Thursday, July 30, 2020

Welcome to another edition of Snail Mail! Today we’re diving into celebrity platforms.

The rise of celebrity and influencer platforms like Community and Cameo clearly demonstrate demand for applications that facilitate interactions with talent. While there is good reason to be excited by applications that provide that interaction, we ultimately think that market size concerns and reliance on novelty to drive purchase decisions make it hard to bet on who winds up being the winner, though we know there’s likely to be one. The better place to make a bet here is at the platform layer, where you can build for either side (i.e. fans or talent).

Content is still king, and the users, engagement and willingness to spend are all there. But rather than chase the new medium of engagement, the biggest opportunities in this space lie in building the picks and shovels that will help better monetize the talented.

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If Content is King, Build Tools for the Creators

By Adam Lebovitz, Slow MBA Intern

"Content is king."

In 1996, Bill Gates published a letter while at Microsoft claiming that, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” People across businesses and industries subscribed to the idea – that content would drive value creation on platforms.

In many ways, this has proven true. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have provided talent with the infrastructure to build and connect directly with their fan bases, expanding what entertainment could be and redefining what it means to be considered a celebrity. Celebrities are no longer just movie stars, pop stars and athletes – today they include Instagram and TikTok stars, Twitter personalities, and anyone else with a following of a few thousand people. Technology eliminated gatekeepers and made distribution of content easier, and as a result, celebrities and influencers don’t just provide entertainment, but they are also sought out for opinions on current events, advice and product recommendations.

This shift in fan expectation led to a wave of applications that provided new mediums for fan engagement. Text with Kerry Washington on Community, have Carole Baskin wish your brother happy birthday on Cameo, or get beauty tips on Supergreat. These platforms provide a home for large, engaged and somewhat homogenous userbases (at least from the standpoint that they each have a common interest), and by extension, allow celebrities to more easily monetize fan interaction.