Singapore — With the circuit breaker in place, it is more difficult for fans to meet celebrities in real life, attend concerts or join an autograph session.
They can, however, do these things with Authentic Celebrity Experiences (ACE), which was formed in Singapore to reinvent the fan experience through personalised digital autographs from celebrities.
Social media is one of the ways fans continue to interact with celebrities. Celebrities are uploading videos of themselves cooking, working out and doing other activities to get rid of boredom.
ACE’s video platform is a bridge for bored celebrities and influencers to connect with their homebound fans.
Fans can request a personalised video message from their favourite celebrity for a fee. Comedian Kumar and TV personality Joey Mead King are just a few of the celebrities on the platform.
ACE is led by CEO Dene Schonknecht and co-founder Sabrina Meier. The platform aims to deliver an experience that supersedes traditional meet and greets.
Via ACE, you can receive a minute-long video from a celebrity with a personalised message. So far, 50 celebrities have signed on to the platform with a total social media reach of 50 million. There is also a Request a Star feature where fans can submit names of celebrities they wish to engage with who are not yet on the platform.
According to Schonknecht, many entertainment options are cancelled and everyone is stuck at home. However, fans still want to engage and interact with their favourite stars.
ACE is able to do that as it is personalised to them. Technology is a useful tool to expand celebrity and fan relationships. It does not have to replace meeting in real life but the reality is that most fans do not have direct access to celebrities today and ACE can bridge the gap.
The beauty of technology across all industries is that it makes the value chain more efficient. In the digital entertainment world, more money can go directly to the talent. Other players will need to evolve to earn and deserve their value in a transaction. But there is room for all if they evolve and add value.
Schonknecht shared that if a celebrity charges S$50 per 1-2 minute video, and this was extrapolated out over a year, then the potential for them to earn is in the millions. He said that they are not suggesting this will be the exclusive or primary way they earn, but it shows that this model is a very good return on their time and effort. When asked whether the quality of content is better than in real life, Schonknecht said that it is not the same for online or offline but both have their place in the world.
ACE was formed before Covid-19 and the starting premise remains, which is providing a unique and delightful way for fans and celebrities to connect. Returning to a more in-person lifestyle will not negate the need for ACE because fans will still need a way to engage and connect with their heroes online, according to Schonknecht.
The type of content ACE provides are short form video messages. They are greetings (often bought for someone else as a gift), messages of advice or inspiration, or just a fan wanting to have the novelty of having their favourite person speak directly to them. Over the longer term, ACE is looking to expand into live and longer form content too.
An ACE video is thought of as a digital autograph. It does not replace a physical one but it is more accessible because it is delivered online than getting one from a queue at a concert.
Schonknecht said that celebrities benefit from staying relevant and engaged with their fanbase via ACE, and also have the option of using this as a way to generate funds for good causes they support.
For example, they have several celebrities on ACE who are donating all their proceeds to good causes like Animal Welfare, Frontline Healthworkers and Ocean Cleanup Charities. For fans, they get a direct and personalised connection with their heroes, a unique gift for someone, or just a cool bit of content to share on social media.