Cameo, an app where users purchase personalized video recordings of artists and other public figures, has expanded its offering to allow fans to meet celebrities one-on-one during live video calls.
The company, officially called Baron App Inc., says the app’s new functionality is an alternative to traditional in-person dating and greetings. Celebrities can set their own prices and time limits for calls, with durations available from 30 seconds to 15 minutes.
Cameo believes the live feature, called Cameo Calls, outperforms traditional dating because it produces private moments that fans can’t get elsewhere or as easily, said Amanda Glanz, senior product manager at Cameo.
“Being able to have this two-minute private conversation really allowed fans and talents to open up a lot,” Ms. Glanz said. “We’ve heard people talk about their mental health issues, or how important they were to an experience, a show, or a movie.”
Cameo has been striving to expand its reach, attracting new funding and offering new products, since its introduction in 2017. It raised a $ 100 million funding round in March that values it at $ 1 billion. .
Last summer, the company began testing Cameo For Business, a way for businesses to send personalized videos as gifts to prospects.
Baron App is unprofitable, the company said in March.
Cameo’s latest feature is reminiscent of an earlier effort to sell live calls, a feature called Cameo Live that was introduced in June 2020 and allows users and up to five friends to book 10-minute Zoom calls with celebrities.
The Zoom integration was an experiment to see if the experience resonated with consumers, the company said. Cameo Live is no longer widely available to consumers, but is still available to some businesses through Cameo For Business.
The new program has more than 500 famous participants, according to the company. Prices vary, with comedian Gilbert Gottfried offering two minutes of conversation for $ 75 and actress Nikki Blonsky offering five minutes for $ 10.
Celebrities who attend Cameo Calls receive 75% of the price of their reservation, the same discount they get for their traditional pre-recorded Cameo messages.
Fans are allowed to send celebs a note in advance, which helps both parties discuss early in the meeting and removes some of the potential embarrassment, executives said.
The feature was tested for six months and resulted in some design changes, such as the ability for talents to schedule calls in advance. Celebrities and fans alike wanted to prepare for the moment, rather than answer an unexpected call, Ms. Glanz said. Fans and celebrities also now have a few seconds to say goodbye after the call ends with a selfie, instead of immediately logging out after the selfie.
Cameo faces competition in the live calling space. Facebook Inc.,
for example, is testing a similar service called Super.
One of the challenges these services face is to prevent consumers from abusing their access.
Celebrities on Cameo Calls can end a call at any time, report any issues and even ignore a fan if they feel uncomfortable, the company said.
“Because it’s not anonymous and because you have to pay, you’ve really eliminated like a lot of the weirdness,” Ms. Glanz said.
Gen Z are used to accessing the lives of celebrities and influencers more than any other generation, said Faye Maidment, a partner at Bitkraft Ventures Management LLC, a venture capital fund that has not invested in Cameo.
“The distance between celebrity and the average consumer has eroded,” Ms. Maidment said in an email.
Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at [email protected]
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