Live Cam & Chat: What's Next?
The live cam and live chat business is one of the most vibrant and successful areas of online adult entertainment. It is also the most mercurial, owing to the constant improvements and breakthroughs in visual technology, mobile phone technology and interactive capability. For this reason, XBIZ World contacted various executives who have spent years in the live cam and live chat arenas, to learn their educated views on what trends are taking place right now and in the near future.
Sean Christian, Vice President of Sales for Cams.com, had this to say:
“One of the biggest things that we are seeing inside of this is the fact that people are actually looking for higher definition inside of their broadcast clients. High definition cams, by far, are more important than everything else that’s going on, and it’s usually the highest grossing vertical inside of interactive live entertainment. People are no longer looking for those scratchy bad connections from Eastern Europe. They want high bandwidth and good quality.
“I would say the other significant thing we are seeing is that more and more people are interested in chatting with cam hosts in their native language. No longer do the Germans want to chat with American cam girls. They want to chat with German girls. And Americans want to chat with English-speaking chat hosts. Before, the market was dominated by being primarily Eastern European, and this wasn’t really a relevant thing. But as high bandwidth connections are more common now globally, and people have the bandwidth to look at that better camera and to take that better audio, they want that resolution. They want that quality, and they want a native tongue to interact with. We’re now looking at more domestic cam hosts in whatever region we market to.
“As to the future, I think the interactive and virtual stuff is just shenanigans. We played with it for a decade. No one is that interested. We’ve already played around with virtual stuff and it is just not something that people are interested in. I’ve been doing this [type of business] for 10 years. Virtual is going nowhere. I might have egg on my face, but so far every company that has attempted it has abandoned it.
“I think the hottest thing coming up in the future will be Widgets on Smart TVs. [Widgets are standalone applications that can be embedded into third party sites by any user on a page. Widgets allow users to turn personal content into dynamic web applications that can be shared on websites through installed codes.] That’s absolutely where everything is going. I want to see a cam girl in my living room on my 60-inch TV in 1080p. And the reverse of that is to create a working, functional mobile application that you can see on your iPhone. It goes one way or the other. Either I want it big and in high definition where I don’t have to leave my couch, or I want to get it on my phone. Those are the two things that we are pushing forward with Cams.com.”
Leo, founder and president of MyFreeCams, one of the world’s largest adult webcam communities, had this to say about the trends in live cams and live chat:
“I’m seeing an upward trend in that things are going really well and the industry is still growing. What’s pleasing our customers is the live interaction. We like it because it can’t be pirated and it can’t be given away for free, the way that so many tube sites are. This has affected the pay video sites, but it hasn’t affected the live cam sites. I think that members are really responding to the live interaction and the spur-ofthe-moment immediacy of their interaction with the performer.
“It’s a little hard to predict what will happen in the future, but it’s interesting what is happening with 3-D. Consumers really are looking for that now in the movie theaters and in the TVs they’re buying, so it’s going to be interesting to see how 3-D affects the live webcam sites. I think that definitely will be a trend in the next year.
“A lot of toy companies are always approaching us to beta test their products. Sometimes the products are for the members and sometimes they are for the models. Sometimes the products are for both, in which they can control each other’s toys and devices. This takes the interactive experience to the next level.
“I think that mobile is another important trend and one of the challenges currently in mobile is that on the one hand you have most webcam sites operating in Flash, while on the other hand you have Apple basically saying they will not allow Flash on their iPhone and iPad devices. That’s really causing problems for a lot of sites. The Google Android system does allow Flash, but it’s still a bit funky when it’s on the phone, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see over the next year how webcam sites adapt to either not using Flash for their video delivery, or how otherwise to bring that experience to the mobile phone.
“The companies that really stay ahead of the curve and innovate the most and the fastest will come out on top.”
And finally, Yuval Kijel, Vice President of Sales for IMLive.com, provided his take on the live cam/live chat trends:
“From my point of view, the major trend is in mobile. It’s happening. It’s now. It’s here. For us it’s happening very strong. We have a few mobile products and we’re doing extremely well. The big breakthrough that everyone has been talking about is happening now.
“For us it’s always been the diversity that we have in terms of pleasing customers. I think we have the greatest diversity of all the webcam sites. Nowadays almost every company has a webcam site, but I think it’s very important for customers to find exactly what they are looking for and our diversity provides that. This is what keeps them happy and keeps them coming and in the end it’s what keeps the models coming.
“In the future I think we’ll see more and more free services. I’m not quite sure about 3-D, but everyone is talking about it. I think it’s a nice feature, but not more than that.”