I’m at the TechCrunch50 conference right now, where Ashton Kutcher is presenting his web startup. Not only is this one a celebrity-driven startup, but it’s about celebrities. It’s an animated web video show with interactive elements called Blah Girls.
The three young female hosts are a little bit raunchy and a little bit out of touch (Britney shaving her head and showing her crotch is so last year!). In an intro video, they make some jokes about Jason Calacanis, Mark Cuban and Michael Arrington — big crowd-pleasers for this audience, though it’s a bit early in the day so the response is somewhat muted. Kutcher calls the show “dynamic interactive pop culture celebrity environment.”
Here’s an example of the interactive elements: Send in a positive comment and you get positive video response from characters, like “OMG, we are so BFFs!” If your comment is negative, however, they don’t like you so much. There’s also an accompanying celeb-tracking blog.
Based on his experience with Punk’d and Beauty and the Geek, Kutcher says, “We know how to target a demo and make a piece of content that they want to engage with.” He also stresses interactivity and advertiser integration. VitaminWater is the first sponsor.
New episodes will be released two to three times per week, which seems awful light for celebrity news.
The TechCrunch judges are being pretty soft on everybody this round, with YouTube founder Chad Hurley joking he thinks video is going to be big, angel investor Ron Conway commenting Blah Girls has good intellectual property, and CNET’s Dan Farber saying the interactivity isn’t really that impressive. Conway makes a special point of saying that product placement is going to be a multi-billion-dollar industry.
I’m interviewing Kutcher later and will find out if he’s an Arrested Development fan (Bob Loblaw Law Blog anyone?). Update: Here’s the video interview.