OnlyFans has been putting a lot of effort into upcycling its image from an adult content subscription platform to a Patreon-like home for all kinds of creators, but it’s far from moving away from them as users. Today CEO Ami Gan of the platform confirmed that adult content will still have a home on the site in five years, and those creators can continue to make a living on it.
The confirmation, made today on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, is notable because of the rocky relationship OnlyFans has had with adult creators. Last year, the company announced it would ban adult content on the site after pressure from card payment companies and efforts it reportedly was making to raise outside funding. Then it abruptly suspended the decision less than a week later after an outcry from users.
Now it’s also starting to see some new fronts of potentially formidable competition: TikTok earlier this week announced that it would be introducing adult-only livestreams as it raised the age requirement for TikTok Live.
OnlyFans has at the same time been making an effort to position itself as more than just a platform for NSFW content and that NSFW is being ring-fenced in a more responsible way. Its top execs like to use the more general euphemism of “spicy” these days to refer to the work you find on there, and they like to talk about emerging categories on the platform like cooking and fitness. Gan also noted that it’s working with the wider community of lawmakers and others to ensure that adult content is only being viewed by those who are legally allowed to do so.
Yet it hasn’t made a firm assurance in how it plans to serve the adult market longer term. Today’s comments quietly confirm that it will.
The area remains a sensitive subject though. Execs at the company remain guarded on any specifics that speak to how lucrative that business is. On stage today, Gan and strategy head Keily Blair skirted questions on just how much the company makes from adult content creators.
“We’d have to look at every single transaction on the platform and assign it,” explained Gan, “and we’re not collecting [that] data.” Gan was previously the company’s CMO.
“Like, the better question is, why is that important to people?” snapped Blair, who joined the company in January 2022 and comes from working in “contentious data privacy law” and related legal areas.
The company operates on an 80/20 revenue share model, where creators get 80% and OnlyFans takes a 20% cut. In any case, it’s not clear it needs to worry about outside funding.
OnlyFans is based out of the U.K., and earlier this year, it reported that usage of the platform exploded in 2021. Creators on its platform now number 2.1 million while “fans” number 188 million. The audience of fans is growing at a faster rate, 128% versus 34% for creators. Those creators earned $4 billion in that year, and OnlyFans’ profit was $433 million, up from just $61 million the year before. Revenues were $932 million, up 160%, over the year.
Figures (via PitchBook) estimate that the company is on track to make $2.5 billion in revenues this year.
Update, 10/19/22, 6:20 pm et. There are 2.1 million creators, not billion.