A Study on the Profit Model of We Media in China
Graduate Institution of National Policy
and Public Affairs, National Chung Hsing
- *Corresponding Author:
- Shouzhi Xia
Graduate Institution of National Policy
and Public Affairs
National Chung Hsing
Received Date: April 14, 2017; Accepted Date: April 24, 2017; Published Date: April 30, 2017
Citation: Xia S. A Study on the Profit Model
of We Media in China. Global Media Journal.
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This study aims to analyze the profit model of We media in mainland of China. Specifically, there are three main research questions. First, what are the main profit models used by We media in China? Second, what are the types that those profit models belong to? Third, how can we evaluate those profit models? Based on the in-depth interview about nine people (three college faculties, three journalists and three employees of We media), this study draws such conclusions. 1. There are totally six profit models used by We media in mainland of China, Specifically, advertising, paid reading, membership, profit-sharing model, e-commerce, and derivative service. 2. These six profit models can be divided into four types. Advertising belongs to “direct and high profit”, e-commerce belongs to “indirect and high profit”, derivative service belongs to “indirect and low profit”, the remaining three profit models, paid reading, membership and profit-sharing model belong to “direct and low profit”. 3. We can evaluate the profit model of We media through two main aspects. On the one hand, we need to recognize We media’s profit models in China are very rich. In other words, We media can make money by many different ways, which is a good condition for We media’s improvement. While on the other hand, there is a feature of We media’s profit models, which is direct and low profit method accounts for the high level of proportion. It means We media’s actual profitability is not very strong, so most of We media can only gain low profit in practice.
We media; Profit model; Profit type; Mainland of China
The development of information and communication technologies
(ICTs) is very remarkable around the world, especially in mainland
of China. Based on the latest technology, many new types of
media have been created rapidly, which have taken place the
role and status of traditional media to many degrees. According
to the annual report of China Internet Network Information
Center , the total number of internet users in China reached
0.731 billion people and more than 0.695 billion people use the
mobile phone to connect to the internet. The world’s largest
net users’ group is the solid foundation for the improvement of
those new types of media, especially We media in China. There
were more than 12,000 thousand Wechat official accounts by the
end of 2016 and some people predict this number might grow to
14,150 thousand by the end of 2017 . These official accounts
of Wechat are created by government, media, enterprises and
ordinary people, which are the main actor in creating official accounts. So Wechat official media can be regarded as the typical
We media in China. Besides Wechat official accounts, other types
of We media have also experienced the rapid increase on other
platforms, such as Baidu, Today Toutiao (www. toutiao. com),
Tencent and so on. As time goes by, the function and attribute of
We media have changed significantly, specifically, people’s main
aim of creating and managing their own We media is not only
for disseminating information but for making money. Managing
We media becomes a way of starting a business for many people.
For example, “Luoji Thinking”, an internet knowledge-based talk
show, develops a diversified business model on different internet
platforms, including Youku, Wechat and so on. What should be
emphasized here is that this We media created an official account
in Wechat and the number of fans had reached more than six
million that exceeds many Wechat official accounts set by big
traditional media organizations and government’s departments
in 2016 (Tencent Technology, 2016). This We media had
completed B round financing in 2015 and valued at 1.32 billion yuan (Sina News, 2015). So Luoji Thinking becomes one of the
most successful We media in China in recent years.
Witnessing the rapid development of We media and its bright prospects, many enterprises and venture capitals have been investing and even acquiring We media. For instance, China Media Capital announced a plan to invest 0.1 billion yuan to “Wall Street Horizon”, a financial We media. Alibaba Group also announced a plan to invest “Day Day Cook”, which is an APP providing information about cooking and latest fashion. Meisheng Culture acquired “Tongdao Uncle” by 0.21 billion yuan (The New List, 2017). Besides these investments and acquisitions, there was another investment that attracted great attention. Luoji Thinking connected with other venture capitals to invest “Papi Girl”, which is a fast-rising internet funny talk show. After this investment, Papi Girl was valued at 300 million yuan (Tencent Technology). According to these cases, it is easy to find that We media with a large number of fans and bright prospects have been favored by enterprises and venture capitals. There is no doubt that, the main aim of enterprises’ and venture capitals’ investment or acquisitions of We media is making money or so-called increasing profits. At such background, whether We media can create the profit model that brings lasting and steady benefits becomes one of the most important elements for its future development.
According to the statement above, this study aims to make it clear that the profit model and its function of We media in China. A suitable profit model is one of the decision-elements for We media, either its ability to make profit or its sustainable development. According to the wave of investing We media from enterprises and venture capitals, it seems that We media in China have set up the suitable profit model so its profit expectation is wonderful. While considering today’s profitability of We media, it is difficult to say that We media have made a good performance about making money. So it is meaningful to explore the real situation of We media’s profit models. Specifically, there are three main research questions. First, what are the main profit models used by We media in China? Second, what are the types that those profit models belong to? Third, how can we evaluate those profit models?
The development of We media
Because of the rapid development of the internet, this situation had appeared: news was being produced by regular people who had something to say and show, and not solely by the “official” news organizations that had traditionally decided how the first draft of history would look. The first draft of history was being written, in part, by the former audience . Different from traditional new organizations, this new method or approach to disseminating information can be regarded as We media. And different from traditional journalists who work for big media organizations, those people who resign from media organizations or even are just audiences are seen as so-called “civic journalists”. The main values of We media at the beginning of its development can be summed up to two points. The first one is that We media can disseminate information faster than traditional media organization. For instance, a suicide bombers attack happened in London on 7 July 2005. This event killed the suicide bombers and dozens of others in the subway and on a bus. One photograph captured this event firstly and disseminated this information through the internet. The photo was taken and disseminated by an ordinary people through his mobile phone . The similar cases are increasing significantly today around the world for the improvement and diffusion of social media. The second one is that We media can dig up that information which cannot be found or reported by traditional media organizations. The typical case was Drudge Report differing the U.S. ex-president Clinton’s alleged affair with Lewinsky . This explosive news had not been reported by traditional media, while was dig up by a little known We media. After this case, the influence of Drudge Report was increasing rapidly. At the beginning, We media’s function was reporting news based on different method from traditional media organizations. While the function of We media was enriching and its influence was improving during the past ten years. With the development and diffusion of social media, i.e., Facebook, Twitter and so on, We media have gained the influential platform and received the rapid grow of fans and audiences. As a result, the status of traditional media has been challenged by We media, many of scholars started to research how to save newspapers and TVs using Facebook and Twitter .
The development of We media in China was also remarkable in the past decade. One of the main reasons is that the improvement of diffusion of the internet in mainland of China was very fast during the past ten years, although it started later than Western countries. The first wave of We media’s development in China was attributed to the rise of the blog. It was the first time that ordinary people in China received the opportunity to express their own voice to some degree. So many famed persons and ordinary people created their own blog account and disseminated information or expressed their opinions about public affairs, which could be regarded as the development of civic journalism in China [6-8]. The second wave of We media’s development in China was based on the appearance and diffusion of micro-blog (or Weibo) before and after 2010. This Twitter-like social media was created by Sina and harvested a large number of fans in a very short time. Many famed people, i.e., authors, actors, professors, entrepreneurs and ordinary people set up their own account of Weibo, disseminating daily information and expressing their opinion about public affairs within 140 words. Of course, this platform becomes a good place for people to cultivate and manage their We media. Meanwhile, this platform becomes a good approach for citizen’s political participation in China where people have little chance to take part in offline political activities [9-11]. For example, anti-corruption through Weibo was flourishing in a period of time when the government had not taken actions. The typical process of Weibo anti-corruption is that ordinary people expose corrupt officers to public and influential Weibo users (or so-called “big V”) forward this information to more people, than official departments investigate these corrupt officers . So the main function of We media in this time was civic engagement. The third wave of We media’s development in China was appearing after the rise of Wechat and other online media platforms. Comparing to the former two wave of We media’s development, the main aim of people setting up and managing We media in the third wave was changing from political and public purposes to profit aims. In other words, people who manage Wechat official accounts or other types of We media in recent 5 years in China were aiming to get commercial interest .
Study on the profit model of We media
Many pieces of research focused on the economic aspect of media
or so-called media economics. Comparing to other products,
media is very different for its special qualities not shaped by
other products or services. The main feature of media economics
is that media firms can operate so-called “dual product”
markets or what can be understood as “two-sided markets”. It
means that there are two different outputs, first, content (i.e.,
television programmes, newspaper copies, magazine articles,
etc) and second, audiences, specifically audiences’ attention. The
audiences have been attracted by contents provided by media
becoming a second product, insofar access to audiences can be
packaged, priced and sold to advertisers . Just like traditional
media, many We media, according to scholars’ summaries,
make profit through “two-sided market”, specifically, through
advertisement. For example, many We media in Medium, a
rapid rise online media platform in American and the Hustle, a
rising star of media entrepreneurship are making profit mostly
rely on advertisement [15,16]. We media are very different from
traditional media groups, neither the operation pattern or the
content. While according to the profit models, there seems no
obvious variance between these two types of media.
Besides U.S., there were many scholars and experts trying to figure
out the feature of We media’s profit model in China. For instance,
there were many studies focused on Wechat official accounts’
profit model and its effect. Xu  summed up four profit models
of We media in Wechat, which were advertisement, paid reading,
O2O (online to offline) and e-commerce. The most important
profit model is advertising, according to an official report, the
total value of internet advertisement reached 15 billion yuan
and social media advertisement accounted for 2 billion yuan
. Peng and Xie  gained the similar results with Xu, but
they pointed out there was still a new profit model that was
ignored by Xu and other researchers. Specifically, they held the
view that the cooperation of We media was also a profit model.
According to the explanation of these two authors, cooperation
means We media distribute different types of advertisements to
suitable platform of We media . While this is just a strategy
to maximize the benefits of advertising, so it cannot, in my view,
be regarded as a profit model. There were still many studies
focused on We media’s profit model beyond Wechat. Zeng and
Wang  pointed out the profit models of We media can be
divided into two main types, which are “direct profit model” and
“indirect profit model”. The first one includes paid reading and
advertisement, the second one includes e-commerce and socalled
community economy, which has been becoming a popular
noun in recent years. It means many fans will be gathered by
famed We media, so the We media can make profit through O2O and other ways. Luoji Thinking is a typical representative that
proofs the function of community economy. Luoji Thinking held
a activity recruiting members when its Wechat official accounts
had been set up eight months later. The totally 5,500 quotas had
been sold out within six hours. Luoji Thinking also held a series of
offline seminars and the ticket’s maximum price was up to 13,998
yuan, while fans rush to signed up these activities . It is no
doubt that the influence of Luoji Thinking’s community economy
can be witness very clearly. While this method cannot be used
well by unnamed We media, in other words, so-called community
economy cannot be used by most We media for them limited size
of fans’ group . Besides, there were some scholars summed
up six profit models of We media in China, specifically, advertising,
recruiting insiders, charging for derivative services, charging for
copyright, paid reading and e-commerce . According to the
statement, there seems many profit models used by We media in
China, while whether these profit models can bring considerable
effect is still a unsolved question, which is also the main research
question of this study.
This study is based on nine interviewees (conducted between July 2016 to March 2017) with faculties, journalists and employees of We media in mainland of China about their view and experience of the profit models of We media. First, there are three faculties who had made a lot of academic studies about We media and harvested considerable reputation from Tsinghua University, Communication University of China and Beijing normal University. The main reason why I interviewed these scholars is that they can analyze the profit models of We media through academic and theoretical horizon. Second, there are three experiential journalists from Economic Observer and Beijing Business Today. These three reporters had made a lot of reports about entrepreneurship, capital market and We media and had their own opinion about the development of We media or so-called starting a content-based business in China. Third, I have interviewed three employees of two famed We media, Luoji Thinking and “Hedgehog community, a fast-rising Wechat official account. These two We media are typical successful representatives about content-based entrepreneurship in China in recent years. As insiders of these two We media, the three interviewees have many first-hand materials and experiences about We media’s profit models, so their responses are useful and helpful for this research (Table 1).
Table 1: The coding of 10 interviewees.
||Communication university of China
||Beijing normal University
||Face to face
||Face to face
||Face to face
||Beijing Business Today
||Face to face
||Face to face
||Face to face
We media’s Profit Models and Its Types
We media’s profit models
Advertising: Advertising is the most important profit model for traditional media and We media, even though there are a lot of differences between these two types of media. Just taking Wechat official accounts as an example, according to the annual report of The New List, the number of advertising transaction grew by 67 percent and the total income’s growth reached more than 158 percent in 2016 . Some famed We media’s advertising earning has already exceeded traditional big media organizations.
I think advertising is an important way for We media to make profit. Just taking “Qipa talk show” as an example, its total advertising revenue was 50 million yuan in the first season, this number grew at more than 100 million yuan in the second season, while the total advertising revenue, according to relative news, has reached more than 300 million in the third season. This number is exceeding many traditional media (A1, 2016).
According to my experience, advertising is still the main method for We media to make profit […] other methods, you know, such as O2O, e-commerce and so on can be only successfully used by famed We media, including Luoji Thinking and “Wu Xiaobo’s Channel” and so on (B1, 2016).
Advertising is not the main way for Luoji Thinking to make profit. We basically do not rely on advertising to make money. But advertising, as my experience, is the irreplaceable method for some small We media to make profit (C1, 2016).
Paid reading: There is a big discussion about if paid reading can
be used in the Chinese context. In the past two or three years,
some We media and traditional media started to test the profit
model of paid reading. Luoji Thinking offered “Li Xiang Business
Report”, “The Road to Wealth Freedom” and other paid reading
contents at APP named “Get”. These products have gained good
sales. While according to the annual report of The New List, there
were only 29.5% net users had ever purchased text and video
products online, and there are only less than 20% net users
had ever purchased paid products for two to four times, while
percentage had declined at less than 2% who had ever purchased
paid products for more than five times . So it seems difficult to
say that paid reading is a sustainable profit model for We media.
Swatman et al. have pointed out net users are accustomed to
getting free content through the internet, Chinese net users
are not an exception. At such background, when many people
illustrate the meaning of internet spirit, they also put “free” at the
first place. So I think this situation is not good for the development
of the profit model of paid reading in China (A1, 2006).
Well, you know, it is very difficult to development paid reading
in our country because we have ignored the importance of
protecting copyright for a very long time. Nowadays, few people
have recognized the meaning and value of copyright, most people
are accustomed to getting free books, materials and other things
they needed from the internet. So it is almost impossible, in my
view, to encourage them paid reading (A2, 2017).
Yes, we have offered a series of paid reading products and they
sell well […] but this revenue’s role is not very important to us in
practice (C1, 2016).
We have not offered any paid reading products and we will not
offer such product in a short time because I personally don’t think
it is a good idea or method to make profit depended on paid
reading. Not long ago, you know, People’s Daily has given up paid
reading […] well, maybe things will change in the future, but now,
I still think paid reading is not suitable, at least, for Hedgehog
Community (C2, 2016).
Membership: Membership is such a profit or business model
that between paid reading and free reading . Specifically, if
the users are the members of We media, they needn’t to pay
for reading the content. While if the users have not become the
members of We media, they have to pay for reading. Besides
free of reading, member can also enjoy other benefits such as
attending offline activities, getting the exclusive contents and so
on. The most typical case of membership of We media was held
by Luoji Thinking in 2013. The totally 5,500 quotas had been sold
out within 6 hours, which lead Luoji Thinking to earn more than
1.6 million yuan . Witnessing the membership’s success of
Luoji Thinking, many other We media started to use membership
to make profit in recent years.
Membership is a new profit model for We media, but it is too early
to say this model will be a main way for We media to make money (A3, 2016).
Membership has been discussed frequently in recent two to three
years. Some people think it is a good way for We media to keep
away from traditional profit models. But there is criticism about
membership. For example, some people complain what they
get from Li Xiang Business Report when they became members
of Luoji Thinking is very similar to the precious content. In other
words, it makes no sense for them to pay the membership fee (B3,
The membership of Luoji Thinking has been discussed widely and
everyone was amazed at we selling 160 million yuan just using 6
hours. But in the second year, this number reached 800 million. Of
course, we will continue to do this (membership), but it is still not
the main profit method for us (C1, 2016).
Profit-sharing model: Profit-sharing model means big media
platforms, i.e., Today Toutiao, Tencent, Baidu, provide copyright
fee and subsidy to We media. The main purpose of these big corporations providing profit to We media is encouraging they
to produce good text and video contents so that audience can be
absorbed to these online platforms and audience’s attention will
bring a lot of advertising and profit. At such background, many
big corporations offer a lot of money to reward We media, for
instance, both of UC browser and Today Toutiao offer more than
1 billion yuan to encourage We media’s content production .
It seems that many We media can get benefits through profitsharing
It is a truth that many small and medium We media can make
benefits from profit-sharing model. These We media cannot make
considerable incomes from advertisement, let along e-commerce
and so-called community economy. While comparing to the
number of We media, platforms’ subsidy is very limited, in other
words, it is impossible that all of the We media can rely on this
profit model (A2, 2017).
According to my experience, it is difficult for many nameless We
media to gain high benefits from the profit-sharing model. And
considering the total subsidy, these famed We media also cannot
gain enough benefit from this profit model (B2, 2016).
I think this profit model (profit-sharing) will lead to the situation
that We media are kidnapped by online platforms. The main
difference or characteristic of We media is breaking the model
of centralization, which is the main feature of traditional media
organization. While because of profit-sharing model, We media
are organized together, which is similar with traditional media
group (C3, 2016).
E-commerce: It was not popular that We media set and managed
the platform of e-commerce in two or three years ago. While this
situation has changed since 2016, many We media started to
build their own platform of e-commerce. The New List  had
investigated 5,269 We media and found there were 718 We media
having their own e-commerce’s platform. Only few We media
can get spectacular benefits from the e-commerce, even though
many We media have built their own online platform. According
the relative report, there are only 23.9 percent customers often
do the consumption through We media’s e-commerce platform;
there are 38.3 percent customers do the consumption through
the We media’s e-commerce platform occasionally; there are up
to 37.8 percent customers have never done the consumption
through any We media’s e-commerce platform . So it might
be difficult for We media getting benefits from the profit model
There are some successful cases such as “Li Bei Ka”, a We media
offering fashion information and relative things. While there is a
big problem for We media to do e-commerce. It is that most of
the succeed We media are related to fast fashion agents, which is
changing fast and needed timely attention. So these succeed We
media are very possible replaced by other similar ones, as a result,
their e-commerce is also not stable (A3, 2016).
There is no doubt, e-commerce can bring high level of benefit to
We media. While this profit model’s access threshold, at least as my opinion, is the highest one among all of profit models. Because
We media need to build close tie with audiences. What’s more,
high number of fans is the basic condition. These We media, i.e.,
Wu Xiaobo’s channel and Luoji Thinking having more than 10
million fans can gain huge benefits from e-commerce. While there
are some minority We media, which cannot gain spectacular
benefits from e-commerce, even though these We media have a
close relationship with audiences (B1, 2016).
E-commerce is the main method of Luoji Thinking to make profit.
In the last year, our sales was more than 100 million yuan only
based on 60 types books online. You know, this results exceeded
the maximum earning of many traditional media. While I wanna
pointed out there is a basic requirement of We media that aim
to start e-commerce, which is enough fans. As you know, there
are many We media try to build e-commerce platform but many
of these We media cannot gain expected benefit, the most
important reason is that these We media have no enough fans
and influences (C1, 2016).
Derivative service: Derivative service means We media or their
holders make profit in other approaches relying on their influence.
For example, Luo Zhengyu, the holder of Luoji Thinking, make
high profit through speech activities such as a series of speech
called “Time Friends”. There is another typical representative, Wu
Xiaobo, the holder of Wu Xiaobo’s Channel, also hold a series of
seminars about company’s restructuring. He had held a seminar
in Shanghai August 2015 and the price of ticket up to 9,800 yuan
. While the limitation of this method is very obvious that both
of We media and its holder should enjoy high level of influence
among their audience. Otherwise, derivative service cannot bring
spectacular benefit to We media.
Derivative service, with loose standard, is a profit model of We
media. But if you observe this method carefully, you will find the
problem […] In fact, it is very difficult for many We media’s holders
to make profit through this approach for their limited influence
among audience. There are only a few We media’s holders can
practice this model (A2, 2017).
Derivative services such as offline speeches and seminars, are
belonging to attention economy to some degrees. Why audiences
willing to spend so much money on these speeches and seminars?
I think the most important reason is not relying on the content of
speeches or seminars, but relying on the influence of We media
and its holders. So it is difficult for many unnamed We media to
follow this profit model (A3, 2016).
As you mentioned, Luoji Thinking has held many offline speeches
every year and all of the tickets are selling well. But the main
purpose of these offline activities is closer ties to the audience,
rather than making money. In fact, comparing with other profit
model, the tickets’ revenue is not very high (C1, 2016).
The types of We media’s profit model
In order to analyze these profit models deeply, I wanna classify
them based on the typology. According to the content of the indepth
interview, all of the profit models can be classified based on two indicators, which are the method of profit and the level of
profit. Specifically, there are two types of profit’s method, direct
profit, and indirect profit; there are also two types of profit’s
level, high profit and low profit. They form a two-dimensional
axis. The four quadrants are “direct and high profit”, “indirect
and high profit”, “indirect and low profit”, “direct and low profit”.
So all of the six profit models of We media can be divided into
these four quadrants. First, advertising is the main method of We
media to make money. According to the attribute of advertising,
it can be regarded as direct profit and the level of profit made by
advertisement is relatively high. So the first profit model can be
seen as “direct and high profit”. Second, paid reading, with no
doubt, belongs to direct profit, while the total profit earned by
this method is not very high, which can be proofed by the content
of the in-depth interview. So the second profit model, I mean
paid reading, can be regarded as “direct and low profit”. Third,
the model of membership also belongs to direct profit, which is
similar to paid reading. And the level of profit made by this model
is also not very high. Overall, the model of membership belongs
to “direct and low profit”. Fourth, considering the attribute of
profit-sharing model, it can be regarded as direct profit. And just
like these interviewees’ opinion, there are few benefits that We
media can get through profit-sharing model for the limitation of
capital. So this model can be seen as “direct and low profit”. Fifth,
e-commerce is not getting benefit through We media itself, while
gaining high profit through selling goods online based on the
influence of We media, so this model can be regarded as “indirect
and high profit”. Sixth, there is no doubt, derivative service is
an indirect-profit model. And comparing with advertising and
e-commerce, the total benefit made by this method is limited.
So derivative service can be regarded as “indirect and low profit”
Figure 1: The types of We media’s profit models.
Evaluating the We Media’s Profit
We Media’s profit models are very rich
There are totally six main profit models used by We media in China. And there might be some other profit models, ignored by
this study, used by some unnamed We media but having huge
potential. Comparing with traditional media’s profit method, We
media’s approaches are richer and wider, so We media show the
stronger vitality in many aspects than traditional media. What’s
more, these profit models encourage many people to join in this
field, I mean starting a business through We media, and excite
them to explore more profit models. In this extent, we should
give a positive evaluation to We media’s profit models.
Yes, We media’s profit models are very rich, even though some
of them cannot play an important role in making money. And I
think one of the main power that push the considerable number
of people starting to build their own We media is the rich profit
models (A2, 2017).
Direct profit accounts for the main proportion
There are four profit models belong to the type of direct profit,
while only two profit models belong to the type of indirect profit.
So direct profit is the main method for We media to make money.
Direct profit, to some degrees, means We media can make money
in short time. It seems good for We media, especially those We
media in the initial stage because those We media are in great
request of money. But making money so fast is not good for We
media on the whole. First, We media will be anxious to achieve
quick success and get instant benefits. As we all know, the quality
of content is the most important element for media, especially
We media, which need to gain audience’s trust through the high
quality of text and video contents. If We media are very eager to
get profit as soon as possible, they might ignore the importance
of content’s quality. Second, We media shouldn’t be limited to
the type of direct profit. Comparing with direct profit, the type
of indirect profit is more sustainable and dynamic. Direct profit is
the main method for traditional media, while We media should
explore more sustainable business model than traditional media,
so they shouldn’t be limited to the type of direct profit.
As you mentioned, direct profit, too many degrees, is the main
type for We media to make money, including advertising, paid
reading, membership and so on. Even though this type of profit
can bring benefit fast, We media should explore the new type of
profit model, I mean indirect profit (A1, 2016).
In fact, I have no idea about the so-called “direct profit” and
“indirect profit”. But according to your statement, the type of
indirect profit is the main method for Luoji Thinking to make
money for e-commerce has brought the major income every
year. And in this context, I think indirect profit might be more
sustainable than direct profit (C1, 2016).
Low profit accounts for the main proportion
There are four profit models belong to the type of low profit
model, in other words, only two profit models belong to high
profit model. Considering their attribute, it is not difficult to
understand the relatively low profit-making capacity of paid
reading, membership, profit-sharing model and derivative
service. While these two high profit models, advertising and e-commerce, also can hardly bring high level of benefits in real
practice, even though these two models can help We media
make high profit in the theoretical context. Especially, We
media’s e-commerce, according to the relative report, has not
experienced rapid development in recent few years. Just like it
mentioned above, there are only 23.9 percent customers often
do the consumption through We media’s e-commerce platforms.
And the most important reason why these 23.9% people do
the consumption through We media’s e-commerce platforms,
according to the interview, is there are goods meet customers’
needs in online platforms [22-24]. Based on the statement, We
media’s profitability is not very strong.
In fact, I don’t think We media’ profitability is very good, even
though there are so many famed journalists and other former
media workers create and manage their own We media.[…] if we
analyze deeply We media’s profit models, it is obvious low profit
models account for a large proportion (A2, 2017).
To be honest, low profit models account for the high level of
proportion. And there are only few We media such as Luoji
Thinking, Wu Xiaobo’s Channel and Papi Girl can bring high level
of profit. While other hundreds and thousands of We media can
only gain very limited profit. I think the total number of We media
will decrease in the future two or three years (C3, 2016).
First, there are totally six profit models used by We media in
mainland of China based on the statement above. Specifically,
these six profit models are advertising, paid reading, membership,
profit-sharing model, e-commerce and derivative service.
Second, these six profit models can be divided into four types.
Advertising belongs to “direct and high profit”, e-commerce
belongs to “indirect and high profit”, derivative service belongs to
“indirect and low profit”, the remaining three profit models, paid
reading, membership and profit-sharing model belong to “direct
and low profit”. Third, we can evaluate the profit model of We
media through two main aspects. On the one hand, we need to
recognize We media’s profit models are very rich. In other words,
We media can make money by many different ways, which, with
no doubt, is a good condition for We media’s improvement.
While on the other hand, there is a big limitation of We media’s
profit models, specifically, direct and low profit method accounts
for the high level of proportion. It means We media’s actual
profitability is not very strong, so many We media can only gain
the low level of profit in practice. Overall, We media, the new
orientation of media industry, has been experiencing the rapid
development in mainland of China since before and after 2015,
while it is still an unanswered question whether We media is a
sustainable business model in China.
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