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Dr. Mark Young from the University of Southern California Analyzes “Stars Effect” and “Fans Economy”

17 September 2016

Mark Young
Sports and entertainment industries chair professor
Professor of Organization and Management Department, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA
Accounting professor, SJTU- USA USC Global EMBA Project
In 2005, Professor Mark Young was selected to the first outstanding faculty team of the Global EMBA established by the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, in cooperation with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and started to cultivate global top management talents traveling to and fro between Shanghai and Los Angeles. Professor Mark Young engages in-depth research on the design of management and control system in extensive fields, including automotive, aerospace, high-tech and entertainment industries, and is particularly good at analyzing the status quo of the entertainment industry from a business perspective.
Professor Mark Young is also one of the authors of American best-selling book, The Mirror Effect, named by the New York Times.
"People have been looking for a man who can be worshiped as a faith, as they want a role model for themselves. If a family fails to do well enough in this respect, or both the religious belief and national politics are disappointing in this respect, people will naturally focus their eyes on glamorous public figures, as they look both rich and famous."
—Mark Young
Why people chase stars?
whichmba.net: We want to know why ordinary people are willing to become fans of sports and entertainment stars, to watch their movies, chase their games, and are willing to spend money on peripheral products. Why they search star news, and even have the private lives of stars at their fingertips?
Professor Mark Young: There are many answers to this question. In general, take the United States for example, in the mainstream cultural system of the United States, especially among young people, they are seeking a new guideline.
1. I found in the investigation that confidences of young Americans in the government declined quickly, because there were too many scandals, the public felt so chill over the continuous conflict impact decrees passed by the US Congress.
2. The confidence in religious organizations also dropped to the lowest point.
3. 3 years ago, an investigation in the United Statesfound for the first time that the main form in the US family was no longer a father and a mother, but single mother had become the main family form.
The three systems of government, religious organization and family have changed dramatically, which are typical forms that young people sought for role models in past times.
Media organizations also realize that it is cheaper to make star news than to establish a liaison office in Paris, Rome or Beijing (to send political, economic and cultural news), after all, the assignment of a stationed reporter needs to send people there for maintenance of the main communication network, which needs a lot of money. Therefore, now the media are reducing overseas correspondent stations. Meanwhile, the celebrity culture rises sharply.
I personally think that, because people have been looking for a man who can be worshiped as a faith, they want a role model for themselves. If a family fails to do well enough in this respect, or both the religious belief and national politics are disappointing in this respect, people will naturally focus their eyes on glamorous public figures, as they look both rich and famous. Young people will be attracted by star images on the media, so they begin to worship celebrities, making celebrities as their role models.
Another point, these public figures bring entertainment, who are physically healthy, are good at singing and dancing, can both sing and play, bringing joy to people, so my friends are beginning to talk about stars, in addition, the social media are so advanced that it is easy to express personal favoriate.
Many people even decide, I will not only chase these stars, but become star, become a celebrity favored by the public, I can upload my own image to the video websites, spreading over the world. Thismood has helped the birth of programs like ** Good Sound, and then ** Good Sound quickly swept the world, which is an opportunity for the ordinary people to become famous.
Whichmba.net: Does the birth of such programs quickly shorten, or quickly realize, the dream of ordinary people to become a celebrity?
Professor Mark Young: Yes. Now there are almost 250 reality show programs in the United States, some are talent contests such as Survivor or America's Got Talent. But do you know, few champion of such programs can still make a difference after the program, so such programs just realize their dreams of fame in the short term.
Under certain circumstances, it will be worse when lose after having the taste of success. We have visited a lot of stars who said they were most afraid of “has been”, that was no longer popular. This is why sometimes the star will do something crazy, only in this way, they can return to the public eye, re-appear on the cover of magazines, be discussed by social media, and remain in the public eye.
The role of social media
Whichmba.net: For both stars and ordinary people, do the social media play an important role?
Professor Mark Young: In some way, the social media are really a great invention, but I think people should take their times to think about things they have done. In the United States, many young people like to take pictures for every move and upload them on the Facebook, from normal eating and drinking, to some pictures that should not be displayed. This causes a problem, when you go to a job interview, the boss may visit the homepage of your Facebook social media. The boss wants to know what kind of person you are in the peacetime, and what you are doing in the leisure time. Is he/she really suitable for the job? I know quite a number of people have lost their jobs because they are active in the social media.
Important features of the entertainment industry
Whichmba.net: In your opinion, what’s the main feature of the entertainment industry behind its glamour?
Professor Mark Young: The entertainment industry is different from any other industries in the world, except for program, music and game production industries, the fundamental difference of the entertainment industry is that it is considerably attractive to the population of some specific types. Just think, most people probably know the CEO of GMs, because he often appears on the cover of magazines, but the social awareness of other executives or employees in the company is relatively limited.
But it is not the case in the entertainment industry. For example, in the animation and filming industries, not only male and female actors become much better known, but workers of other job types at all levels, such as the producer, director, issuer, often appear in the public eye, with relatively high visibility and awareness.
It is also one of the reasons why Hollywood has been known as “dream factory”, and this is a good industry for people to gain both fame and fortune. According to my investigation, compared to blind pursuit of wealth accumulation, fame is more attractive to Hollywood people, which is exactly where the industry is more interesting. In Hollywood, people are working hard for fame, and they want to be recognized. In the investigation jointly conducted by Dr. Pinsky and me, the psychology that wants to become famous and attain popularity is concluded as “Narcissism”.
About the GEMBA Program

The Credibility You Seek, The Transformation You Need – the Global Executive MBA in Shanghai (GEMBA) is an innovative EMBA program offered by USC in partnership with Shanghai Jiaotong University, featuring the same faculty and curriculum as Marshall's top 10 ranked EMBA program in L. A. Courses are primarily taken in Shanghai, China with ExPort trip in South East Asia.