(Bloomberg) — As Cardi B prepared the release for her new song “WAP,” she checked off all the usual components of her promotional plan, including magazine covers, Instagram posts and a raunchy YouTube video. Then she added one more: OnlyFans, a site where people charge admirers for special access to videos and photos.
OnlyFans is closely associated with adult models. Many of its most popular creators are attractive women who use it to titillate men willing to pay a few extra dollars for a particular image. But Cardi B is part of a small but growing number of more traditional celebrities turning to OnlyFans to make a little extra revenue, raise money for charity or connect with followers in a new way.
In her first material for the site, posted on Aug. 12, Cardi B uploaded a video from behind the scenes of her photo shoot for the cover of Elle magazine. A few weeks later, she shared footage from the making of her “WAP” music video. The post went on to generate a couple thousand likes on OnlyFans and almost $1,000 in tips.
“When Beyoncé rapped about us on the ‘Savage Remix’ and Cardi B joined the platform, that’s when we really started to see the growth accelerate,” said Tim Stokely, 37, the company’s founder and chief executive officer. According to Stokely, OnlyFans is adding as many as 500,000 users a day and paying out more than $200 million a month to its creators.
Along the way, OnlyFans has grown into one of the biggest media businesses hiding in plain sight. The company has 85 million users, upward of 1 million creators, and will generate more than $2 billion in sales this year, of which it keeps about 20%. That puts the site on track for $400 million in annual net sales — dwarfing Patreon, a platform devoted to helping creative types monetize their work, which is valued at more than $1.2 billion. “OnlyFans is revolutionizing creator and fan relations,” Stokely said.
What OnlyFans customers crave, said Stokely, is a level of interaction and intimacy with the creator that they don’t typically get on Instagram or Twitter, where celebrities tend to share the most manicured version of themselves. But to keep gaining more mainstream appeal, the company will likely have to shake off its reputation as a den of online debauchery and assuage safety concerns about the site.
Stokely founded OnlyFans after creating a series of lesser-known online businesses. In January 2011, he created GlamWorship, a site specializing in a sexual fetish known as “financial domination,” in which a submissive client offers up gifts or money to a dominant partner. Over time, GlamWorship customers increasingly gave suggestions on what they’d like to see from the site’s several hundred models, many of whom started to accept custom video requests through Twitter.
Stokely soon realized he could combine the two ideas: creating a site where fans could request videos and pornographers could satisfy their admirers’ specific fetishes.
That led to Custom4U, a service on which customers could order tailor-made videos. Though anyone could create or order a video, adult models and porn stars selling customized content were the most avid users, Stokely said at the time. In 2014, Stokely promoted the site during an appearance at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, the industry’s largest trade show.
“Basically, Joe Blokes would pay, say, $100 for his own personal movie, where the star is saying his name and doing what he wants,” Stokely told HuffPost. “The model can name her own price … She logs in and could say, ‘I want to receive $100 for a five-minute video and $200 for a 10-minute clip,’ or even more if it’s a fetish clip.”
The next company he founded, 121with, was a marketplace where tradespeople — such as plumbers or real estate agents — could sell their expertise via an audio or video call. Custom4U and 121with, Stokely said, allowed him “to gain a much better understanding of how creator-fan relationships worked.”
Stokely launched OnlyFans in 2016. Two years later, he sold a majority stake in the business to Leonid Radvinsky, a Chicago-based Internet entrepreneur with a background in adult entertainment and direct marketing. In 2004, Microsoft Corp. sued Radvinsky for allegedly sending millions of deceptive emails to Hotmail customers. Lawyers for Radvinsky responded that the allegations were without merit, and the case was later dismissed. He declined to be interviewed for this article.
According to Stokely, Radvinsky initially reached out to the business via email. As it turned out, they both shared a similar vision for the site, which included building out new features and attracting a diverse community of contributors. Radvinsky is now a director of the company along with Tim’s father Guy Stokely, a retired investment banker. “I thought, ‘What if you could build a platform that works like these social platforms already out there but with a key difference being the payment button?’” Tim Stokely said.
Its first successful creators were primarily alluring women. Jem Wolfie, a fitness model and chef in Australia, quickly earned over $1 million on the site by sharing spicy videos and photos of herself (Wolfie did not respond to an interview request). Another popular account, Aellagirl, is run by Aella Jones, a devout Christian turned web siren. New subscribers are greeted by a naked photo of her captioned, “welcome to the cult, we have boobies.”
“I like that it only takes 20%, which is much lower than the prior industry standard of a 50% minimum,” Jones wrote via email. “I like that it’s much more strategic and disconnected than live camming was; live camming requires very high energy, personable charm, whereas OnlyFans really rewards things like good marketing ability and clever pricing techniques. I also get to interact with my fans throughout the day for very low effort, instead of having to put a lot of time in to get ready to do a full ‘show.’”
Many of the top creators spend a lot of time communicating directly with fans. Visitors are encouraged to provide a tip if they want a personalized message.
Stokely has tried for years to get all types of creators to use the site. “It works as a great bolt-on to free social media,” he said. “One of our selling pitches is, ‘Look, you’ve got a million followers on Instagram, if just 1% of them pay for Only Fans….’” The average creator charges about $12 per subscriber. By Stokely’s math, if 1% of Kim Kardashian’s Instagram followers paid for OnlyFans, she’d make $23 million a month on the site.
Until this year, the business was growing at a steady pace. The pandemic has boosted it to new heights thanks to people who are out of work and looking for a new way to make money at a time when everyone is stuck at home and desperate to be entertained. Strippers and porn stars eager to make up for their lost earnings have flocked to OnlyFans, while regular strip-club customers have found a new place to get their jolt of excitement.
But it isn’t just the adult entertainers who have given OnlyFans a try. Musicians The Dream and Swae Lee have used it to promote new music. Actress Bella Thorne hopped on the site and made $1 million in one day. Drag queen Shea Couleé has filmed herself doing makeup before performances. And social media personality YesJulz has used it to share fitness workouts.
After hearing about the service from some friends, Cardi B, a former stripper and reality-TV star turned multiplatinum rapper, reached out to her record label and to OnlyFans about setting up an account. “She had a vision for it,” said Julie Greenwald, the co-head of Atlantic Records. “For her, she thinks, ‘Who are my fans and how do I make sure I am delivering?’”
Stokely is now rushing to capitalize on the site’s growing popularity. The company, which is based in London, is setting up new offices in Asia and Latin America. It is also planning to create a new online streaming service called OFTV, which will feature exclusive content such as creator-driven series and personal interviews with OnlyFans personalities. And how will OnlyFans appeal to mainstream performers who might blanch at the thought of working with a site associated with adult entertainment?
“I’d just repeat that since we launched, we’ve always welcomed all creators,” said Stokely. “The creator community is incredibly diverse. There are just so many creators from so many genres, whether it’s gaming, fitness, fashion, beauty.”
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
How To Harness The Hot New Social Media App Clubhouse To Build Your Brand – Forbes
At age 27, Jessica Williamson already has established a six-figure business, Ete Swimwear. While running her company, she also coaches other female e-commerce entrepreneurs on how to scale and grow their businesses. Recently, Williamson received an invitation to join Clubhouse, one of the newest social media platforms.
After learning that Clubhouse can connect you with some of the world’s most prominent business and industry leaders via live voice interaction, Williamson decided to give it a try. She quickly discovered that the app indeed enabled her to speak directly with numerous movers and shakers. So, she jumped in fully. In just two days, she already had gained hundreds of new followers – not just on Clubhouse, but on other social media platforms, as well.
Here is what Williamson has learned about Clubhouse so far.
1. Clubhouse is an authentic way to interact with famous people.
Everyone is on Clubhouse to give value. When I first joined, I entered a “room” dedicated to business growth. On the “stage” were Grant Cardone, Tiffany Haddish, Jim Kwik and several USA Shark Tank investors – people with millions of followers! Then, I asked and was granted access to the “stage” with them.
Because Clubhouse links directly to your Twitter and Instagram accounts, there are no DM functions or chat functions, comments or likes. The only way to interact with people through Clubhouse is via voice. That means you get to ask questions, seek advice, and tell people exactly what you have to offer.
Within minutes on the app, I got to speak directly to famous people, and it was all completely live. It was like a normal phone call. It was insane! I was speaking with the biggest business leaders in the world. I was blown away. Hearing people’s real voices definitely helps to build connection.
2. Clubhouse helps potential followers understand the value you can offer.
In order to soak up the value you can get from the platform, put yourself out there as much as you can. Because of my experience in podcasting and doing Instagram live, I’m more than comfortable putting my hand up and hoping to be invited onto the “stage.” And I have been. It has proven a great opportunity to share my business insights. Just being on stage got me 60 new followers. Even Tiffany Haddish followed me! (I doubled checked; it’s not a fake account.)
Since the Clubhouse app links directly to Instagram, it quickly builds your follower count. In fact, I gained 200 new Instagram followers after just two days on Clubhouse. I also got about 50 new direct messages (DMs). In the past, I’d be lucky to get one or two DMs each month from people I don’t follow. DMs are usually a more meaningful way to connect with followers, as they ask serious questions and genuinely want your expertise.
3. Getting in early means more opportunities.
There’s so much opportunity on this app right now because you have to be invited by someone who is already on Clubhouse. Each person currently receives only a few invites, so it’s still super exclusive. However, it is growing exponentially.
As a first mover, it feels very meaningful to me to be on Clubhouse, so I am making the most of it. I’m certain that as time goes on, we may not be able to access the featured speakers as easily as we can now, because the rooms will become crowded. This will mean fewer opportunities to get on to the stage and speak to the celebrities. I’ve therefore been spending a lot of time on the app to make sure I’m getting the most out of it.
4. You can learn how to use Clubhouse by listening in on different “rooms.”
Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how the app worked when I joined. However, upon jumping into a few groups and putting myself out there, I got the hang of it very quickly. In several groups, people were chatting about all the functions of the app and how Clubhouse actually works, so that was really handy.
5. Quick tips on how to use Clubhouse.
· Round table discussions work best – not a hierarchy of someone speaking. When people can join in and speak, they stick around!
· Have as many moderators as possible to create a larger room.
· Raise your hand to ask moderators to let you speak. You can leave a room any time by “peacing out.”
· Your bio shows up as SEO, so it is key to communicate what value can you offer in the first three lines.
· Showing up and actually participating in groups is vital. I asked one question and gained five to ten followers.
· Co-hosting groups is critical, as well. Partner with people to host rooms on a certain topic.
· You need to reset the room a few times for all the new people that have joined.
· A good length for a program is 60 to 90 minutes.
· Ask people to DM you a word. For example, “DM me for freebie” or whatever so you can send them the link to your resources.
Bernie Sanders' inauguration meme gets social media attention from sports world – Sporting News
Bernie Sanders has a knack for online stardom.
The senator from Vermont is already the subject of one well-known meme — we’ll get to that in a second — and on Wednesday, thanks to his inauguration outfit, socially-distanced spot and demeanor at the Capitol, he earned another one.
First off, props to Sanders who was sporting the same jacket from the original “I am once again asking” meme. If the jacket still fits and is in good shape from 2019, why not keep wearing it?
So aside from the coat, he’s got a new meme thanks to a photo that popped up of the 79-year-old senator sitting in a folding chair socially distanced from everyone. He sat in said coat, with his arms crossed and warm mittens on his hands and his legs crossed — and, of course, he had on a mask.
Following COVID-19 protocols, Sanders became a social media sensation once again and the sports world was quick to follow suit as well.
Media Beat: January 21, 2021 – FYI Music News
TPX now representing AdLarge Media’s cabana portfolio in Canada
The Podcast Exchange (TPX), Canadian’s top podcast ad agency, expanded its brand dominance this week with an exclusive agreement to represent US-based AdLarge Media’s cabana portfolio for exclusive Canadian ad sales representation.
“We are simply delighted to be cabana podcasts’ strategic partner in Canada,” said TPX’s President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marie Heimrath. “cabana is our latest international signing and supports our business strategy to work with global publishers in partnership with advertisers to harness the full potential of the Canadian podcast audience.”
TPX was co-founded by Jean-Marie Heimrath and Jeff Ulster to offer consulting and co-production to ad sales and IP licensing to media and in particular the fast-growing podcast industry here in Canada. The privately held company took a quantum leap in Q1 2020 when Montreal music and media tech firm Stingray acquired a 30% interest in the firm.
For the purposes of the 2021 Maclean’s Power List (below), we canvassed the landscape for Canadians with qualities we think represent power in a time of transformative change. By dint of their actions, words or character, they force us to watch, listen and learn. They are moving the needle in their chosen fields, and in many cases the wider world. Importantly, they are good-faith actors. History may judge them wrong, but they act in the belief that doing so will result in a better world.
You may notice therefore a shortage of power brokers in the conventional mould—bank CEOs, cabinet ministers, scions, high-powered lobbyists. For this list, warming a seat in the establishment doesn’t cut it. Nor does preserving the status quo. Nor, certainly, does exercising power for the mere sake of disruption. (Peddlers of conspiracy and disinformation could be thought of as influential; you will not find them in this ranking.)
Executive Director Daniel Bernhard, Chair of the Board Aritha van Herk, and Vice-Chair Raymonde Lavoie present at the CRTC Hearings regarding the CBC license renewal, January 18, 2021.
Google and Facebook received a growing share of the federal government’s advertising budget after the Trudeau Liberals took power, as Ottawa quadrupled how much it spent each year on ads from the American web giants between 2015 and 2019.
Responding to the figures, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus said that, “at the very least,” Ottawa should ensure sales tax is charged on advertisements purchased from Google and Facebook. – Alex Balllingall, The Star
Canada is ushering in some new blood too with François-Philippe Champagne replacing Navdeep Bains as minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), thanks to a recent cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As the new minister responsible for the telecom file, Champagne may bring a difference in tone and possibly direction.
We canvassed some Canadian telecom industry watchers we like about these developments. Here’s a summary of what they expect on both sides of the border over the next few years. – Peter Nowak, TekSavvy blog
Netflix reported that its paid streaming subscribers rose to 203.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter, up 23% from a year ago.
The streamer said the new season of The Crown drew more than 100 million households in its first 28 days, exceeding the total for its prior seasons.
The Midnight Sky, starring and directed by George Clooney was Netflix’s biggest movie in the quarter with 72 million households watching in its first four weeks. The film Over the Moon attracted 43-million-member households and Netflix projected that We Can Be Heroes will reach 53 million households in its first four weeks. – Jon Lafayette, Broadcast + Cable
COVID-19 could shutter more than 200,000 Canadian businesses forever, CFIB says – CBC.ca
Group forms to support women in politics in Grey-Bruce – Shoreline Beacon
Independent firm completes review into claims of 'toxic' environment at Rideau Hall – CBC.ca
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