China’s first virtual talk show hostess makes a debut

The first Chinese talk show hostess born in the metaverse – Mei Se Tian – made her debut on stage this 4 September through the tech giant Tencent’s news platform.

The name of the virtual comedian is a homophone for the pronunciation of her birth date in English, “Mei Thirty”, which is May 30th.

In the first episode of the talk show series, Mei discussed prevalent social issues found within Chinese society. Including the occurrence of “lying flat” among Chinese young people, as a reaction to the over-working culture ingrained in the society and a pushback upon this.

In addition, Mei Se Tian also touched the celebrity crisis in the entertainment industry, centred around the recent high-profile scandals and resulting brand losses. This was all presented from the perspective of a virtual being, with the video drawing more than 158,000 views since it was published, showing the inherent possibility within this new twist on talk shows.

Internet users have been entertained not only by the humourous scriptwriting involved but also by the vivid performance of this virtual character, with some looking forward to seeing more applications of such products in the digitalised world. If this new brand of show continues to see success, there is every potential for it to cross formats into short videos, live-streaming, and online shopping in the future.

However, concerns have also been raised about the entertainment industry, assuming these artificial figures could take over the stage within the following ten years, there could be an issue for human celebrities to be able to work in this sector.

Indeed, with an estimated market value of 333 billion RMB ($51.71 billion) by 2023, virtual celebrities are clearly gaining momentum in China, putting pressure on the human workforce that occupies the roles currently. As brands are switching to these meta-humans, to avoid the negative impacts of scandals from real celebrities on their reputations, there is the potential for wholesale change within this industry.

As Chinese consumers expect to see more of the latest technology be integrated into their consumer experience, the AI-based marketing industry has presented a full potential for brands in China to leverage, offering an alternative for campaigns that comes with considerably less cost and risk. It will be interesting to see the interplay of both human and meta-human personalities within the entertainment industry over the next ten years.

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