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Net writers in the shadow of original reading monopoly, trapped in an isolated island

  Net writers in the shadow of  original  reading monopoly, trapped in an isolated island   6 Author: Yuan Ye Shanghua Edit: Canghai My fate...


Net writers in the shadow of reading monopoly, trapped in an isolated island 

Author: Yuan Ye Shanghua

Edit: Canghai

My fate is my involuntary youthfulness, which has always been a passionate subject of online articles. Because it is bloody enough to be a ray of light that shines through the haunting reality.

In the late spring of a year ago, web writers staged a realistic version. Because the Reading Group updated the "Overlord Contract" and made no secret of its ambition to monopolize the "great" authors, monopolize IP, and monopolize the upstream and downstream industries, the small and medium-sized authors joined forces and decided to collectively break one day on May 5. After the situation fermented, China Reading Group was forced to respond three times in five days, and finally held a discussion meeting with the author's representative to draw up a new contract.

After the turmoil subsided, people discovered that, as the top authors of vested interests, they were still proud of their horseshoes, while small and medium-sized creators had not been able to change their own destiny- this year, the monopoly of reading texts was still unavailable. People shake.

In the cracks, some authors left angrily, others were forced to give in, only to break the update again on May 5, a year later, in protest. Without exception, these voices completely melted into the beast of the reading text, no one heard or cared about it.

This is the real world outside of the web. When the capital grows large enough to occupy a monopoly advantage, they think that they have power and can selectively see and ignore them. And this pride may lead it to an unpredictable future.



After a year, many people continue to ask questions on social platforms: Is the reading after the break is still suitable for signing? Experienced authors will persuade them to "jump carefully" so as not to become a "code word package" as soon as they enter the industry.

In the world of online literature, the author has been reading the article for a long time.

Some people don't make money, some people suffer injustice, and the 55 breaks a year ago became the last straw for many people. Many media reported that there was a trend of small and medium-sized authors leaving after reading the article. After encountering the boycott, Reading published a new contract, according to the needs of different authors, formulating three types and four versions. Among them, the most basic version is equivalent to not signing a contract with the platform, and the author can't get any resources, which is nothing.

"Beijing Business Daily" interviewed Mr. Wang, an online journalist. After the turmoil, he directly chose to stop the update, and instead went crazy with his resume to find a company. He could not accept his corresponding new contract, "The contract stipulates that I must unconditionally transfer the copyright to the reading, and they do not need my consent to operate the copyright", "It's like the child I gave birth to, but I have to care about others when I raise it. Dad, I have to provide for others to provide for the elderly."

The author "Xiao An" also chose to leave after seeing the new contract. The self-media "Ran Caijing" quoted her as saying, "I was at a loss that day, I couldn't figure out why I didn't change the contract after reading the article. Now I think about it, they don't care about authors below the middle level."

In the reading, this is already an open secret.

The Reading Group was derived from the acquisition of Shanda Literature by Tencent Literature, and the predecessor of Shanda Literature was the starting point Chinese website founded by Wu Wenhui's team. Over the past ten years, these websites have been separated and combined, and the authors have followed them around. The author "Golden" told [Slightly Larger Reference] that most of the creators who are currently reading articles have settled in the starting point Chinese website, Chuangshi Chinese website, and Hongxiu Tianxiang earlier, and later joined together with the "Indigenous Place" Read the article.

For the author, this is because of inertia and also because there is no choice. If you say that online literature is the world of martial arts, reading literature has long occupied Guangmingding, monopolizing the world's authors, and reaping stable interests. It has already claimed to have 9 million creators last year-without a doubt, this is the biggest school in the world. What's more, it has QQ Reading and WeChat Reading, who dominate the same school and form a monopoly.

The reading also re-enacted the rules of the rivers and lakes. The flow that dominates the monopoly has become a killer that determines the life and death of the author. Everyone loves, fears, and yearns for it, but no one can fight it alone.

In reading, works without traffic recommendations can only die alone. With traffic, there will be a steady stream of money and reputation. This is probably the cruelest gap between the rich and the poor in the world. It is also the result of cervical spondylosis caused by the exhaustion of writing. Some are worthless, and some are spending money in Hermes and Patek Philippe stores—for example, the platinum writer Tang Jia Sanshao, Wearing Hermès shoes seven or eight years ago, he stood at the top of the list of rich Chinese Internet writers. In 2014, his copyright income was 50 million.

Reading articles will publish a list of heroes every year: the list of authors of the Platinum Great God. There are only more than 400 people whose names can appear in it. In other words, only one of the more than 20,000 authors can be on the list. This probability is comparable to buying a lottery ticket.

This is a group of people selected by capital who rely solely on copyright income. Their annual income ranges from as little as one million to as many as ten million. Compared with the illusory fairness and justice, they love the renminbi more. As a result, in the turmoil a year ago, the vested interests represented by the three young masters of the Tang family spoke for the platform one after another.

They were also scolded on hot searches. People are indignant. It turns out that chivalrousness is just a skin used to deceive people. In the face of profit, these dream makers are just marketers who are in the limelight.

The anger of the onlookers came and died quickly. But for the people in it, the story is another version.

The China Reading Group announced last year that there were 9 million creators. After the storm, they were divided into three or sixty-nine categories by contract. Even if they are disappointed and dissatisfied, not everyone has the confidence to choose to leave. The author of the net article "black or white" complains in Zhihu. Even if the cost of the manuscript is small, he still has to resist the curse of "the dog will come back when he is hungry", hold his own life and continue to suffer, and then continue to be exploited. .

Hope is the product that China Reading Group has always been good at packaging, whether it is for creators or for the capital market.

"In our industry, there are very few writers at the top of the pyramid, and a large number of authors are ordinary people, but everyone feels that their works can have the opportunity to sell copyright, and they all have the expectation that they can be adapted for film and television games. "Acorns", the author who thinks he is reading the article belongs to the middle waist, told [Slightly Larger Reference].

Many dream makers can only choose the dream created for them by reading, because their cost of leaving is much higher than the cost of losing them by reading. The authors at the top of the pyramid contributed the IP productivity that reading articles most wanted to monopolize, and the loss at the bottom, at least in the short-term commercial significance, is not important.

The middle and small authors who can't leave can only continue in the swing. For the low-level authors who have not yet written the complete work, the story of the Third Young Master Tang is just the carrot hanging over his head. As a bait to encourage work, it is beyond reach. Their greatest benefit in reading is only from full attendance—— If you insist on updating 4000 words every day, the author can get the perfect attendance award. The first 3 months are the "honeymoon period", and the monthly amount can be 1500 yuan. From the fourth month, the strict assessment will be carried out. Only the average reading volume of each chapter reaches 500. You can only get 1,000 yuan that month, if not, it will be 0.

This is like an employment relationship without a contract. The boss's initial promise is: as long as he comes to work every day, he will give you money. The employees came here and worked hard. Three months later, the boss started to increase the weight: No, you have to make achievements to get the money, otherwise you can only do it for nothing. In the whole process, the boss performs only rights and no obligations.

Powerful is all its presumptuous confidence.



The work created by every web author can be called IP. A good IP may continue to be developed into film, television, animation and games after harvesting the traffic of online texts. While the value of IP continues to expand, wealth will also be like a snowball that grows bigger and bigger, trembling to the creator.

Of course, such lucky people will only be a minority.

It has no worries about reading. It reserves 13.9 million works. As long as the monopoly of high-quality IP is achieved, the East is not bright and the West is bright. The authors strive to update and write IP with bald cervical spondylosis, and the platform always makes a steady profit.

"Zui Son", which was broadcast last year, is an excellent example of reading the value of IP.

One thing that makes Capital very happy is that many people have eaten meat because of it. This is the most important criterion for measuring the value of IP.

This play is adapted from the work of the same name by the author of the Reading Group "Angry Banana"-according to legend, Reading Wen spent 40 million to buy this IP, so when it was broadcast, the signature that appeared at the beginning was: This film was adapted from Reading Group's work "Zui Son-in-law".

Reading the text ate this bite of meat. It spent 40 million to buy this IP, which was produced by its own investment by Xinli Media, and then sold to Tencent Video’s competitor, iQiyi, at a better price.

The two parties did not disclose the specific amount of the transaction, but Gong Yu once said when iQiyi adjusted the price of VIP members at the end of 2020, "This is an inevitable price increase. We have invested a lot of costs", "(Now) copyright purchases two hundred per episode. Everyone can basically watch two million dramas. If it is broadcast alone, it may cost six million or eight million."

"Zuo Son" was finally broadcast on iQiyi alone, 36 episodes, a little conservative, according to the calculation of 6 million per episode, the copyright fee that iQiyi needs to pay for it also exceeds 200 million.

However, the money spent on iQiyi is distressed, and it is also the meat -eater in this game-"Zuo Son-in-law" alone supported iQiyi's 2021 Q1 financial report.

Gong Yu mentioned in an open letter after the release of the financial report, "No matter in terms of ratings or commercialization efficiency, "Zui Son" is a good benchmark." According to the official statement, this hot drama once occupied the screens of about 180 million devices. As of the end, the number of member accounts of chasing drama members exceeded 64 million, which brought the peak number of members in the quarter to the level at the end of Q1 last year. At that time, the impact of the epidemic was severe and consumer demand for online entertainment was skyrocketing.

Q1 data shows that iQiyi's subscription membership increased by 3.6 million, and membership service revenue increased by 12% month-on-month. Affected by the financial report, iQiyi's stock price rose by 11% that day, and its market value reached 11.2 billion US dollars. In this exciting game that increased by 1 billion US dollars overnight, the contribution of "Zui Son" accounted for the bulk.

The price of an IP sold from the writer is 40 million; the price sold from Wenwen is more than 200 million; in the hands of the exclusive broadcasting platform iQiyi, the indirect income it creates may exceed 1 billion US dollars.

During this period, it is clear at a glance who is eating meat and who is drinking soup.

Reading only wants to play the role of eating meat. Therefore, it must do a strong management of web writers, ensure that its monopoly position in the industry remains unshakable, and extend its advantages to upstream and downstream.


Under blooming flowers

Everyone loves high-quality IP. Scarcity and energy give it the most fascinating diamond halo.

The contract turmoil that triggered the "55 Breaking Festival" is essentially the China Reading Group's anxiety about whether it can continue to monopolize the IP business.

In order to maintain the status of the arena, reading is also iterating. Before the storm, at the end of April 2020, the Wu Wenhui team who was in charge of the Reading Group was taken down and replaced by Tencent’s own person, Cheng Wu. In the industry, this is considered to be a victory of the free online text model over the paid model, as well as a victory of the new model over the old model.

Wu Wenhui is the originator of Netwen Jianghu. The paid-for-reading model he pioneered, starting in 2002, has set off a mighty wealth-making movement. Authors such as Tang’s Third Young Master and Mao Niu who stood at the top of the pyramid became the best billboards for this business. A steady stream of newcomers came in. They coded words alone in front of the computer in the dark night, and they also looked forward to their fame and fortune one day.

But this model is gradually disenchanting.

Wenwen was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in November 2017. Since then, its average monthly payers have begun to decline for several consecutive years. The financial report data shows that from 2018 to 2020, the number of paying people was 10.8 million, 9.8 million and 10.2 million, respectively. The data for several years is less than the 11.1 million before the listing in 2017.

For reading, the cost of good content is too high, and the wool can only be produced on the sheep. From 2018 to 2020, the average monthly income contributed by each paying user to reading has increased from 22.3 yuan to 34.7 yuan. Some users found that the popular work "Douluo Dalu" by the Tang family, with 7 million words, costs about 100 yuan to read, which is nearly half more expensive than similar products in physical bookstores.

For users, on the one hand, the rising cost of reading online articles, and on the other hand, there are a large number of free reading platforms such as Tomato Novels. It is conceivable where the balance will be biased.

Reading is very clever. After being aware of the changes in the times, Wu Wenhui's team's persistence to the old model was left behind by it. After Cheng Wu came to power, Read Wen increased its exploration of the free model, and it was even better to turn itself into a part of Tencent's "new cultural and creative" strategy, and to be even more upright- as a monopolist in the online literature industry, get " With the strategic support of the fathers of the "rich generation", it is even harder for the world to change.

Cheng Wu, born in Tsinghua, is not only the CEO of China Reading Group, but also the vice president of Tencent Group. There is no doubt that he can swing a thicker stick compared to Wu Wenhui, who focuses on web writing.

His definition of the "new cultural and creative" concept is simply: to open up Tencent's internal resources and maximize the value of IP.

The Xinli Media, which caused Reading to lose 4.4 billion in Q1 this year, and received a 500,000 fine from the State Administration of Market Supervision in December last year, is an important part of the strategy. In Tencent’s ideal link, reading articles incubating IP is the first step, and the adaptation and production of Xinli Media is the second step. From this point on, life is two, two is three, three is all things, movies, animations and games. The multiple forms derived from this will eventually meet at the end of "realization".

Once this set of links runs through, Tencent may be unstoppable in the entertainment industry: upstream, controlling content production, downstream, controlling distribution and monetization, all voices and pricing powers become the words of one family.

In this faintly monopolistic style of play, Reading was placed in the position of charging and trapping. It has no choice but to monopolize more good IPs, bind more deeply with authors, and get more profits. Modifying the contract has become the first step to strengthen its control and harvest creators.

I have to say that this style of play has paid off. China Reading Group’s 2020 annual report shows that its total revenue reached 8.5 billion. In the second half of the year, after Cheng Wu took over, revenue was 5.3 billion, an increase of 62% over the first half -when Cheng Wu was sitting in his spacious office, In the data, I am gratified by the prosperity of the reading empire. The cry of the bottom authors has long been blown away by the sea breeze in Shenzhen Bay.

Even though, the anti-monopoly spring thunder has already roared in the night sky of this country.


Isolated island

"If China Reading Group really intends to treat the author as a leek, is there any other suitable website to go to?" Zhihu's previous question received high attention, and the answer "Wuhe" became a high praise answer. The answer given by the main explanation is: "Reading texts oppresses people, but there is no substitute in the market."

According to the "2020 China Internet Literature Development Report" issued by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as of December 2020, the number of online literature users in my country has reached 460 million, accounting for 46.5% of the total Internet users. In other words, nearly half of the current Internet users in my country are users of online literature.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences explained the basis of this data report, “It is based on the annual data and industry public data of China Reading Group, a well-known digital reading and literary IP cultivation platform in China, as the main analysis blueprint.”

The monopoly of reading can be seen.

Although Wenwen has always been telling IP stories, the big IP created by the top authors, such as the three young Tang family, the tricky, and angry banana, are only a small part of the market value of Wenwen. It is Tencent standing behind it that really builds its value background.

The author of the Internet article "Golden" told [Slightly Larger Reference] that most creators cannot refuse to read the article, it is too large, "It is like a big family, from writing articles to film and television dramas, games, cartoons, etc. All forms of copyright income can achieve one-stop service." For example, distribution, QQ Reading, WeChat Reading, Starting Point Reading, Flying Reading Free Novels, Xiaoxiang Academy, Red Sleeve Reading, etc. through the channels of Reading Wen, the resulting exposure and traffic are tangible benefits for the author. .

Not to mention those golden glittering dreams about copyright adaptation and authorization to achieve financial freedom.

Today, these dreams are farther and farther away from ordinary creators. The most recent addition to the list of Reading White Gold Gods only added 24 people. They were "spokespersons" selected from millions of people. When platforms conflict with creators, they are more convincing voices. And those ordinary creators who are trapped in the reading giant system can only fight alone.

In fact, these large numbers of small and medium-sized authors are the real foundation of reading articles and even the business of online writing. After all, people are always the core of all content businesses.

Whether standing in the past, present or future, there are enough reasons to read the article to treat this group of people well.

But perhaps, there is no freedom to read articles. It is the boss of a monopoly in the world of online culture. However, in the system of Tencent's "new cultural and creative" system, it is only a pawn—this is the price of marrying into a wealthy family. Money, status, and resources are available, except for freedom.

In Tencent's larger system, it can only infinitely magnify its role. Specific to the business level, it is to monopolize more IP worthy of development, find more water sources for the "new cultural and creative" lake that Tencent wants to dig out, and then consolidate Tencent's position in the large cultural and entertainment industry.

In this process, the rights and interests of the vast majority of web authors have become funerary objects.

The protagonist of the Spring Festival movie "Assassination of the Novelist" is an online novel author. The author "Qian'er" is deeply impressed by this. The hero's novel has not been popular for 6 years. "For 6 years, he has been in obscurity and insisted on writing. In the online literature world, the vast majority.

These obscure creators are like islands based on reading. They fend for themselves, and unless a gold mine is dug one day, they will be seen by the wider world-of course, the ownership of the gold mine has to be handed in or cut to the reading.

Before that, they could only survive long nights one after another in loneliness and poverty.

And before the end of the long night, someone had already died. The cruelest thing is that even their deaths are destined to be unknown.

Perhaps the best omen was the 55-stop shift in the shadow of monopoly.



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AboutMicro News: Net writers in the shadow of original reading monopoly, trapped in an isolated island
Net writers in the shadow of original reading monopoly, trapped in an isolated island
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