“Traffic” refers to the data traffic on the internet, which can be used to measure the popularity of a star. On the internet in mainland China, a certain star is called a “traffic star” （流量明星,) often implying that he does not have the strength to match his internet popularity. Because the amount of online traffic that a person or a topic can generate is a reflection of their popularity and may lead to sales revenue or advertisement income, online shopkeepers and celebrities make a lot of effort to attract online traffic.
The concept of 流量 emerged around 2014, and from 2014 to 2017, 流量明星 also reached its peak in a few years. The very first person who made people realize 流量 was Yang Mi, whose early films were The Legend of the Condor Heroes and Dream of the Red Chamber. Later, Yang Mi played the role of Xueyuan in Beauty’s Rival in Palace, which was well-received and really opened up the market. After Palace: The Lock Heart Jade hit the air, she also got the title “Queen of Traffic.” Since then, every single work which has her play a role that has become popular, and as long as she plays the leading role, she can always contribute extremely high ratings and hot searches.
When the popularity climbed to its peak, things began to change. This group of 流量明星 was always scolded because of their poor acting skills and the worrying quality of the works they starred in. And around 2017 and 2018, the number of anti-fans is increasing day by day, and they can even be included in hot searches because of being scolded. What is even more worrying is that 流量 needs to be continuously perfect and hot to achieve. Once your personal behavior destroyed the perfect fantasy in the hearts of fans. If there is a crisis, it must be resolved. The 流量明星 has entered the stage of changing their appearance one after another. Yang Mi, who always plays the little fairy, played a disabled girl with a strong local flavor in “Baby” Transformation is a good trend, but there are gains and losses. Yang Mi’s attempt in “Baby” was not recognized. Personal changes such as marriage and divorce will inevitably affect her commercial value and traffic popularity.
Today, it has been replaced by second-generation and third-generation 流量. Behind 流量 is a group of young talents whose acting skills and image management are becoming more mature and have relatively high popularity. This group is sitting on high-quality film and television resources. Artists with a fan base are challenging the status of first-gen 流量明星. On the contrary, 流量 are a very risky branch of the entertainment industry. The popularity of standing still, the perfect image, and the good psychological quality of being able to keep smiling even when being scolded or hacked are all testing the artist under this title.
“流量明星.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Jan. 2023, https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%B5%81%E9%87%8F%E6%98%8E%E6%98%9F.
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流量明星，演艺圈风险极高的一个分支！_杨幂, 21 June 2019, https://www.sohu.com/a/322151595_450591.