With an uptake of over 11,000 talent profiles and a 20-30% month-on-month growth curve over just 9-months, the South African created digital talent agency platform WeCast is challenging the traditional talent agency industry model.
As with other disruptive apps (like Airbnb and Uber), WeCast gives control and the power to the users, rather than the traditional agents. In this case, the users encompass casting professionals and producers as well as models, actors, part timemodels and actors and even your average person who might fit a brief and has loaded a profile.
WeCast capitalises on the massive gap in the market for a solution that emphasises fee, job and talent transparency along with the ability to put the power of the audition process squarely in the hands of the users. Co-founder, developer and CEO of WeCast, Jaryd Hermann (25) says that their mission has been to empower talent and casting professionals and bring jobs and flexibility to the industry in a way that is not only scaleable but based on tech-touch.
WeCast offers models, actors and casting professionals a start to finish casting solution. The platform gets the same briefs as the traditional agencies. Talent is able to load and manage their profile on the platform which they use to proactively apply for jobs/briefs on the site. While the system will match certain profiles to jobs, Hermann encourages users to be proactive and engaged with their applications to make sure all opportunities are maximised. WeCast’s algorithm will continuously suggest potential auditions for applicants.
The strong, steady growth of WeCast over less than a year is indicative of an industry need for talent and clients to take control of the audition and job process. “The industry has always been very traditional with agents operating as middle-men and offering a restrictive process while retaining the control. WeCast’s innovation shifts the power out of the hands of the agency into those of the users, which then also offers far more selection and flexibility to the client through a much bigger talent pool,” explains Dani Zelezniak (33), co-founder and CIO.
Success in this regard is reflected in some of the recent jobs for notable brands where never-booked-before talent became the perfect cast; these include Airbnb, Burger King, Ketel One vodka, Intersport, MTN and Marinda.
The app was initially launched in Cape Town with a small, and growing demand footprint in Johannesburg. WeCast also recently listed projects in three US cities: New York, Washington and Miami and the platform facilitated the project bookings. “Our big picture vision is to scale WeCast so that it becomes a global marketplace for talent and clients. Our recent foray into the US market showed us that our our core communication technology and scaleability models work,” says Hermann. “We’re thrilled to see how the US clients responded and we are looking forward to growing that market.”
Adds Hermann, “our research shows that there are very few digital agency apps available globally, and we are certainly the first in South Africa. None of the apps currently in the market place have WeCast’s level of functionality; combining technology, automation and human interaction into a process that is empowering to talent and clients alike.”
The system also manages important admin for the users. Once a user is booked for a job, a combination of automation and minor human involvement ensures that contracts are signed, payments are made, usage is tracked, and renewals are managed. WeCast also enables the talent to see all the job information – casting dates, job dates, locations, role criteria and payment breakdown. Hermann explains further, “our commission is 20% which is very reasonable in terms of industry standards and we are non-exclusive, meaning the models and actors can explore multiple opportunites, which we believe is the way it should be – to move out of the anti-competitive space and give talent more opportunities and exposure to ensure that clients receive the best possible cast as well as a transparent and value-driven deal.”
“The pace with which most industries are shifting into the 4th Industrial Revolution means there is an accelerated need for innovation and agility when it comes to most business processes – this is no different for the casting and audition process,” explains Zelezniak.