The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the adult content industry, drawing thousands of new people to showcase adult online appearances to make money, while creating more opportunities for viewers seeking intimacy while in lockdown to make personal contacts with performers online.
Why it matters: The result has been a shift in power from the major porn producers and distributors to thousands of individual actors and models. Executives on several adult websites report to Axios that they are experiencing explosive growth in part as the industry shifts to more individual engagement as a result of the pandemic.
- “Porn is free on the Internet, nobody has to pay to watch sex videos or nudity,” Evan Seinfeld, CEO of IsMyGirl, told Axios. “But people will pay to have an interactive experience and feel recognized and engaged.”
How it works: Being “recognized,” as Seinfeld puts it, often means that adult entertainers are moving from traditional porn shows to more personal experiences.
- Daryn Parker, vice president of adult website CamSoda, says the website has released cooking data for models that can be had with users for a fee.
- Gunner Taylor, director of strategic development for FriendFinder Networks, says a lot of the commitment the company is seeing now during the pandemic is “more from people sharing things online, right down to training classes for their pets.”
Details: Executives in several other adult locations tell Axios that they have seen record traffic and that the performers are earning record wages.
- “Days after the stimulus check, we were four times where we were last year at the same time,” says Parker.
- The week after Americans received their stimulus checks, Tayler said that Cams.com saw traffic on their live streaming site, cams.com, increase 22% and tips for models increased 40%.
- IsMyGirl’s web traffic has increased by 500% since February 2020 and by 40% to 50% since the beginning of April. Around 250,000 new models have registered since February.
Between the lines: One company that has received a huge boost is OnlyFans, based in the UK – a kind of cross between Instagram and a grown-up “camgirl site” with paid subscriptions.
- Although marketing includes sane content creators like comedians and other artists, OnlyFans has made a name for itself by enabling adult performers and sex workers to create and monetize content.
- Founded in 2016 by parent company Fenix International Limited, OnlyFans enables content creators to retain 80% of sales, despite the fact that the company told the New York Times last year that the cut after payment processing fees was closer to 12 % lies.
- As of this month, With more than 30 million registered users, OnlyFans has paid $ 725 million in revenue to its 450,000+ content creators.
Be clever: The story of OnlyFans and competing websites is about payments – and their rules.
- The biggest hurdle for online adult content and product creators is usually the payment processors and credit card networks that make it difficult for most web services to allow such content. Those who charge significantly higher fees.
- In 2018, Patreon tightened its rules for “unsafe” content (angry producers of such content), which it accused its “payment partners” of.
- According to Parker, CamSoda users pay US dollars for tokens when they enter the site and use tokens to tip models. Models pay out these tokens every week and are paid in cash.
Yes but: There are still hurdles facing these types of websites, namely that the major mobile app stores don’t allow adult streaming apps.
- OnlyFans doesn’t have a mobile app right now, despite being a social media and influencer age kid. This undoubtedly limits growth and makes it difficult to use for both developers and subscribers.
In addition, critics worry That the rise of OnlyFans and other adult fan sites is a sign that the economic troubles of the pandemic are driving more people to sell their nude pictures for an income.
- And some of the original OnlyFans community resent the newbies to the platform. Some celebrities, like social media influencer Caroline Calloway, have used the website to generate additional revenue and interactions with fans, which is causing trouble for service sex workers.
The big picture: The rise of these services represents the rise of a new generation of gig economy where it may be easier and more lucrative for influencers and gig staff to get paid off by providing services online than it is in real life .
- Even after the pandemic ends, developers are unlikely to return to full in-person benefits and services if they can be successful online.
- “Online camera models are going to make a lot more money than a model who goes to their local strip club,” says Parker of CamSoda. “Our best models make over $ 20,000 a week.”
- “You make 10x more money than leaving your house,” says IsMyGirl’s Isfeld.
- The phenomenon has already found its way into the lexicon of pop culture, for example OnlyFans recently found its way into a Beyonce lyric.
The bottom line: “I see it as an ongoing trend,” says Parker. “This is the new normal. It will never go back to where we were in January and February. “
Go deeper: Everyone becomes an online creator during the coronavirus