On October 12, tickets for “The Untamed Concert” went on sale and were sold out in 5 seconds, with 2 million people scrambling online for them at the same time. To deter ticket scalpers, the ticketing service website Maoyan asks fans to answer three random questions about The Untamed(《陈情令）). Some fan groups even had studying sessions brushing their members up for the test. The original prices for the tickets are 627 to 1980 RMB, but tickets from ticket scalpers are about 6 to 10 times the original price. First row tickets even got as high as 150,000 RMB each.
The high prices might not just be a result of the popularity of the concert. Many fans suspect that the concert promoter, Xin Pai Media (新湃传媒) sold the front row tickets directly to the ticket scalpers at high prices. If so, the ticket scalpers would have no choice but to raise the rates even higher to cover their cost. The venue for this concert is Nanjing Qing’ao Sports Center, the largest indoor arena in China with a total of 21,000 seats. However, the number of tickets available to the public is only 8,000. Fans are not happy about this, and they made many complains online about Xin Pai Media.
Xin Pai Media is the co-producer of the drama series The Untamed. The company was founded in 2015 as a brokerage managing Korean celebrities’ activities in China whose famous clients include G-Dragon and EXO. In 2016, Xin Pai received several million RMB in Pre-A series funding from Beijing Cultural Technology Finance Leasing. The following year, it completed it’s Series A round of financing and raised close to a tenth of a billion RMB. In recent years, Xin Pai Media entered the film and television industry and signed artists, including Actor Yu Bin in The Untamed.
Scandals aside, Xin Pai has done an impressive job producing and marketing the drama series by following two trends in China’s entertainment industry, bromance, and multi-level marketing. From web series Addicted (《上瘾》) in 2016 to Guardian (《镇魂》) in 2018 to The Untamed, drama series with a bromance undertone amassed a large fanbase not only for the characters but also the actors who play them. The lead actor Xiao Zhan’s Weibo got 9 million more followers after the show aired two months ago. He, along with his co-star Wang Yibo rose to No.1 and No.2 in Weibo popularity ever since.
In addition to the concert, Xin Pai profited from the IP by merchandise sales, paid episodes, fan meetings, and live streaming. The Untamed is played more than 5 billion times total on Tencent Video. The web series is free except for the last six episodes. Selling the ending by itself pulled in 156 million RMB for Tencent. The OST digital album sold for more than 1 million copies (about 20 million RMB). It looks like the line between tv-series and “idol economy” will become more and more blurry.
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