That’s the idea behind Escapex, the company that made the Jeremy Renner app, which thrived for two-and-a-half years as a safe space for fans of the actor but was killed recently by online trolls. The same company is behind hundreds more apps designed for those with
Sephi Shapira, the chief executive of Escapex, explained that he did not care what his famous clients did to attract their fans, or even, really, if they were celebrities. (The most famous American names on the platform include the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese and the model and activist Amber Rose.) Their interests and expertise were beside the point. Really, only one skill was essential.
“The ability to create and retain engagement — that’s their talent,” he said of his clients. “That’s how they’re measured.” As to how they amassed their following? “I’m agnostic,” he said.
Escapex, along with similar companies likeDisciple,
“Our focus is to empower celebrities and create these loving, encouraging communities,” Mr. Shapira said.
So: You create the cult.
Escapex apps can’t match the big networks for user experience. But they can create a place for exclusive content, private conversations and a proximity to celebrity. For Escapex
On social media, by contrast, “the haters and superfans are all just avatars,” Mr. Shapira said.
Everyone’s Famous to Someone
The Escapex apps illustrate a shift in the mechanism of celebrity, said Joshua Gamson, the author of “Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America.” While the ultra-famous continue to exist, he said, “it certainly seems to be the trend toward less of that and more localized, more fragmented little pockets of fans and celebrities.”
“You might have fewer people who know you but they know your brand and they’ll follow you anywhere,” Mr. Gamson said. “It’s not pathological, but there’s a devotional piece to it.”
Escapex’s clients rely on that devotion. In creating their apps, they can choose from a menu of features and business models. Some are free, while others require a paid subscription of $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 per month. “
Sarah Projansky, the author of “Spectacular Girls: Media Fascination and Celebrity Culture,” said that the apps transpose the fan-club celebrity culture of the early 20th century into the punishing marketplace in which influencers — Escapex’s client base — are compelled to operate today.
“Influencers are trying to make a go of it in an economy that encourages that kind of self-employment,” she said. Many, she pointed out, depend on their youth for their appeal, and the Escapex app might provide them with a means of cashing in on assets — like skill at video games or conventional beauty — that would
Where the Fan Is the Content
Virtually all of the content on Escapex apps is generated by users, not the celebrity who convened them. On Mr. Renner’s app, users shared details about their lives and even exchanged goods with one another. There was no barrier to join, share or view content.
That made it easy for the trolls to invade. recent infiltration — in which
Mr. Shapira said he was not concerned about something similar happening to others on the Escapex platform. He noted that it had been the actor’s choice to shut things down and that the comments on the app had been more positive than not. “Trolls come with the business,” he said.
Asked if he would allow someone with unacceptable views onto the platform if that person had a talent for engagement, Mr. Shapira said that while he did not “believe in thought-crime,” Escapex would have no place for such views.
“We don’t do any political-oriented accounts or anything like that,” he said.
Escapex earned more than $5.5 million in revenue last year, according to financial documents reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Shapira said he expects to more than double that number by the end of 2019. The money earned from each app is split, with the company collecting 30 percent and
Mr. Shapira started the company in 2015, inspired by a conversation with a New York bartender who was also a musician. She had close to a million followers on Facebook, but when he asked why she was bartending she said she had no way to make money from them.
“That doesn’t make sense,” he thought at the time.
Four years later, Mr. Shapira is helping hundreds profit from their fans. But as far as he knows, the bartender is not an Escapex client.
Jonah Bromwich is a news and features reporter. He writes about cultural change — shifts in the way we date, eat, think and use language and technology — for the Style section. @jonesieman
Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter based in New York. Before joining The Times in 2016, he covered state governments for The Washington Post. He has also worked at The Atlantic, National Journal and The Recorder, in San Francisco. @nirajc
- Jeremy Renner shares photo of hot tub hours after his ex-wife claimed in court documents that he had 'threesomes at his home' after jacuzzi sessions and used drugs while looking after their daughter
- Autumn Gardening - A Time For Getting Dirty
- The Many Different Types Of Wall Clocks
- Adding Spice to Your Outdoor Decor With Garden Plaques
- Vertical Gardens & Living Walls - Greening Up the City!
- A Rock Garden Adds Beauty To Your Property
- Tulips for the Bright and New Look in Landscapes
- Enhance Your Flower Garden With Garden Edging
- Natures Own Flower Garden Designer Is Doing A Great Job
- How to Introduce Your Toddler to Gardening
- Garden Beds
- Fall Garden Ideas - Checklist For Fall Gardening
- Beginners Indoor Garden Tips
- Putting Compost on Your Organic Garden
- More Considerations in Functional Garden Design
- Top 7 Rules to Make Your Tuscan Garden Look Divine
- 5 Tips to Freshen Up Your Home and Garden Decor
- Features To Consider When Planning And Designing A Garden
- Marvel's Hawkeye Disney Plus series: New rumors, details, cast, writer and release date
- Decorate to Celebrate With Garden Flags and Banners
Jeremy Renner and the New Walled Garden of Celebrity have 1257 words, post on www.nytimes.com at September 9, 2019. This is cached page on Movie Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.