September 30th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 38
Crowsnest native seeks to monetize social media with exciting new business model
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Matt Heisie, 23, is founding a celebrity social media company called StarPower. The Crowsnest native is back in the Pass to get a work visa before heading back home to Los Angeles, California.
Pass Herald Reporter
A tweet is free.

But not if Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS) graduate of 2010 Matt Heisie has anything to say about it.

The 23-year old Crowsnest native is aiming to monetize celebrity social media through his newly founded company called StarPower.

StarPower is a platform similar to Twitter except it will only feature celebrities. Its business model breaks the mold of most social media sites because it charges fans a subscription fee to sign up and bear witness to celebrity social media.

“We let celebrities and their management teams manage social media in one place,” said Heisie. “At the same time we monetize the following by allowing fans to purchase subscriptions to new content.”

Most social media companies, like Twitter and Facebook, do not charge a subscription fee and generate revenue through advertising.

But there’s a cost to free access, said Heisie.

“Advertising is not necessarily the best way to do it,” said Heisie. “It leaves a lot of space for outside influence to really change the type of content you get. By putting a price tag directly on it, I think you’re getting more honest content.”

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Subscribers to StarPower get perks like pre-sale access to tickets, VIP access to shows, giveaways and the chance to meet celebrities. They can also collect points, which they can trade in for special celebrity merchandise.

Celebrities get a platform to promote their latest works and interact with their core fans. They might also get the chance to sell tickets to events directly to fans, taking middlemen like Ticketmaster out of the equation.

“It cuts the prices for the fans and raises money for the stars,” said Heisie. “Everyone is happy.”

The celebrity’s manager has the power to approve or disprove postings before they go live, which Heisie hopes will avoid any career ending Charlie Sheen-esque outbursts.

Heisie developed the company with consultant Terri Hitchcock at BlueChili, a startup incubator.

The hunt for celebrities to use the service has brought Heisie to comic book conventions, the Emmy awards and space.

“If people know anybody famous they should call me,” he said.

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He’s already recruited Nichelle Nichols, who played communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS on Star Trek.

Nichols was a recruiter for NASA in the 1970s and helped find the first female and minority astronauts. Heisie recently flew into low earth orbit with Nichols in a specially modified 747. They were high enough to see the curvature of the earth and did a live Q & A and also took 360-degree footage of their journey with a specially mounted camera.

He’s also got an American football team, an agency that manages boy bands and others he’s not at liberty to reveal.

There’s also a charitable side to StarPower as a portion of subscription fees are donated to a charity of the celebrity’s choice.

“Most celebrities have some cause that is very near and dear to their heart,” said Heisie. “And they’ve got the ears of millions of people.”

The company is currently in a trial stage but it already has a few hundred subscribers.

September 30th ~ Vol. 85 No. 38
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