The Entertainment and Media market in the top five African markets – Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya – is worth US$19 billion per year, and is also one of the fastest growing in the world.
Yet the extent to which tech platforms – and social media in particular – help celebrities and admired talent reach their audiences quickly and easily often lacks authenticity, according to Joy Des Fountain, founder of South Africa’s myFanPark.
“So while fans are able to “follow” and “like” the pages of their heroes, fans ultimately still continue to have limited access to their favourite celebrities. Equally so, while celebrities value and love the attention they get from their fans, they value their privacy even more – so it’s a fine balance to achieve in creating a platform that allows for a more authentic, personal connection, while respecting the time and privacy of those who are in demand,” Des Fountain said.
She believes she has come up with a solution, and uptake of myFanPark has certainly been impressive. The platform allows users to request a personalised shout-out video from their favourite celebrity, such as birthday or celebration messages. After payment, the celebrity has seven days to record the video message, which myFanPark then delivers to the fan via email and WhatsApp.
“These personalised messages have the ability to create smiles and have an impact far beyond what gifts like a doll, a bouquet of flowers or the latest tech toy could ever deliver. Because they can change not only someone’s day, but how they feel about themselves, how they tackle tomorrow or where they get their courage from,” said Des Fountain.
From the celebrity perspective, the platform allows them to manage the high demand for personal engagements from their fans, but on their terms. And, even better, to be able to monetise those engagements. The benefits on each side have led to real growth.
“We have seen a tremendous uptake from admired people who are looking to connect in a unique way with people who look up to them. The COVID-19 lockdown specifically has seen traffic grow by 492 per cent, orders increase by 959 per cent, and the number of celebs who have signed up expanding by 172 per cent,” said Des Fountain.
“Today we have over 600 talent representing nine different countries, with operating teams on the ground in four regions – Nigeria, India, Germany and South Africa. I remain extremely proud to have achieved this in a mere 11 months since we officially launched in South Africa.”
myFanPark, which charges a standard 25 per cent handling fee for every video booked and paid for via its platform, is now actively engaged with more partners across the world to grow and scale the business further – not only into more markets, but also to extend its product offering to provide an even more personalised, richer and rewarding experience for fans and those they admire.