Megastar’s talent comp kicks off

ASX-listed entertainment app firm MSM has launched its global talent competition, Megastar, in Australia and US over the weekend.

The company, which has pop superstar Usher on board as celebrity judge and Chief Creative Officer, said it had a total audience reach of over 130 million social media followers and its million-dollar competition has kicked off successfully.

The way the competition works is fans are in charge of who rises and falls through voting with their mobile phone, across categories including Music, Dance, Sport, Extreme, Comedy, Magic and Variety. Auditions are already running across South Africa, the UK, New Zealand and Canada.

The five-week competition will culminate with a grand finale on December 14, 2017, with one performer awarded a $US1 million prize.

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Confessions of a Megastar

Sketchshe talk to Usher about this smartphone-only talent show.

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Usher starts a new relationship with Australian tech startup MSMCI

Usher has signed on as Chief Creative Director of $10.5 million Australian tech startup MSMCI.

The singer, and inventor of popular dance craze the U-Turn, will mainly appear as a judge, mentor, and “brand ambassador” for MSMCI’s smartphone talent search show MegastarBusiness Insider reports.

The show combines “social media, gaming and live entertainment”, with a hefty $US1 million prize on offer to the winning contestant. The company is already claiming the first successful mainstream crossover from television to the mobile platform – but of course, the show needs an actual engaged audience in order to claim victory.

Still, Usher seem excited. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this creative, next-generation online competition,” he said. (See, he is thrilled).

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MSM Corporation launches talent competition app in the U.S. and Australia

MSM Corporation International Ltd (ASX:MSM) has released the Megastar app, available for download in Apple App Store and Google Play Store, in the U.S. and Australia.

These countries join the existing territories where the app has already been launched – South Africa, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada.

The competition is open to performers across the competition’s seven talent categories: music, dance, sport, extreme, comedy, magic and variety.

The five-week global auditions have now commenced with the finale scheduled for 14 December 2017 where one performer will be awarded the US$1 million prize.

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Megastar Millionaire (ASX: MSM)

The world’s newest online talent quest will launch within weeks as singers, dancers, comedians and entertainers from all walks of life compete for the $1 million prize money.

MSM Corporation’s (ASX:MSM), Megastar talent platform has completed Beta testing, put in place a management team that has experience on shows like X FactorBig Brother and Deal or No Deal and is now ready to launch its platform to the world, as it looks to emulate the success of the likes of the $2.5 billion Idol franchise.

Megastar is already rocking the Casbah. When it launches it will become the world’s biggest online talent competition.

And with a first mover advantage operating in the US$25 billion online gaming and US$30 billion mobile sectors, whilst targeting a demographic of 18-24 year olds who are quick to adopt online alternatives, MSM could hit the market harder than a Metallica album.

Over the course of the last 12 months, MSM has also gathered partners who could bring to the table hundreds of millions of viewers and have hired SketchSHE as its first hosts.

SketchSHE has had over 100 million views globally, a substantial social media following reaching well over 3 million followers across their YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and has a track record of their comedy sketches going viral – which is exactly what the Megastar competition is about.

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MSM even has a Madonna connection, with partner DanceOn, which has a global audience of over 100 million viewers, being co-founded by the pop megastar. Danceon will be social influencers used to amplify awareness of the upcoming competition.

With its imminent launch, talent-quest experienced management, $1 million in prizemoney and a first mover advantage in the online talent quest space, MSM is set to shake, rattle and roll the future of talent shows as we know them.


MSM Corporation ups its game with new enhancements to talent contest

Eight-time Grammy award winner Usher is the platform’s chief creative director.

A stage performer

In August, the company raised $10.5 million in new capital

MSM Corporation International Ltd (ASX:MSM) has made a further set of enhancements to its flagship app-based talent contest Megastar Millionaire.

The company has successfully scaled its back-end infrastructure to handle over a million daily active users engaging in the competition, anticipating strong user growth in the coming months.

Megastar Millionaire is a global app-based talent contest that promotes social media artists in a series of competitions conducted over multi-month time spans.

The Megastar platform is a constantly evolving technology ecosystem designed to incorporate a globally scalable cloud infrastructure.

MSM recently enhanced the livestreaming feature for all users to include gifting and other engagement mechanics, building on the livestreaming feature which was added in July 2017.

This aligns Megastar’s user experience with massively successful mobile entertainment platforms like Twitch, the world’s leading video and community platform for gamers.

The user experience has also been upgraded to enable performers to upload videos directly from their mobile phone to the Megastar competition.

In August, the company raised $10.5 million in new capital and appointed eight-time Grammy award winner Usher as Megastar’s chief creative director, ambassador and mentor of the competition.

The company has now completed the process of integrating Usher into the competition.


Usher signs on with Sydney tech startup: What startups need to know about brand ambassadors

ANGELA CASTLES 

Megastar Millionaire

Megastar Millionaire executive director Sophie McGill and co-founder and chief executive Dion Sullivan

ASX-listed Sydney tech startup MSM Corporation International has signed US pop superstar Usher as its new creative director and brand ambassador, with the singer-songwriter also set to be a brand ambassador, judge and mentor for the startup’s Megastar Millionaire competition.

News of the partnership comes on the same day the company announced a $10.5 million capital raise ahead of its global launch. The raise was led by CPS Capital Group and Cadmon Advisory, with the funds allocated towards marketing, production and judges for the Megastar competition.

Megastar Millionaire is a software platform for online talent contestants that connects performers with fans through a gamified, interactive experience.

After completing a backdoor listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2015 and raising $5 million last year to expand the platform into Asia, MSM has recently launched its mobile-only talent discovery competition in the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada. Launches are also set for the US and Australia next month, according to the company.

The partnership will see Usher lending his judging and mentoring skills to performers in all the categories of the Megastar Millionaire competition, which offers the winners a top prize of $US1 million ($1.27 million) and a role in a film produced by John Baldecchi, as well as a variety of cash prizes.

MSM said in a statement that Usher’s involvement with the competition is for an initial term that will end 60 days after the finale of the 2017 Megastar competition, and the singer will receive cash payments, performance rights and royalties as part of the deal.

Dion Sullivan, co-founder of MSM and managing director of the Megastar Millionaire platform, said the company is “absolutely delighted to have Usher invested in both the product and the outcome of Megastar”.

“His career spans 24 years already and he has inspired so many artists. He has so much experience, training and industry knowledge to impart on our performers and his insights are invaluable to singers, dancers and performers in general.”

Making brand ambassadors work for you

With a social media presence of more than 68 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, and eight Grammy awards under his belt, there’s no doubt Usher carries some significant heft as a social influencer.

And while many startups may not be able to score someone with his profile, the strategy of using a brand influencer can still be worthwhile.

Jessica Humphreys, director at Melbourne communications firm Social Concepts, says brand influencers can offer companies a key source of “organic and valuable exposure” in comparison to a traditional print advertising campaigns.

But while brand influencers may offer a startup valuable exposure, Humphrey’s warns founders to “take time to do your due diligence” and research whether an influencer’s values align with the values of their startup.

She says startups should be “taking the time to research them so they understand who that influencer is: some are managed by an agent, so take time to do your due diligence.”

Humphreys also warns against equating having a large follower base with having influence, noting that brand ambassadors should have an engaged community of followers who would be “interested in the alignment” between the chosen influencer and the startup’s product.

“With influencers, the key word is ‘influence’ — smaller brands often work with individuals with a large following, but that doesn’t mean they have influence” Humphreys says.

Before signing on a brand ambassador or influencer, Humphreys advises startups should measure the engagement potential of an influencer against the number of followers they have, considering closely the ratio of people actively engaging with their content.

Once a startup has done its due diligence and identified a potential influencer, Humphreys suggests to “speak their language” and approach the influencer through the platform they are most active on — be that through an Instagram DM or a Twitter message, rather than a traditional email.

Navigating the risks

While Usher’s popularity has led him to amass 68 million followers, it has also thrown the singer in the midst of a recent scandal involving claims he had paid $US1.1 million ($1.38 million) to an unnamed celebrity stylist after allegedly giving her a sexually transmitted disease in 2012, news.com.au reports.

Negative press is one of the potential risks of working with brand influencers, however this can be mitigated with the proper preparation in place, according to Humphreys.

“Look for someone who has brand values that align with yours: it’s important to negotiate that in an agreement, since it’s a transactional paid opportunity. Like any other contractual agreement you want to make sure there are guidelines,” she says.

She also advises startups to have a specific exit clause in case the influencer “compromises the values of the business” to ensure a swift end to a partnership if needed.

So what can startups do if the worst happens, and their brand influencer goes completely off plot? Humphreys says in situations like these “speed is everything”.

She notes that even the smallest startups should still “have a crisis plan that addresses any potential issues that may arise”.

“Make sure you’ve got a person assigned to jump in and communicate [to your customers] as soon as something goes wrong,” she says.

“Speed is pivotal.”