Entertainment

We Didn't Know Birthday Shoutouts Could Be Monetised In Malaysia, Until Now

Author’s Blurb: I can count the number of celebrities I like on one hand. My style of fan interaction has always been just to hunt down every movie they’ve ever been in (as they’re usually actors) and binge watch that stuff with other fans. I have no actual desire to ever interact with them directly, or see them in person.

On a platform called Goceb, they’re trying to make it easy for fans to interact with their celebrities they like.

It considers anyone with a substantial following a celebrity, so long as they’re someone’s favourite person, be it as a singer, actor, athlete, youtuber, influencer, cosplayer, or even just a persona.

“Goceb is the first celebrity personalised shoutout startup in Malaysia,” co-founder Chen Neo told Vulcan Post. “The concept is simple: you pay famous people to send a personal wishing message to yourself, families or friends for any occasion you want.”

“Imagine having Datuk Lee Chong Wei wish your child all the best and sharing some tips before entering a badminton competition. That’s what Goceb wants to achieve.”

Personally, that’s one celebrity Neo would like to meet besides Namewee, and he sees Goceb as his potential ticket to do so.

Replicating A Successful Model

Neo is a first-time founder who just came back from the US, while ZiKang, his co-founder is a serial entrepreneur involved in multiple e-commerce startups like Fitgear, Oxwhite and Alcosm.

Neo and ZiKang / Image Credit: Goceb

Together, they’ve always been on the lookout for great ideas to implement in SEA, of which they now have over 20 on their list.

One of them became Goceb, and its inspiration came from CAMEO in the US, which Neo said is the most successful celebrity shoutout startup that has popularised this concept.

“It is valued at more than US$300 million and has successfully processed more than 1 million requests within 3 years of launch. We believe this has potential here in Southeast Asia,” Neo shared.

A platform like CAMEO and Goceb’s democratises the celebrity-fan relationship, benefitting its two-fold target market.

With this, people can interact personally with their faves for a small price, when it used to be only those with great influence or money who were able to do so.

Meanwhile, celebrities now have a B2C avenue, in addition to the B2B deals that they usually have.

You could say Goceb acts like a gig economy of sorts for celebrity talents, as they can make personalised videos for fans anytime, anywhere.

A video clip of an Elsa character impersonator wishing a child Happy Birthday / Credit: Goceb

As mentioned earlier, I don’t have the desire to interact with my own faves, so I’m clearly not part of Goceb’s target market.

Furthermore, I’m not 100% convinced that celebrity shoutouts represent any true form of personal interaction.

To me, a more personal interaction would be tweeting at your fave and having them reply directly to you, without the orchestration or cost of any sort. (At least, according to my Gen Z logic.)

However, I must admit that the shoutouts are more dynamic and “real-feeling” since you get to actually see the celebrities addressing you, so I can understand the appeal of this service for many.

Keeping It Real

As accounts can often be faked on social media, we asked Neo how they ensured the same wouldn’t happen on Goceb.

“Usually, Goceb will approach celebrities with this new concept, so we already know that they are real,” he explained.

The platform also acts as an escrow, where if a customer never pays, the celebrity will never shoot the video.

Likewise, if a celebrity doesn’t create the video, the payment won’t be release to them. The platform itself takes a 30% cut from each transaction.

In return for that fee, Goceb helps the celebrities manage the logistics of delivering the video shoutout, marketing support and ensuring that the fans pay.

Goceb is open to celebrities and talents all over the world, whether big or small. Their main focus is in SEA, but they have a few from the US and UK.

However, Neo specifically pointed out that they would like to onboard more Malaysian musicians, singers, actors and athletes.

For RM30, you can make kids go wild with joy / Image Credit: Goceb

One of the most popular celebrities on Goceb is Khai Bahar, a Malaysian singer whose top song garnered over 70 million views on YouTube.

Within a few hours of his launch on Goceb, he received 50+ requests.

Growing Bigger & Better

One of the biggest early challenges was persuading celebrities to join Goceb.

“Most celebrities had done B2B deals in the past, but they rarely do B2C. This is such a new concept that many were unsure if this will work, so many took a wait-and-see approach,” Neo recalled.

“The first few months were tough, but this is expected for a new concept. We pushed through it and once we had some reputable celebrities that joined, it became so much better.”

In the short-term future, Goceb will focus on polishing its personalised shoutout products.

“The basic structure is there,” Neo said, “But we believe we can still vastly improve the whole ‘fan experience’ on our platform. We will focus on making the fundamentals right.”

“Over the long-term, we are looking to expand to other Southeast Asian countries. We do digital products, which is very scalable.”

Author’s Blurb: While I’ve said that the concept of having a personalised shoutout from my faves is of little appeal to me, I can’t deny that I would still be pleasantly surprised if someone were to buy a message for me. In general, I still see it as something that would appeal the most to kids and teenagers, but die-hard fans of any age would be sure to appreciate this.

  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Goceb

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