Reinforced by the health crisis, sites like Cameo or Vidoleo offer to connect stars and their fans. With a panel as wide as the notion of celebrity is today.
For 15 years, Fabienne Carat interpreted Samia Nassri in the television series More beautiful life. Sometimes hot-headed policewoman, sometimes creator of a smartphone application but also deputy mayor, her character died suddenly in January 2021. A blow for her fans, who had become accustomed for 17 seasons to spending their early evenings at its ratings. But since October 2021, they have been able to extend the adventure started in the imaginary district of the Mistral a little further.
Because Fabienne Carat is now registered on memmo.me, a Swedish platform connecting celebrities and their fans. The latter, as long as they are ready to pay a few tens of euros, can afford, or offer to a loved one, an autographed video of their favorite personality.
“Hello, it’s Fabienne Carat!”
Fabienne Carat has set the price of her videos at 35 euros. And among the accessible excerpts on his profile, supposed to give a foretaste to future buyers, we can hear him wish a merry Christmas to “Mémel” on behalf of his companion “Benjamin”. “I join him in wishing you the most beautiful holidays in the world,” she says in a video shot with her mobile phone.
“Before, I was already receiving requests for autographed videos from fans,” explains Fabienne Carat to BFMTV.com. “Platforms had already contacted me, but I had always refused. And then for Memmo, it was the son of director Robert Hossein who came to get me. I told myself that it had to be serious, and I took the leap.”
But it was especially when she saw a friend move heaven and earth to dig up, in vain, an autographed video of the singer M. Pokora, that Fabienne Carat changed her tune. And if these videos, which she considered absurd at the start, could in the end bring a little joy to her admirers? While supplementing her income – the actress did not reveal to BFMTV.com what precise sum she derived from this activity.
“I have the impression that people miss me. 15 years of presence on the air anyway…”, she slips. But don’t ask her to play Samia just for you, she refuses. “Sometimes people ask me to start the video with “Hi, it’s Samia!”. I don’t do that. I’m Fabienne Carat. So I say “Hello, it’s Fabienne Carat”, and then , I can talk about Samia”, she explains.
The boon of the health crisis
In France, the dedicated video market is dominated by three platforms. cameothe American behemoth founded in 2017; video, a French site launched in 2020; and Memmo, a Swedish platform which is currently deploying its activity in France, with advertising campaigns on social networks. The economic model of these platforms is based on the collection of a commission for each transaction carried out: 25% on each order for Vidoleo and Cameo.
The sector is one of the lucky few for whom the Covid-19 crisis has been a boon. Cameo, for example, broke all records in 2020, earning a jackpot of 100 million dollars – around 88 million euros – in videos sold, according to his boss. A business that works, since last April it was valued at a billion dollars with investors like Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
“Clearly, the health crisis has increased the demand for autographed videos”, details to BFMTV.com Nicolas Poulet-Alinat, one of the co-founders of Vidoleo. “Both on the side of celebrities and their fans. The latter no longer had access to concert halls, all gatherings were prohibited… They missed it a lot, and also the celebrities.”
His project was also “born during the first confinement, in March 2020”. “We wanted to do something fun. We wanted to bring people together, create social interaction, which was greatly diminished during this health crisis and its confinements,” he says.
Fabienne Carat assures her, making paid videos for her fans was an opportunity to try to extend “the world before” by interposed screens. “During confinement, I was deprived of contact with the public, and of promotion, because it was during this period that my first book was released. So I first launched the concept of the Thursday live, on Instagram , where there were a lot of discussions, a lot of exchanges… On Memmo, of course, there are no direct exchanges, but I can chat by message with my fans, I have feedback! “
Veronique Genest and Loana
Cameo, giant by its financial results, is also by its catalog. It lists more than 40,000 celebrities ready to film themselves with their smartphone for a few tens or even thousands of euros. Caitlyn Jennerformer Olympian and reality TV star Keeping up with the Kardashians, offers you its services for 2200 euros per video.
On the platform, we also find the rapper Snoop Doggwhich is currently not responding to requests, but also habitual criminals, such as Michael CohenDonald Trump’s former lawyer, sentenced in December 2018 to three years in prison.
On Vidoleo, the French platform, the list of celebrities is more modest. First, by its size, just over 300 personalities registered, and by the overall influence of the panel. “We have a lot of French exclusives”, highlights Nicolas Poulet-Alinat.
Former glories of the small screen, like Veronique Genestthe heroine of Julie LescautWhere texformer presenter of Z’Amours. singers like Keen’v Where Col. Reyel. Ex-athletes, like Frank Leboeuf, or complete strangers. Such as “Nico Le Clown”, who embodies… a clown, or a young woman disguised as “Ladybug”, this cartoon character adored by children.
These platforms are also a reflection of the evolution experienced by the notion of “celebrity” in recent years, now irrigated by social networks. On Cameo, there are many very popular personalities on Tiktok, or from reality TV produced across the Atlantic, like the drag queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On Vidoleo, it is candidates from French programs who are trying to find their way into this market, like Loana Petrucciani (loft story), or Kevin Guedj (The people of Marseilles).
But Nicolas Poulet-Alinat assures him, “reality TV candidates are not at all the sector that is experiencing the greatest demand, quite the contrary. Even if at the beginning, we thought the opposite, due to the popularity that some candidates have on social media”.
The Buzz Elodie Costa
On its home page, Vidoleo highlights in particular Elodie Costa. This 40-year-old singer, suffering from dwarfism, made her celebrity debut with tele-hook The Voice. She does not pass the course of “blind auditions”, but launches on Tiktok. There, through collaborations with other users, humorous videos and presentations of her meals, she is gaining popularity. So much so that today, his profile has 9 million likes and nearly 600,000 subscribers.
His humor, his self-mockery and his heady first single – Melody, published in November on YouTube, has accumulated 3 million views – today earning it a large digital community. Results? “I had a lot of people asking me for autographs,” this Niçoise told BFMTV.com today.
She therefore decided in October to register on Vidoleo, where she now offers autographed videos for 20 euros – she also did not detail the amount of her income related to this activity.
“I have all kinds of requests. Happy New Year wishes, but also encouragement for exams, even marriage proposals,” she says. “I try to please, by doing as many things as indicated in the contact questionnaire. I remember first names well and I try to be as natural as possible”.
For Armel, 23, ordering one of these autographed videos turned out to be the perfect gift to complement the iPad he had planned to give his girlfriend for Christmas. Initially, he leaned more towards Afida Turner, former candidate of loft story, today social media icon. The choice of this resident of Dijon, a young graduate of a business school, finally fell on Elodie Costa.
“Elodie, we knew her because we sent some of her Tiktoks with my girlfriend. For example, the one where she plays the role of Chucky the killer doll (LINK). She doesn’t take herself seriously and that’s that’s why we like her, she makes us laugh”, slips today this student from Dijon.
He then places an order, and even pays an additional 15 euros to be “delivered” in 24 hours, an option available on Vidoleo. In a form, he tells Elodie Costa the reasons for her request, and asks her to pronounce the word “period”, an English interjection meaning “point bar” that the singer pronounces in French in a Tiktok.
As a result, when Armel’s girlfriend turns on her brand new Ipad on Christmas Day, she comes face to face with Elodie Costa who wishes her happy holidays. Faced with surprise, she laughs out loud. Armel succeeded.
But for Elodie Costa, there is no question of accepting everything and anything. “It can happen to me to refuse requests, like when I’m asked to sing rap. I don’t sing rap, it’s not my specialty”, judges the musician.
Fabienne Carat has also already made some disappointed, like this man who said he was sick and who multiplied the orders. After yet another video request from her, “I was confused, and so I declined,” says the actress.
“It is sometimes embarrassing to make a person spend so much money. In this kind of situation, which is a bit strange, I prefer to decline.”
After his first success at Christmas, Armel does not intend to stop there. He has already spotted the next celebrity who will enhance a future gift. “I saw that Johnny Cadillac, a Johnny Hallyday look-alike, was available. I would like to have a video of him for my friends”.