Celebrities and charities go together like chocolate donuts and bacon. Don’t ask why it works, it just does. (Note: I had this yesterday, and it really does work.)
One company, Chideo (charity+video), is going beyond the usual feel-good celebrity promotions and sponsorships and going directly to the people. The platform offers exclusive content from A-list celebrities like Halle Berry, Bradley Cooper, and more in exchange for charitable donations—as in, you want to watch the video? Get out your wallet and donate. Today, the company is expanding its mobile footprint with the launch of its Android app.
The company was founded in 2013 by billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Todd Wagner, who co-founded Broadcast.com and now co-owns 2929 Entertainment with Mark Cuban. Chideo is one of a handful of companies taking on the status of “low-profit.” Wagner describes the company as a “for-profit with the long-term goal of breaking even.” Technically for-profit, it takes a 20% cut of proceeds, but Wagner says, “this company is about helping charities.”
Currently, only 8% of charitable giving is occurring online. The company isn’t publicly releasing how much it has raised this calendar year, but insists that it’s raising “solid amounts.” The platform currently boasts nearly 100 celebrities representing some 70 charities, including American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, Heifer International, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Starlight Children’s Foundation, the Trevor Project, and more. Chideo is also an official disaster relief partner with the Red Cross, allowing it to leverage its network of celebrity personalities to hold impromptu virtual telethons within hours of a natural disaster.
The platform allows users to watch exclusive videos of their favorite celebrities in exchange for donations to their causes, as well as make suggestions for future content. Users can also vote on other users’ suggestions for content. For example, while Halle Berry has no video uploads as of yet, the trending question proposed to her comes from a user who asks, “What is your favorite female movie lead and why? How might you have played that role?”
Every celebrity/personality on the site has signed an agreement to be part of the Chideo platform, and the company works closely with each celebrity to develop a year-round program of exclusive content.
Wagner says that “hundreds of thousands” of users have discovered Chideo, and that the user return rate is “quite high” due to the site’s continuously refreshed, exclusive content.
“We want to entertain you into giving, not guilt you into it,” said Wagner. “The key is to intertwine entertainment with the fact that its solely to help charities raise money. Folks can do good, just by watching the content.”
The new Android app comes with side menu navigation, enhanced search functionality (so users can search by celebrity, charity, or whathaveyou), and in-app payments, including the ability to simply take a picture of their credit card to make a payment.
Along with its new Android app, Chideo has also announced the addition of Flo Rida (the genius behind “Low,” which I’m now going to have stuck in my head for the rest of the weekend), golf legend Jack Nicklaus, and NFL Hall of Famer Boomer Esiason to its roster of celebrity personalities.
"Chideo is exactly what my fans and I have been looking for," Flo Rida said in a statement to VatorNews. "It gives us a place to connect, to share ideas and to get a window into what it means to live my dream. And the best part is that together, we have a chance to make the world a better place for lots of deserving kids.”
Chideo raised $9.1 million in a round of funding back in April.