More than three months after the video was stopped, Li Ziqi formally sued the contracting company Hangzhou Weinian, which was dubbed by netizens as Li Ziqi sued “Li Ziqi”, which caused widespread concern. Some people believe that the incident is a typical case of the game between Internet celebrities and capital interests, and it will have an impact that cannot be underestimated on the business model of the Internet celebrity economy. As a top-ranking internet celebrity, Li Ziqi’s loss caused by stopping for 3 months is undoubtedly huge. After a sigh, it is necessary to summarize the deep-seated problems of the incident and reflect on why it caused such a situation. After sorting out the incident, there are at least three revelations.
First of all, the embarrassing situation of the short video industry under the blessing of capital has become increasingly apparent. Li Ziqi’s popularity is not accidental. Compared with many broadcasters who have no bottom line to gain attention, they rely on high-quality content and always adhere to quality. They have won the favor of countless netizens and have strong commercial value. Even so, Li Ziqi is also inseparable from the commercial promotion of the MCN organization (multi-channel network, a new economic operation mode of Internet celebrity). During the dispute between the two parties, the suspension of high-quality content not only caused a waste of resources, but also had a negative impact on fans. High-quality content has become a victim of the game between the interests of both parties, and it is worthy of reflection from all parties.
Because the entry barrier is not high, many freelancers have sniffed business opportunities on the short video track, but the practitioners generally lack experience, especially in terms of operating packaging and content promotion. Therefore, they need the support of promotion and operation agencies. After getting bigger, the relevant provisions formulated before will restrict the development of creators and cause contradictions. As a result, the “love and kill” bridge between creators and promotion operators was repeatedly staged. Before Li Ziqi cooperated with Hangzhou Weinian, he was already among the “big internet celebrities”, and the conflict between the two parties became more intense. How to deal with the relationship between high-quality original content producers and capital is a difficult problem to be solved.
Secondly, Internet celebrities urgently need to strengthen their contract awareness and avoid overlord clauses. Achieving a win-win situation through division of labor and collaboration is the meaning of the Internet spirit. Li Ziqi and MCN were originally a community of interests, and both prospered and lost everything. Nowadays, the situation of losing-lose is something that no one wants to see. This also exposes the lack of awareness of the Internet celebrity contract from one side. In terms of the benefit distribution mechanism, MCN institutions have a natural advantage over Internet celebrities, and they are prone to overlord clauses. This requires Internet celebrities to pay attention to terms such as contract duration, benefit distribution mechanism, and default costs.
In modern business models, contract awareness and contract spirit are the prerequisites for stable cooperation and the guarantee for achieving a win-win benefit. In reality, Internet celebrities before becoming famous pay more attention to how to quickly gather traffic, and often do not pay too much attention to future cooperation models and details, which creates hidden dangers for subsequent disputes. In fact, only by restricting cooperation to the cage of the system can a stable and continuous flow be generated.
Finally, commercial capital overexploited the value of Internet celebrity overdrafts, which is unsustainable. Capital chasing internet celebrities is because internet celebrities have strong traffic potential and liquidity, which can bring double profit margins to capital. Statistics show that last year, the sales of Li Ziqi’s Tmall store reached 1.6 billion yuan; the sales of Li Ziqi snail noodles alone was as high as 500 million yuan. However, because he did not own shares, Li Ziqi not only lost profit, but also violated her unwillingness to overdo it. The personal will of commercialization eventually leads to parting ways. For MCN agencies and commercial development companies, Internet celebrities should not only be used as a tool for making money, but should also focus on brand protection and sustainable development of their own value. Li Ziqi’s complaint sounded a wake-up call for capital.
Capital chases profits, and Internet celebrities create value. The reasonable distribution of the interests of both parties depends on the scientific design of the system and the contract. It is very important for many entrepreneurs to design the distribution mechanism and the relationship of power and responsibility in advance. Only in this way can we make good use of capital without being tied up and hurt by capital.
Source/Economic Daily (author Guo Cunju), original title “The Enlightenment of Li Ziqi’s Prosecution of “Li Ziqi””