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Analysis Of The Week: Only Fans

Date
5 May 2021

Dheepa

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Forum Team
  • Jan 20, 2019
    696
    1,842
    This was a really interesting article to read for several reasons (going to flag off the bet that neither of these reasons are very law firm related per se):
    1. From a commercial perspective, sites like OnlyFans and Cameo seem to be creating a new space/market within social media. Social media has in essence allowed us to be closer to a celebrity's life than anyone thought was possible around some 6-10 years ago. I mean Elon Musk and his wife Grimes announced their baby's name on Twitter, then there's famous pop singer Jason Derulo whose letting TikTok decide his soon to be born baby's name. Cameo takes this one step further by allowing fans to pay celebrities for a video chat, a birthday message or a small shout out. I think these platforms have taken what has previously been a very closed off industry and made it more open. There is a huge amount of power in both the hands of fans and celebrities alike. Where previously PR agencies, brands, music labels etc. set the value of the talent that walked through their doors, platforms like this allow the individual to set their worth and see if their fans agree. Sign on agreements and partnership/sponsorship agreements, probably look very different today than a few years ago even.
    2. I think the rise of platforms like this is indicative of a shift in what we value as a society. We respond well to celebrities who open up their lives to us online because we can we see them as closer to our own lifestyles, concerns etc. This is probably why many companies that work with celebrities and influencers tend to select a range of them i.e. celebrities with huge followings, influencers (the really famous ones that have reached an almost traditional celebrity like status) and then micro-influencers - smaller followings, the ones that seem more down to earth and most importantly reachable. I think its important to remember that it isn't just consumer brands that enlist celebrities and influencers, the UK government was paying Love Island stars late last year to remind people about the importance of getting vaccinated. During the recent US elections, Mike Bloomberg invested significantly in influencer marketing, Andrew Yang's campaign reportedly paid for memes to be created, and of course who can forget Bernie Sanders infamous (and in my opinion rather adorable) friendship with Cardi B. Already in the US, the FTC has begun regulating influencer marketing and influencer conduct in general. Let's not forget that influencers have also created an entirely new industry. Influencer marketing firms that global companies regularly outsource the job of selecting influencers and tracking their performance too.
    Curious to hear anyone else's thoughts on OnlyFans and other similar platforms (Patreon, Cameo etc.). I haven't touched on this here myself but the article does discuss the need to safeguard users/viewers from widespread sex work in general (since this is what OnlyFans is predominantly use for at the moment.) Any thoughts on this would also be welcome!
     
    Last edited:

    Jacob Miller

    Legendary Member
    Future Trainee
    Forum Team
  • Feb 15, 2020
    793
    2,156
    The Only Fans discussion is really interesting to me - in British society in particular, we tend to be very prudish "oh no, we don't talk about those things in polite company" sort of a thing - yet we're faced with not only OF, but a number of other adult platforms, which nevertheless are extraordinarily valuable platforms and require complex commercial and legal analysis.

    In terms of why these platforms have become so successful, I agree with Dheepa that the "accessibility" factor is largely at play here. In almost all parts of society, we have a major cache to celebrity and celebrity status and this is no different in the world of adult platforms and Internet pornography - people admire celebrities and also want to feel closer to them. Regardless of one's outlook on the moral and social values attached to platforms which facilitate sex work like this, it's hard to deny that they are indeed on the cutting edge of a gold mine.
    I can't speak for the OF platform personally, but patreon (which I do back a few YouTube channels on) strikes me as a very similar platform on a parallel plane. The success of Patreon has been enormous and YouTubers regularly generate vast sums of money therefrom, for fundamentally the same reasons as Only Fans has been incredibly successful.

    Now, this is normally the part where I go into a discussion about how this is relevant to candidates in interviews... but, honestly, I would personally bring up other things. As much as platforms like OnlyFans do raise a really interesting discussion, the fact remains that us Brits are pretty prudish, and you would be taking a real risk of someone thinking the discussion wasn't suitable for the occasion by bringing it up in an interview (whether that's right or wrong!).

    Nevertheless, I would be really interested to hear more people's opinions about the wider discussion at play here!
     

    Alison C

    Esteemed Member
    Premium Member
    Forum Winner
  • Nov 27, 2019
    76
    151
    This was a really interesting article to read for several reasons (going to flag off the bet that neither of these reasons are very law firm related per se):
    1. From a commercial perspective, sites like OnlyFans and Cameo seem to be creating a new space/market within social media. Social media has in essence allowed us to be closer to a celebrity's life than anyone thought was possible around some 6-10 years ago. I mean Elon Musk and his wife Grimes announced their baby's name on Twitter, then there's famous pop singer Jason Derulo whose letting TikTok decide his soon to be born baby's name. Cameo takes this one step further by allowing fans to pay celebrities for a video chat, a birthday message or a small shout out. I think these platforms have taken what has previously been a very closed off industry and made it more open. There is a huge amount of power in both the hands of fans and celebrities alike. Where previously PR agencies, brands, music labels etc. set the value of the talent that walked through their doors, platforms like this allow the individual to set their worth and see if their fans agree. Sign on agreements and partnership/sponsorship agreements, probably look very different today than a few years ago even.
    2. I think the rise of platforms like this is indicative of a shift in what we value as a society. We respond well to celebrities who open up their lives to us online because we can we see them as closer to our own lifestyles, concerns etc. This is probably why many companies that work with celebrities and influencers tend to select a range of them i.e. celebrities with huge followings, influencers (the really famous ones that have reached an almost traditional celebrity like status) and then micro-influencers - smaller followings, the ones that seem more down to earth and most importantly reachable. I think its important to remember that it isn't just consumer brands that enlist celebrities and influencers, the UK government was paying Love Island stars late last year to remind people about the importance of getting vaccinated. During the recent US elections, Mike Bloomberg invested significantly in influencer marketing, Andrew Yang's campaign reportedly paid for memes to be created, and of course who can forget Bernie Sanders infamous (and in my opinion rather adorable) friendship with Cardi B. Already in the US, the FTC has begun regulating influencer marketing and influencer conduct in general. Let's not forget that influencers have also created an entirely new industry. Influencer marketing firms that global companies regularly outsource the job of selecting influencers and tracking their performance too.
    Curious to hear anyone else's thoughts on OnlyFans and other similar platforms (Patreon, Cameo etc.). I haven't touched on this here myself but the article does discuss the need to safeguard users/viewers from widespread sex work in general (since this is what OnlyFans is predominantly use for at the moment.) Any thoughts on this would also be welcome!
    The Only Fans discussion is really interesting to me - in British society in particular, we tend to be very prudish "oh no, we don't talk about those things in polite company" sort of a thing - yet we're faced with not only OF, but a number of other adult platforms, which nevertheless are extraordinarily valuable platforms and require complex commercial and legal analysis.

    In terms of why these platforms have become so successful, I agree with Dheepa that the "accessibility" factor is largely at play here. In almost all parts of society, we have a major cache to celebrity and celebrity status and this is no different in the world of adult platforms and Internet pornography - people admire celebrities and also want to feel closer to them. Regardless of one's outlook on the moral and social values attached to platforms which facilitate sex work like this, it's hard to deny that they are indeed on the cutting edge of a gold mine.
    I can't speak for the OF platform personally, but patreon (which I do back a few YouTube channels on) strikes me as a very similar platform on a parallel plane. The success of Patreon has been enormous and YouTubers regularly generate vast sums of money therefrom, for fundamentally the same reasons as Only Fans has been incredibly successful.

    Now, this is normally the part where I go into a discussion about how this is relevant to candidates in interviews... but, honestly, I would personally bring up other things. As much as platforms like OnlyFans do raise a really interesting discussion, the fact remains that us Brits are pretty prudish, and you would be taking a real risk of someone thinking the discussion wasn't suitable for the occasion by bringing it up in an interview (whether that's right or wrong!).

    Nevertheless, I would be really interested to hear more people's opinions about the wider discussion at play here!
    Great discussion points both. I am wondering how OF will change once we are out of lockdown - will people still have the sort of time they need to make the most of their membership? At a financial level it does compare favourably with a monthly gym subscription (!), and the concept clearly holds a lot of appeal, judging by the sheer numbers and dramatic growth. That is the accessibility @Dheepa points out. I haven't looked into any data on gender imbalance either in subscribers or contributors; nor into how the content is regulated. I did read that a lot of accounts are taken down each month when the OF team flag them, so they are claiming to keep an eye on things.

    I'm not entirely clear how OF TV is going to work - I understand that it's to develop the idea of exclusive behind-the-scenes access but whether or not the expansion succeeds has yet to be seen.

    Regarding interview fodder, I agree it's a sensitive discussion subject, but all the more reason to think about the commercial aspects ahead of time, to avoid digging any holes for yourself - and potentially to have a view ready to express if needed. There is some overlap with classic online sex sites such as PornHub (probably best avoided at most interviews), but the intersection with Patreon (noted by @Jacob Miller) is an easier one to look at. Even the fact that OF sits somewhere between the two is of interest - going forward, that slightly blurred market position could be a strength as well as a weakness. Another aspect to consider in a media or tech-focused interview is why OF is clearly working where American short-form streaming platform Quibi failed. The content of Quibi, while short-lived, was far more traditional. There is plenty to say about the rivalry between the other short-form platforms which now include Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, plus the current popularity of the less visual but trendier Clubhouse. Somehow all of these have mushroomed in the past decade and more, leaving us with a very different set of options.
     
    Last edited:

    Jacob Miller

    Legendary Member
    Future Trainee
    Forum Team
  • Feb 15, 2020
    793
    2,156
    Great discussion points both. I am wondering how OF will change once we are out of lockdown - will people still have the sort of time they need to make the most of their membership? At a financial level it does compare favourably with a monthly gym subscription (!), and the concept clearly holds a lot of appeal, judging by the sheer numbers and dramatic growth. That is the accessibility @Dheepa points out. I haven't looked into any data on gender imbalance either in subscribers or contributors; nor into how the content is regulated. I did read that a lot of accounts are taken down each month when the OF team flag them, so they are claiming to keep an eye on things.

    I'm not entirely clear how OF TV is going to work - I understand that it's to develop the idea of exclusive behind-the-scenes access but whether or not the expansion succeeds has yet to be seen.

    Regarding interview fodder, I agree it's a sensitive discussion subject, but all the more reason to think about the commercial aspects. There is some overlap with classic online sex sites such as PornHub (probably best avoided at most interviews), but the intersection with Patreon (noted by @Jacob Miller) is an easier one to look at. Even the fact that OF sits somewhere between the two is of interest - going forward, that slightly blurred market position could be a strength as well as a weakness. Another aspect to consider in a media or tech-focused interview is why OF is clearly working where American short-form streaming platform Quibi failed. The content of Quibi, while short-lived, was far more traditional. There is plenty to say about the rivalry between the other short-form platforms which now include Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, plus the current popularity of the less visual but trendier Clubhouse. Somehow all of these have mushroomed in the past decade and more, leaving us with a very different set of options.
    I'll be interested to see how OF and other paid adult platforms perform in the long run, to be honest.

    The pandemic stopped in-person dating and romantic rendezvous dead in the water, and combined with the other areas where people weren't spending due to lockdown (gyms, dates, restaurants, going out etc), I think a lot of singles have been more willing to throw money at a perceived "second best". I have to be completely honest and say that i don't see a huge longevity - certainly not at the current level of growth and value - for OF and other paid adult content platforms when things open up and normal dating activities resume.

    I think OF etc need to be very wary of counting their chickens before they hatch.
     
    • 🤝
    Reactions: Alison C

    Dheepa

    Legendary Member
    Future Trainee
    Forum Team
  • Jan 20, 2019
    696
    1,842
    Great discussion points both. I am wondering how OF will change once we are out of lockdown - will people still have the sort of time they need to make the most of their membership? At a financial level it does compare favourably with a monthly gym subscription (!), and the concept clearly holds a lot of appeal, judging by the sheer numbers and dramatic growth. That is the accessibility @Dheepa points out. I haven't looked into any data on gender imbalance either in subscribers or contributors; nor into how the content is regulated. I did read that a lot of accounts are taken down each month when the OF team flag them, so they are claiming to keep an eye on things.

    I'm not entirely clear how OF TV is going to work - I understand that it's to develop the idea of exclusive behind-the-scenes access but whether or not the expansion succeeds has yet to be seen.

    Regarding interview fodder, I agree it's a sensitive discussion subject, but all the more reason to think about the commercial aspects ahead of time, to avoid digging any holes for yourself - and potentially to have a view ready to express if needed. There is some overlap with classic online sex sites such as PornHub (probably best avoided at most interviews), but the intersection with Patreon (noted by @Jacob Miller) is an easier one to look at. Even the fact that OF sits somewhere between the two is of interest - going forward, that slightly blurred market position could be a strength as well as a weakness. Another aspect to consider in a media or tech-focused interview is why OF is clearly working where American short-form streaming platform Quibi failed. The content of Quibi, while short-lived, was far more traditional. There is plenty to say about the rivalry between the other short-form platforms which now include Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, plus the current popularity of the less visual but trendier Clubhouse. Somehow all of these have mushroomed in the past decade and more, leaving us with a very different set of options.

    Personally I think OF is here to stay and might even completely edge out the traditional porn industry over time. I think the one edge OF will always have is the personal factor. People pay for personalised content, whether that's pics or videos or whatever, from their favourite creators. The other thing is OF attracts the average person to create content as a side hustle, so again very individual personalised content as opposed to a huge celebrity in thousands of different videos on sites like PornHub. I think from a purely financial perspective it would make sense to pay a smaller fee for content from people you enjoy rather than a larger monthly subscription to a generic site. Which brings me to my next point on customer behaviour in general. There's a huge emphasis these days on offering customers a bespoke experience - it's part of the reason huge department stores have spent thousands investing in opening cafe, gyms etc within stores. I'm also thinking of the fast fashion industry here - sure the average consumer takes climate change far more seriously, but moving away from fast fashion means more limited releases, more exclusivity, more of that bespoke offering. OF are in a great place to capitalise on this trend.

    I actually follow a couple of astrologers on Twitter (bit rogue I know but I love astrology) who use OF to offer paid horoscope readings etc - so while it does seem impossible for OF to break out of the sex related content hole its dug itself into, there's a chance that with the right marketing and perhaps incentivising big names in other industries to create content on there, that it could indeed become a rival to Patreon.