OnlyFans, the platform for sex workers and celebrities to sell subscription content, has exploded during the pandemic, with transactions increasing sevenfold to £ 1.7 billion.
The group’s popularity exploded during lockdowns, from less than 20 million users before Covid-19 hit to over 120 million, as annoyed consumers line up for entertainment and performers out of work would come forward to provide it.
The service allows content creators such as fitness instructors, musicians and erotic stars to sell music videos, messages and articles directly to fans who pay between $ 5 and $ 50 per month.
OnlyFans’ evolution into the mainstream was cemented last year when singer Beyoncé referenced her in a song.
The UK-based company said its revenue rose 553% to £ 281million in November. OnlyFans takes a 20 percent reduction in payments; the net revenue figure was depressed by a tax ruling. Pre-tax profits rose from £ 6 million to £ 53million, according to the company, whose accounts are due on Monday at Companies House.
The revenue size and growth rate suggest OnlyFans could have a valuation of billions of pounds if it goes public, making it one of the UK’s leading tech companies.
But the Middlesex-based company remains tightly held. Managing Director Tim Stokely, 37, and his father Guy, 77, a former Barclays investment banker, created the website in 2016.
Tim had spotted a loophole for social media influencers to monetize content other than through sponsored ads or promotional offers.
It was the sixth business started by his son that Guy, now CFO of OnlyFans, had supported and, he said, he vowed it would be the last: “The money was refunded to me at the end of the year. We never bothered to borrow other money and never bothered to increase the capital of the company. “
The company also employs Tim’s brother, Thomas, as the COO.
In 2018, Leonid Radvinsky, an entrepreneur behind the MyFreeCams porn site, bought at least 75% of OnlyFans’ parent company, Fenix International. The Stokelys declined to give a figure for the value of the deal, but said Radvinsky brought “a lot of expertise” and shared “a similar vision for the platform.”
The success has encouraged the Stokelys to expand the audience of OnlyFans by launching OFTV, which is available on platforms such as Apple TV and Roku.
Number of OnlyFans Creators Earning Over $ 1 Million
“Our job is to constantly think of new features that can help creators interact with their fans,” said Tim.
To boost viewings, the company produces a program called Unlocked, which “dives deep into the personal life” of the creators of OnlyFans who, in addition to sex workers, increasingly include influencers from the world of fitness and music.
The pair declined to name the biggest earners, but said the platform has more than 300 creators making more than $ 1 million.
Among those who have recently joined the platform are celebrities such as American rapper Cardi B and England rugby player Chris Robshaw, who are looking to monetize their vast social networks. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff joined OnlyFans this year to show off behind-the-scenes footage from New York Fashion Week.
Thousands of unemployed students and freelancers have also turned to the website for income during the pandemic, prompting activists to criticize the site that the site has shifted the boundaries of what constitutes work. sex.
Meanwhile, some creators have complained that their accounts have been frozen without notice. “We have no plans to shut down Adult Creators,” Tim said.
Her father added that the company had 300 words that trigger an inappropriate use alert, including references to drugs and weapons. The company closes about 30 accounts per month, out of a total of about 2 million.
The pair would not comment on future plans to sell or go public, saying only that the company is focused on growth, particularly in Latin America and continental Europe. OnlyFans expects pre-tax profits to exceed £ 300million in the next financial year.
The company, which has grown from around 150 employees before the pandemic to more than 400, is embroiled in a legal battle with UK tax authorities over a change in VAT ruling that left it with a tax bill of 14 million pounds she paid but continues. to compete.