Digital Celebrity Meet-and-Greet Platforms (2)
Cameo, Memmo, Wysh, Greetly, CelebVM, Starsona, and Omaze are the key platforms in the celebrity video messaging/digital celebrity meet-and-greet sector. An overview of the platforms and the money they have raised is provided below.
- Cameo is a platform where users pay celebrities to make personalized video messages that was founded in 2017.
- The platform is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
- The cost per video ranges from $25 to $2,500.
- Cameo closed $50 million in a Series B round, bringing its total venture backing to at least $65.2 million, and a valuation of $300 million, post-money.
- The company currently has 18,000 celebrities in its network, who have produced more than 300,000 videos.
- The platform has 4,874 musicians in its network including singers, DJs, country musicians, and more.
- Celebrities on the platform include Snoop Dogg who is also an investor.
- Memmo is a platform where you can book personalized video messages from famous sports stars, actors, comedians and other celebrities. Memmo was founded in 2019 in Sweden and is planning to expand to the greater Nordics region.
- The platform raised €2 million ($2.3 million) from a number of investors including U.S.-based Luxor Capital.
- Memmo has enrolled over 800 local Swedish celebrities, who have sent more than 7,000 videos to their fans and followers.
- The celebrities include musicians, drummers, and guitarists, whose videos cost as low as $10.
- Wysh is a celebrity engagement and wishing platform based in India.
- Wysh has raised $2 million in Series A, led by Kalaari capital.
- The categories of celebrities in the platform include singers.
- Greetly is a visitor management system that seeks to eliminate administrivia in modern organizations.
- The platform was founded in 2015 in Denver, United states.
- Greetly has two angel investors namely Spencer Lee and Dave Milliken. The platform has not conducted any funding round.
- Greetly is used in various industries including creative services, finance, technology, staffing agencies, government, and coworking.
- Some of the app’s popular clients include DHL, the US Airforce, office Evolution, Randstad, and Dallas Cowboys.
- CelebVM is a platform where fans and celebrities connect through video messages in a fun way.
- The Bristol City-headquartered platform was founded by Angus Lancaster in 2013. CelebVM by over 600 celebrities with over 137 musicians in its network including classical violinists, drummers, song writers, DJs, and pop stars.
- CelebVM is unfunded.
- CelebVM hosts many celebrities from different fields such as wrestling, acting, music, and sports, among others.
- Among the notable singers selling videos on the platform include Paul Marazzi, Jay Aston, Faydee, and Ben Adams.
- Starsona helps people connect one-on-one with stars in a manner that is time efficient and safe. Fans can buy video greetings, Q&As, and announcements from their favorite stars.
- The platform was founded in 2017 in San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley.
- Starsona is funded by three angel investors namely Rob Doornink, Rick Altinger, and Matthew Dellaved.
- The funding amount from the seed funding round in September 23, 2019, was not disclosed.
- Starsona has over 200 celebrities with Randy Hahn being the most popular booked influencer.
- The platform hosts numerous celebrity musicians such as Da Brat and DJ Drama who sell videos. Starsona also hosts other players in the music industry such as promoters, composers, songwriters, and record producers.
- Omaze is an online fundraising platform that provides participants with a unique experience such as meeting their favorite celebrity after donating. Participants can also win exclusive merchandise.
- The Los-Angeles-headquartered platform was founded in 2012 by Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins.
- The platform has raised $12 million after five funding rounds. Series B was the last funding round announce on March 19, 2019.
- Omaze has exclusive access to A-list celebrities in various fields ranging from famous Hollywood actors to musicians.
- John Legend is one of the celebrity musicians on the platform. Winners are given an opportunity to listen to their favorite singers’ music in a special way.
- The global personalized gifts market size is expected to reach $31.63 billion by 2021, and is growing at a CAGR of 9% during the period, 2019-2023.
Digital Celebrity Meet-and-Greet Platforms Market Size
Three additional digital celebrity meet-and-greet/celebrity video messaging platforms that enable fans to communicate directly over video chats with their favorite celebrities are Fanmio (US-based), Looped (US-based), and VLive (South Korea-based). While VLive was launched in August 2015 and has been a huge success (looking at the number of followers on social media) in getting fans to interact directly with K-pop stars, both Fanmio and Looped were launched in 2019 and are fairly new in the celebrity video messaging platform market. Presented below are brief overviews of these three online platforms.
- Fanmio is an online platform where fans pay as per different packages to have personalized one-on-one video chats with their favorite celebrities, to download the HD video recording of their chat, and to buy exclusive collectibles and merchandise featuring those celebrities.
- Fanmio was launched on February 5, 2019, in an event held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The founder and CEO of Fanmio is Mr. Solomon Engel.
- As per Zoominfo, Fanmio's annual revenue is $3 million. The company has not raised any money through funding yet. As per the founder and CEO of Fanmio, Mr. Solomon Engel, the company was built from the ground up.
- Fanmio allows celebrities with fan following to create their own Fanmio account and use the platform to connect with their fans, by filling up this online talent form.
- Fanmio's digital infrastructure is powered by its patented technology that allows celebrities to easily engage in online video chats with fans. The online platform enables millions of viewers to join the live online event at the same time without any additional infrastructure scaling.
- Fanmio has a wide online presence on social media. Fanmio's Facebook page currently has 4,859 followers. Its Twitter page has 551 followers, its Instagram page has 5,372 followers, and its LinkedIn page has 161 followers.
- So far, Fanmio has featured celebrities like Tim Curry, John Cleese, Ashley Greene, Khary Payton, and Tara Strong. Fanmio is set to feature the boxing champion, Floyd Mayweather, in a live event on July 11, 2020.
- Among musicians, Fanmio is set to hold a live event with the popular rapper and hip hop icon Joseph Antonio Cartagena, better identified by his stage name of Fat Joe, on July 13, 2020. Fans can access the event through two packages. The silver package costs $149.99 and will feature a live one-on-one video chat with the musician along with a downloadable HD video recording of the chat in a Fat Joe digital frame. The gold package costs $199.99 and will feature an autographed photo of Fat Joe along with the live video chat and HD video recording of the chat.
- Looped is an online platform where fans can have live one-on-one video chats with their favorite celebrities that include musicians, athletes, actors, politicians, gamers, and social media influencers, among others.
- Looped was launched on October 15, 2019, in an event held in New York City. Looped was co-founded by Prajit Gopal (current CEO), Sandeep Peddada (current CSO and CFO), Benjamin Kornick (current COO and CMO), and Pranav Maddi (current CTO).
- Looped is backed by an executive leadership team and advisors from top entertainment, media, and technology companies who have worked with popular musicians and music bands like Britney Spears, Beyonce, Steven Tyler, Julian Lennon, Aerosmith, and Paradigm, and companies like Google, McKinsey, Uber, Turner Media, Universal Music Group, and Live Nation. The online platform is maintained by an engineering team featuring talent formerly associated with Google, Facebook, and Perpetua Labs.
- Looped also allows celebrities to connect with their fans, give them ticket codes with special discounts through emails and social media, run contests, encourage donations to charities, build brand alliance by giving fans the brand's logo, and sell the video chats to have a year-round revenue stream.
- The Looped app is available on the Apple App Store (rated 4.8 out of 5 by 408 users) and Google Playstore (10,000+ downloads, rated 4.1 out of 5 by 95 users).
- Looped has a wide online presence on social media. Its Facebook page currently has 656 followers, and its Twitter page has 679 followers.
- So far, Looped has featured musicians and music bands like Cheat Codes, KT Tunstall, Harry Hudson, Martin Alexander Aiono, Aaron Watson, AJ Maclean, and many others. The full line-up of musicians featured on Looped can be accessed by visiting this link.
- The following musicians are set to feature in the upcoming events on Looped: Suzie McNeil and Andrew Mactaggart (on June 18, 2020), Elisha Hoffman and Rebecca Lynn Howard (on June 18, 2020), Marti Frederiksen (on June 18, 2020), Sarah Tomek (on June 18, 2020), Tyler Rich (on June 22, 2020), and Charles Edgar Walker Hayes (on June 23, 2020).
- VLive is a South Korean live video streaming platform that enables fans to watch live performances of their favorite K-pop stars, have live video chats with them, and purchase online merchandise related to their favorite celebrities.
- VLive was launched by the Naver Corporation on August 2015, in partnership with South Korea's top talent and entertainment agencies like YG Entertainment and SM Entertainment Co. Ltd. The current financial condition of Naver Corporation can be viewed by accessing this link.
- The VLive platform was launched to attract viewers in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, in which K-pop is popular. The VLive interface has several language options like English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, and Spanish.
- VLive's interface makes it easy for fans to follow their favorite musicians and celebrities. Fans are alerted by the app when the celebrities they follow upload new content or start live streaming. Fans can then directly interact in real-time with the stars, and send comments and virtual hearts to show their appreciation.
- Fans can also support their stars by joining Fanship, a premium channel within the VLive platform. They can also purchase downloadable merchandise like high-quality videos from VLive+, online stickers, and lightsticks, using their accumulated V points. The Beyond Live feature has 118,618 followers and enables fans to post comments and video chat with celebrities when they are not performing.
- The VLive app is available on the Apple App Store (rated 4.3 out of 5 by 6,251 users) and Google Playstore (50 million+ downloads, rated 4.6 out of 5 by 666,767 users).
- VLive has a wide online presence on social media. Its Facebook page currently has 1,701,225 followers, and its Twitter page has more than 4 million followers.
- Currently, VLive features 1,332 different channels associated with different K-pop stars on its website and app. Top K-pop music bands and musicians like BTS, EXO, Blackpink, Twice, Big Bang, and iKon, among several others, are regular features of VLive. The full list of musicians and music bands that perform on VLive can be viewed by accessing this link. The list of upcoming performances by the featured celebrities can be viewed by accessing this link.
Since the initial research had already covered the platforms Cameo, Memmo, and Wysh, we started by searching for additional digital celebrity meet-and-greet platforms that have a wide focus on musicians and music bands. We found three such platforms: Fanmio, Looped, and VLive. While VLive and Looped have already focused extensively on musicians, looking at their roster and channels associated with them, Fanmio has started venturing into the music industry, going by its scheduled live event with the popular hip hop star Fat Joe on July 13, 2020. While we were able to uncover all other required information, we could not get any information regarding their funding on the public domain. Fanmio has an annual revenue of only $3 million, which indicates that the company has not yet received any funding. Looped was launched on October 15, 2019, which indicates that the company has not yet achieved an annual revenue. The company has also not published any information regarding any investors or funding. VLive is owned by Naver Corporation, a private company in South Korea, hence there is no information regarding any external investor funding.
Insights on the Public Sentiment Towards Digital Celebrity Meet-and-Greet/Celebrity Video Messaging Platforms
Two insights on the public sentiment towards digital celebrity meet-and-greet/celebrity video messaging platforms relate to the increase in the use of these platforms during the COVID-19 lockdown and people from small towns and cities more eager to connect with their favorite celebrities using these platforms. These insights along with suitable examples are discussed below.
Increase in the Use of Celebrity Video Messaging Platforms During the COVID-19 Lockdown.
- With the COVID-19 lockdown forcing people to stay indoors, celebrity video messaging platforms have seen a huge surge in traffic during the lockdown period as more people are turning to these platforms for comfort and entertainment.
- While some celebrities joined these video messaging platforms to quell their boredom from the COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing measures, other celebrities joined to raise money for charities fighting against the pandemic. With the advent of their favorite celebrities joining these platforms, the traffic from fans and requests for personalized video messages has gone up.
- Cameo, the online celebrity video messaging platform, reported a 400% increase in its revenue in April 2020 compared to March 2020. As per Cameo CEO Steven Galanis, the start-up expects to rake in more than $100 million in bookings in 2020, and is closing in on sending its one-millionth personalized celebrity shoutout video.
- Consumers have used these platforms for sending birthday wishes when they could not celebrate the occasion in person. Using these platforms, couples have notified invitees about the postponement of their weddings, and high schools and colleges have sent virtual graduation messages to their students.
- However, celebrities have also faced public backlash when the cost of connecting with them over these video messaging platforms has been deemed to be too high by the paying public. A case in point is the public criticism faced by the actress Tori Spelling in April 2020 when she asked fans to pay $95 each for an online meet-and-greet session with her over the digital platform Looped. While some fans stated that she was trying to make money from the COVID-19 pandemic, others asked her to do the session for free. She was later defended by her husband Dean McDermott.
People From Small Towns and Cities More Eager to Connect With Celebrities
- Personalized celebrity video messaging platforms are a great way for people living in small towns and cities to directly connect with their favorite celebrities, as fans living in these towns and cities hardly get the chance that their counterparts living in metros and big cities get.
- According to Akshay Saini, co-founder of Tring, a start-up in India, almost 75-80% of the personalized video messaging requests obtained by the company come from small towns and cities, like Lucknow, Surat, Rajkot, Kochi, and Patna. These places are far away from the metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi, where most of the celebrities are based.
- As per data obtained from Indian start-ups like Wysh, Tring, YoShot, and Celebrity, college-goers, housewives, and teenagers from small towns and cities drive the bulk of the demand received by these companies.
- Starting from as little as INR 500, fans can directly interact with their favorite celebrities like TV actors, singers, social media influencers, sportspersons, and even Bollywood stars, and make their special occasion memorable. These not only go in marking lifetime memories for fans but also drive the engagement between celebrities and their fans.
- As per Mahesh Gogineni, CEO of Wysh, personalized video messages and direct interaction with celebrities are a new form of gifting.
For this research, we searched online media publications like the Insider, The New York Times, The Washington Post, among others. We also searched for relevant blogs and articles concerning this industry and third-party reports from major houses like PwC, Deloitte, and BCG, among others. However, there is not much current information about the public sentiment regarding celebrity video messaging platforms other than the fact that there has been a spike in its use owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also found a few articles from India that state that people from small towns and cities are using these platforms more than the people from metros and big cities. A reason for the lack of information might be that digital meet-and-greet platforms are relatively new and most are start-ups, hence there is not much insight or data that has been gathered from the public about their opinion on these platforms.