Intimacy takes its toll. And OnlyFans is making big money out of it

May 7, 2021

ccording to data released by the Financial Times, the adult entertainment website OnlyFans "exploded" during the COVID-19 pandemic and reached an impressive 120 million users and 1 million creators. In addition, last year, turnover grew 553%, exceeding £ 281 million, and profit jumped from £ 6 million to £ 52 million.

But what’s OnlyFans about? How does it work?

Created in England in 2016, the site works as a pay-per-view of sensual and sexual content, although it embraces other purposes. The user registers for free and access photos and videos from a celebrity, influencers, and anonymous channels, as in any network. The difference is that much of the access is paid.

A fan pays a monthly subscription, ranging from U$ 5 to U$ 50, to access the content creator's channel, which gets 80%. In an article published by The New York Times, a UK influencer said she received U$ 52.000 in one month with her channel. To date, since it went live, the company has moved more than U$ 3 billion.

It is not by chance that the American magazine Time chose the platform as one of the 100 most influential companies in the world in its ranking published in 2021.

OnlyFans is monetizing human connection, in various ways, and on a large scale, says the publication.

Since its birth, the platform was used by those who shared erotic content. The sensual photos still represent a large part of the material published there. But the popularity of the app and the lack of opportunities in the job market have brought other types of content creators. Physical education teachers, singers, dancers, and even celebrities are on the platform charging monthly fees to their followers.

OnlyFans, in a way, made it possible for any simple mortal to become the owner of their own “Netflix”, obtaining a recurring revenue.

The business has become so promising and easy to monetize that even well-positioned stars in the entertainment industry have joined the platform. Actress Bella Thorne (the first to earn U$ 1 million in just 24 hours), stylist Rebecca Minkoff, and rappers Cardi B, Tyga, and Chris Brown are among the celebrities who have already joined the platform.

These celebrities have the advantage of having a base of important followers on other social networks, such as Instagram. And they used their accounts to promote OnlyFans, posting teasers and asking fans to spend their money on content subscriptions.

The strategy was so explored that it caught the attention of those responsible for moderating content on Mark Zuckerberg's network and today the practice is barred. The way was to use tools like Linktree, which adds external links.

OnlyFans X Porn Industry

OnlyFans is not 100% porn, but that's how it got recognized. A wave of actors and actresses chose to disclose their sex work (from nudes to explicit videos) and get paid for it, leaving aside free porn sites.

The app revolutionized the mainstream porn industry. In the industry, producers generally pay artists a flat fee for content. So, when a video became a blockbuster, the artist did not profit from its success. OnlyFans allows creators to monetize their content based on the success it makes, but also leveraging followers on social networks. The more people see it, the more the creator earns.

This is revolutionary as it gives content creators most of the money, but it also allows full control over the published content.  

Now, with the 2020 results, the company could reach a multi-billion dollar market value if it decided to go public on the British stock exchange. However, Tim Stokely, the company's CEO, does not talk about plans. He just says that the focus is on expanding the user base in Latin America and the rest of Europe. The expectation is to profit £ 300 million in the next fiscal year.

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