Porn has been very good for OnlyFans. During the pandemic, the social subscription platform popular with adult artists, sex workers and celebrities increased its revenue by 540% to reach $ 400 million by the end of 2020 and the company expects to raise $ 1.2 billion by the end of this year. anus. OnlyFans’ surge in popularity made Leo Radvinsky, the webcam porn entrepreneur who owns a 75% stake in the company, a billionaire in June, and Tim Stokely, the co-founder and CEO, and his father, Gary, in centimillionaires. But adult content would never be the future of OnlyFans.
On Thursday, Bloomberg first reported that the platform will ban sexually explicit content starting in October. While this may come as a shock to some, OnlyFans has been signaling this turn for months, which is why the news shouldn’t have taken anyone with their pants down.
This spring, OnlyFans launched its Safe for Work OFTV, a video streaming app that features non-sexual content like cooking and fitness shows, as well as podcasts featuring interviews from hip-hop artists like Too Short. OFTV’s biggest show is Unlocked, which offers behind-the-scenes and job-safe interviews with creators like actor and musician Tyler Poser, model Bella Thorne, and former porn star Mia Khalifa.
“OnlyFans cannot survive without pornography. It was based on sex work. And everyone knows him for his work and sexual content ”.
For OnlyFans, which has grown into one of the largest social media platforms seemingly overnight with 130 million users and more than 2 million content creators who have made a total of $ 5 billion selling subscriptions. , the mainstream is motivated by the need for money. According to a statement from OnlyFans, the company is banning content featuring “sexually explicit conduct” to meet “banking partners and payment providers.” Nudity, he added, will be allowed as long as it is “consistent” with their policies.
In addition to satisfying payment processors, OnlyFans is also trying to woo investors who seem to belong to a somewhat more prudish universe. According to Axios, OnlyFans is having trouble raising capital, although it estimates it will generate about $ 2.5 billion in revenue next year, a 108% increase from 2021 and a 566% increase from 2020 revenue.
Axios also reported that the Raine Group, a commercial bank that was helping OnlyFans raise money, was having trouble getting investors to take the bait. (The money OnlyFans wants to raise would partially take out majority owner Radvinsky, who made his fortune from webcam sites and a link referral business that advertised access to child pornography and bestiality, according to Forbes research.)
For now, pornstars like Sophie Dee and Angela White earn more than $ 1 million a year on OnlyFans. Bhad Bhabie, who achieved 15 minutes of fame as a foul-mouthed teenager on Dr. Phil in 2016, also earned more than $ 1 million in a few minutes on her 18th birthday on OnlyFans. But now there are also plenty of less explicit, but still daring creators flocking to OnlyFans, including rapper Cardi B and former Disney actress Bella Thorne. And while brands like PornHub have always promised to diversify away from porn, they have historically failed. The once venerable Playboy brand expanded into clubs, restaurants, hotels, and clothing, but has become virtually irrelevant.
For many, OnlyFans’ move away from pornography is akin to big tobacco companies like Phillip Morris International announcing that they will stop selling cigarettes. But the OnlyFans pivot whiplash looks more like McDonald’s announcing it would go vegan in two months.
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After all, OnlyFans is a house that was built on pornography. It owes its popularity and wild growth to sexually explicit content, period. Founded in 2016 by Stokely, the British entrepreneur enlisted legendary webmaster and videographer Bill Fox (who passed away in January 2019) to recruit adult artists for OnlyFans.
“The English did not know the adult industry; Bill was the gatekeeper and got his name out there and got people to sign up, ”says Brad Armstrong, an adult film veteran who directed 200 movies and was once married to Jenna Jameson. “At the beginning, he was integral, he laid the fundamental building blocks for everything to work.”
“I don’t know if they’ll see Meryl Streep in it and Robert De Niro, but OnlyFans became popular was inevitable.”
—Adult film director Brad Armstrong
The animators proposal was difficult to reject. Most webcam companies get a 70% to 80% cut of an artist’s revenue, while OnlyFans invested the economy. With the ability to keep 80% of what they earned, switching to OnlyFans was a no-brainer for porn stars, sex workers, or anyone who wanted to make some extra money with sexually explicit content.
Ryan’s union, the Adult Performance Artists Guild, says the fear is that now that OnlyFans is a household name, even a former pastor has his own OnlyFans account and is now making up to $ 100,000 a month, the platform could be taking a page from other tech companies and cleaning up their content as more mainstream users join.
“We fear it will be like Tumblr, it will be like Patreon,” says Evans. “They are our income, it would be disastrous if they fired us.”
Maitland Ward, who played Rachel McGuire on the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World before becoming an adult film actress, now makes more than $ 1 million a year on OnlyFans. Ward, who makes most of his money selling personalized porn videos to his subscribers, says the creator community is scared by the new rules.
“It sucks that sex workers are being marginalized and sidelined after making billions of dollars from OnlyFans,” says Ward. She says the rule change is due to pressure from credit card companies, but is not yet sure how it will affect her business. That being said, you don’t think there is a sexless OnlyFans.
“OnlyFans can’t survive without porn,” says Ward. “What’s next, they remove the nudity and then they are like Instagram? OnlyFans was based on sex work. And everyone knows OnlyFans for sex work. “
Armstrong, who recently sold his home in California and moved to the Bahamas to enjoy retirement, sees it differently. Accept that OnlyFans started with pornstars, but the goal was always to get into the mainstream. Once “fringe” celebrities like Bhad Bhabie joined in, D-list and C-list celebrities got onto the platform. And now, the A-listers and B-listers are teaming up.
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“Celebrities are now seeing how much money they can make and giving it credibility,” says Armstrong. “I don’t know if they’ll see Meryl Streep in it and Robert De Niro, but OnlyFans has already caught on and it’s inevitable.”
He continues: “Mainstream makes more sense from a business point of view. If paying Beyoncé to say ‘Hey guys’ for a minute costs the same as hosting ten thousand girls who will have sex on camera, the company will always go with Beyoncé. “