Cameo is expanding into live video calls. The app, founded in 2017, allows anyone to buy a personalized video from one of more than 40,000 celebrities, everyone from Lisa Vanderpump to Brian Cox from Succession. Even Rudy Giuliani is shilling personalized videos in which he’ll read just about any script aloud for $400 a pop. Buying a Cameo has become a fun gifting idea for friends and family, and for celebrities it can be an easy side hustle.
The new live calling feature gives buyers a true one-on-one, intimate moment with their favorite personalities, and a chance to perhaps ask the burning questions they’ve always had on their mind. Cameo calls it the “ultimate digital meet and greet,” and a way for fans to establish something of a direct relationship with their favorite celebrities.
Underwhelming lineup — At launch, more than 500 personalities are offering up time for a chat, and get to set the duration and price of their calls. Right now, the actor Jesse Metcalfe from Desperate Housewives is listed on Cameo as available to take calls; he’s asking $69 (nice) for a five-minute chat.
Other actors offering to take calls include James and Oliver Phelps from Harry Potter, and James Marsters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not exactly the A-list, but perhaps bigger names will come aboard over time. Cameo has a lot of big names on its service, but is also known as a place where down-and-out personalities go after their prime to monetize any remaining shrouds of their fame. Chris Hansen, for instance, the disgraced journalist and host of the iconic show To Catch a Predator, is taking calls — this is your chance to ask him behind-the-scenes information about the show’s taping.
Talent on Cameo can use the app’s calendar to set a schedule of times when they’re available for calls. Users can pre-order a meeting time in advance and receive a unique code they use to enter the call.
You have to imagine that with live video, someone will use a chat with the intention to misbehave. Talent can always just end the call, however.
Cashing in — Cameo is one of many new “creator economy” services helping artists generate more income from their creativity. Other services like OnlyFans, Twitter Super Follows, and YouTube memberships enable popular personalities to charge fans for access to exclusive work and the chance at a closer relationship. Seeing that people are actually willing to pony up money to their favorite creators, every major social platform is now introducing new such monetization tools, so as to capitalize on demand and not lose creators to another service.
Cameo says it sold $100 million worth of personalized videos last year, showing that its service clearly resonates. Cameo establishes a real deeper connection to someone you admire — you become a known person to them. Cameo is now valued at more than $1 billion after raising $100 million in new funding back in March.