual images, and coupled with the maturity of technology at this moment, it is logical that virtual idols will be the focus of everyone’s attention. Chen Zhe explained from the core logic of the industry. The entertainment industry is always a combination of new technologies and media with traditional content, and the resulting new experience attracts new users and prompts users to pay for them, from the earliest bard poems to Later broadcasts, movies, and games all followed this logic. Virtual characters are in line with this trend, especially in his opinion, 3D content will have a relatively large room for growth in the future.

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