What do Matthew McConaughey, Dolly Parton, Julie Andrews and Alicia Keys all have in common? Apart from being super-famous, they're also all to be found selling their latest wares on livestream shopping website, talkshoplive.
The A-list are flocking to the e-commerce site to shill items including their memoirs, bag collections, jewellery and more, in a move that shows celebrity diversification and the commodification of fame is no longer constrained by the concept of "selling out".
What is talkshoplive?
According to its website, the e-commerce concept is "the first live-streaming, social buying and selling platform for anyone, anywhere".
"You can sell and buy products from mops to mopeds, frying pans to pearls ... Welcome to your 24/7 direct social-selling network!”
With popular categories including healthy snacks and beverages, T-shirts and tanks, biographies and memoirs, it is the latter that celebrities have particularly leant into.
Oscar-winner McConaughey has appeared on the platform to sell his new memoir, Greenlights, along with related merchandise. Multi-Grammy winner Keys, meanwhile, hosted a segment in which she pushed her latest book, More Myself: A Journey.
‘QVC meets Instagram Live’
Both celebrities and everyday sellers show their wares in short-form videos which have been described as “QVC meets Instagram Live”, with exposure on the site providing an additional revenue stream.
"Everybody does it in a way that works for them and serves their audience, as opposed to the television shopping we're used to seeing, with talent on a set talking to a host," Bryan Moore, talkshoplive's chief executive, told The Hollywood Reporter. "This feels more personal. That's resonating with fans and driving sales."
And it's this "personal" approach that has seen the likes of US reality TV star Kristin Cavallari and country singing legend Dolly Parton sell merchandise on the site. Fellow country singer Garth Brooks even performed a live version of the Oscar-winning song Shallow, from A Star is Born, alongside his singer wife Trisha Yearwood, as a way of previewing the release of his latest album, Fun.
Talkshoplive credits its targeted audience approach for achieving a high conversion rate, with Parton's appearance to promote her new memoir, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics attracting in the region of 43,000 viewers, and Brooks's performance seeing 3.3 million tune in.
The infomercial comes of age
There's no denying the coronavirus pandemic has been a boon to talkshoplive. With film sets shut down and projects put on hold, the A-list are looking for distraction and a way to stay in the public eye; while those lower down the earning chain in the entertainment industry are no doubt seeking other revenue streams, uncertain where their next job might come from.
Plus, the company, which was set up in 2018 and collects a commission on every sale, has been able to capitalise on people staying and shopping from home.
Offering creative freedom to celebrities and other sellers, rather than battling over primetime slots on traditional viewing platforms such as QVC, videos are made on the seller’s own schedule and using their own script.
And with the like of Meghan Trainor and Bella Thorne making appearances on the site, it appears that last bastion of ridiculed, celebrity money-grabbing cheesiness – the infomercial – has finally found a way to reboot and rebrand.