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How Does Cameo Make Money? The Cameo Business Model In A Nutshell

Cameo is a video-sharing website based in Chicago and founded in 2016 by Steven Galanis, Martin Blencowe, and Devon Spinnler Townsend. The platform gives anyone the chance to get a shout-out from the personalities (actors, musicians, athletes, and more) available on the platform. Cameo generates revenue by taking a 25% commission from every personalized shout-out it facilitates.

History of Cameo

Cameo is a video-sharing website based in Chicago and founded in 2016 by Steven Galanis, Martin Blencowe, and Devon Spinnler Townsend.

The idea for the company came after Blencowe showed Galanis a video of Seattle Seahawks player Cassius Marsh congratulating a friend of Blencowe’s on the birth of their child. Blencowe noted that the friend often talked about how much they loved the video, which subsequently spurred Galanis into action.

The pair then recruited Townsend, an expert in short-form videos with millions of views on Vine. In March 2017, bookcameo.com was launched because the trio could not afford the cameo.com domain. Early iterations of the platform were riddled with bugs, but it nevertheless grew in popularity thanks to a large supply of available celebrities. In fact, Cameo was able to recruit 1,600 of them after only 12 months in operation. 

Cameo experienced an increase in usage because of the coronavirus pandemic. With many unable to attend birthdays, weddings, and other special events, consumers had to find different ways of celebrating or sending tributes. With production facilities locked down, many more celebrities also joined the platform as a way to supplement their income.

The company fulfilled approximately 1.3 million celebrity shout-outs in 2020. Sensing its massive potential, social media giant Facebook is now developing a similar service called Super.

Cameo revenue generation

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The Cameo website makes you connect with personalities available on the platform, where users can book a “shout-out” mostly used for birthday parties, or other ceremonies, where the celebrity endorsement becomes a gift (Image Source: cameo.com)

Cameo generates revenue by taking a 25% commission from every personalized shout-out it facilitates.

These personalized messages are offered by a diverse range of well-known and lesser-known celebrities, including musicians, athletes, influencers, actors, and comedians.

The commission the company receives depends on the price each celebrity charges for a video. To some extent, this depends on their level of fame. Less recognizable social media influencers may charge as little as a few dollars for a shout-out. On the other hand, stars like Ice Cube, Caitlyn Jenner, and Joe Montana have been known to charge anywhere between $500 and $2,500.

Celebrities can also offer Zoom calls with fans and are generally two or even three times the price of a shout-out video.

There is also the capacity to chat with a celebrity over instant messaging, with each message limited to 250 characters.

Cameo for Business

Cameo for Business allows companies to:

  • Create celebrity-driven ad content at scale.
  • Create new sales opportunities via top-of-funnel prospecting.
  • Add celebrities to events and conferences.
  • Celebrate company, team, or individual achievements.
  • Develop memorable employee training programs.

Businesses can opt to approach celebrities directly and pitch an opportunity. In this case, Cameo charges a 5% service fee.

This fee is waived if the business signs up to the C4B plan, a feature-rich option with a dedicated customer success representative, prioritized requests, compilation videos, centralized billing, and access to add-ons.

Key takeaways:

  • Cameo is a North American celebrity video sharing website where users can pay for a personalized message from one of their favorite stars.
  • Cameo makes money by taking a 25% commission for every transaction it facilitates. This commission is more lucrative for high-profile celebrities who can charge more for their services.
  • Cameo also offers a similar service for businesses that want to incorporate celebrity content into ad content, sales prospecting, conferences, and employee training programs. Cameo charges a 5% service fee if the business wants to approach a celebrity directly.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"