Digitization has brought many changes in the way celebrities relate to their fans. Through social networks, each other can have a direct contact previously unthinkable for most followers and that was accessible only to a privileged few. In addition to communicating with them through the various digital channels, celebrities from the most diverse areas have gone a step further and have also started recording individualized videos for their fans, who do not seem to mind paying for it. And for this to be possible, there are several platforms that have been emerging on the market and that put both parties in contact.
Why is this happening? «It has been a logical, long and complex process, the last link.
Celebrities have realized that they can monetize their own video”, explains Marcos Blanco, Professor of Marketing at ESIC Business School. “It has a lot to do with the need for brands to communicate, which have turned to influencers and celebrities to give credibility to their message. As a result, they have started to monetize directly by recording videos and congratulations », he adds.
Vicent Borràs, research professor in the Department of Sociology at the QUIT study center at the UAB, assures that this phenomenon means "putting new technologies on top of what already existed". What a few years ago represented an autograph, then a photo and later a selfie with a celebrity, is now achieved with this new modality. «Consumption moves by desire, not by needs. It is a social and group act”, recalls Borràs.
A fan idolizes a person, "fetishizes them, turns them into something that goes beyond what that person is, has a special meaning." And in this context, new products are consumed and shared because "if you don't, it stops making sense."
Although there are now many celebrities who are monetizing their popularity in this way, it has been years since different companies tried their luck in this business. In Spain, Snippet was born in 2015, managing to have 35 celebrities on its platform, including Marcelo, Ramos, Arbeloa, Busquets, David Bisbal, Javier Vázquez and Paulina Rubio. “It was something very innovative. For 3.99 euros you could have a personalized message. Celebrities associated with us at 50% and donated 10% to an NGO of their choice. But people didn't understand the product, we got ahead of ourselves", acknowledges Carlos Sánchez, CEO of the company.
They managed to present their idea and the technology behind it to Florentino Pérez, who was clear that he wanted it for Real Madrid. From then on, the white team went on to congratulate the partners on his birthday with a personalized video. “Our technology makes the difference. With three hours of recording we were able to create a very personalized product”, highlights Carlos Sánchez. And the result could not have been better: "The average viewing of the video is 18 times, more than 120,000 people have seen it 100 times and a child came to view it 486 times," says the CEO of Snippet.
It has a presence in 18 countries and is landing in the United States. They work in many different sectors. For example, in politics. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei used Snippet's technology to send four million personalized videos to Guatemalans when he was nine points behind his rival in the polls. In view of his victory, it seems that the personalized video had an impact on the vote.
Carlos Sánchez acknowledges that they are considering recovering the initial product by mediating directly between celebrities and their followers because "the fan niche has always existed and it is a world that moves millions."
This is confirmed by the Cameo model, one of the largest platforms that currently exist in this sector. It began in 2017, in the United States, with the mission of connecting celebrities with their fans in a personalized way. “Then it was born as a very simple product. You requested a video and the celebrity decided the price and when he sent it," says Sergio Peralta, Director of Operations at Cameo, responsible for all foreign markets in the United States.
«It was born with some very specific celebrities, athletes. The three founders saw that there was a great business opportunity, especially with those who were already retired because they are more famous than rich and there are not many ways to monetize that fame, "explains Peralta. Thus, it began to expand among actors, musicians, politicians... and they already have 50,000 celebrities on their platform, which includes stars such as former boxer Mike Tyson as well as 'micro influencers' who charge 5 euros for a video. In 2021 they invoiced more than 100 million euros and 75% of sales occurred in the United States. They have a business model whereby they receive 25% of each request and the celebrity keeps the remaining 75%.
Over time they have been expanding to new markets and improving their product. “We start with the simplest and then we have realized that we can give better solutions and options to talents and consumers. We offer messages in instant mode, you can chat with them. We launched video calls, you can take a selfie by video call... In addition, we have bought a company and we make clothes for celebrities, "adds the director of operations.
Cameo's director of operations highlights the fact that not all celebrities who use this system are motivated exclusively by the fact of earning more money. "For some, the important thing is to interact with fans and we have also seen that it is a value proposition because we help celebrities to be more famous."
Marcos Blanco, from ESIC Business School, considers this change in consumption very natural, but warns of the problems that these platforms can cause. “With AI it will be difficult to determine if the person we believe has recorded it. A difficult problem to manage », he warns.