Are you looking for an all-access pass to every aspect of Kanye West’s existence? More importantly, are you willing to pay $4.99 a month for it? Multicultural ad agency GlobalHue is hoping that you and millions of others are. The famously egocentric star has a new web channel launching on the Voyr platform, a fresh idea from the agency’s incubator GVH. GlobalHue hopes to add a roster of stars to Voyr that will offer positive, intimate content to fans on a for-fee basis. While names like Oprah and Elton John have been floated as other possible participants, West is the first super-celebrity to sign on to overshare the minutiae of his life on the site.
Voyr is set to launch on September 15, to piggy back on a 35-city tour West is planning to embark on with Jay-Z to support their coming album, “Watch the Throne.” This will make great fodder for West’s Voyr channel, which promises to project the details of his performing romp across the country from behind the scenes. Advertising Age reports:
Stuff that will be available on his channel: his exercise routine; what he eats on tour and instructional videos about how to prepare those items by his personal chef; a “720-degree” concert experience; rehearsals for the show; a documentary about Kanye called — appropriately — “Me”; and his animated series called “Runaway.”
Possibly more interesting are ideas for the platform GlobalHue presented to Mr. West that the notoriously fussy artist struck down. These include allowing fans to vote on set designs or allowing marketers to sponsor specific episodes. Mr. Lewis said Mr. West, ever the auteur, slammed those ideas, saying he doesn’t need the popular vote to make decisions and the idea of, say, a McDonald’s powering that sort of voting power with the push of an “I’m loving it” button was a “piece of a crap.”
Kanye might be playing the diva, but in this particular situation he is not in total control. In fact he has no monetary stake in the project. Voyr is wholly owned by GlobalHue subsidiary GVH. West’s compensation in this deal was not disclosed.
Major barriers to entry for Voyr include the free content available on sites like YouTube, and of course competition from stars’ own web venues. Kanye in particular is famous for using the web well, so it will be interesting to see what he chooses to feature on Voyr as opposed to his own site, and whether fans will be willing to pay for the deeper peek into his life. Another question is how Voyr will build a massive audience and compete with sites like Vevo when most of its content is behind a pay wall.
History has shown that making Internet users pay for content rarely works. The only success story is that of The Wall Street Journal, which famously prevents its current edition from being read online by anyone but paying subscribers. While its pay wall went into effects years ago and generates income for its already successful business, The New York Times tried the same thing recently and saw it’s online circulation drop by up to 30%. And this is for an already successful, long-standing brand. It would be history-making for Voyr to beat these odds as an anonymous new brand.
But if they can get people to pay for anything, it might be close web contact with luminaries. That is what GlobalHue is banking on. GlobalHue is hoping that stars will attract viewers by offering complementary information about their lives that cannot be found on salacious entertainment sites. The company is also considering a variety of pricing models that will appeal to both the die-hard star lover, and the more casual consumer who would only be willing to pay on a one-off basis.
The launch party held earlier this week for their collaboration with West featured huge stars like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and West himself of course. Who knows? Maybe stalking a beloved star into every corner of his or her life is worth a few extra dollars a month. Perhaps through Voyr the famous can change TMI into massive coin.