Exec Seat: Q&A With Streamate's Yuval Kijel
For Streamate’s Yuval Kijel, there is nothing like being in the live cams biz, the leading vertical market in online adult entertainment.
He calls it the “real deal” that drives his adrenaline — a business that is unlike no other because of its scores of participating live models, millions of users and thousands of partners.
Kijel, who leads marketing efforts for Streamate as well as new affiliate program and white label builder Cambuilder, has worked in the live cams space for more than 10 years.
XBIZ World recently sat down with Kijel to learn more about Streamate and its new offering, as well how he’s become one of the top influential executives in the adult live cam sector.
XBIZ: What are some of the things that make Streamate stand out in the live cams biz?
KIJEL: Streamate has managed over the years to separate itself from the rest of the market, and we’ve been a market leader for quite some years now. We’ve successfully built many long-term partnerships with the biggest companies in the industry. This is easier said than done. Streamate’s white-label approach has proven itself. Streamate has spent tremendous efforts through the years on the end-user’s product. That has led to a superior product in terms of bottom-line revenue for our traffic partners and our models.
Recently Streamate decided to revamp its entire affiliate platform with the launch of Cambuilder.com, allowing more affiliates to work with Streamate and opening many options and features for our existing affiliates. Cambuilder is our new affiliate program and white-label builder, which offers a variety of payout programs for any affiliate. It also offers a smooth, friendly site builder to allow affiliates to launch a custom white label.
XBIZ: What are some of the key challenges facing live cam companies these days?
KIJEL: There are a few challenges. One is technology and bandwidth. Streamate would be able to stream the live feed much better if the bandwidth that users and models get would be better. This is obviously improving with time, but the process is slower than our technology improvement. There’s a gap there that will probably continue to exist for the next years. There’s a challenge with the ability to charge a larger audience in more countries, with local billing using alternative payments.
We specifically find it difficult to use mobile phone billing, which is widespread in some parts of the world, since the carrier rates are very high compared to other billing solutions. Since we need to pay the performers it’s posing a challenge to use carrier billing. Traffic is an ongoing challenge — how to improve it, how to optimize it, how to get more traffic, new users, and keep those traffic sources for the long run. The cam product has a potential to reach a much bigger audience. There’s no research on this but I assume we’re not exposed to even 50 percent of our potential audience.
It surprises me sometimes that people outside of the industry never heard of live cams. Being in that industry for so many years made it obvious for me. I think our greatest challenge is to bring our product to more users through more platforms and better marketing strategies.
XBIZ: How important is it to stream high definition in the cam biz?
KIJEL: It really is depending on the bandwidth of the performer and the user. Quality matters a lot, but having a steady good stream to any user matters probably more. This is why transrating the live feed is so important. This way you ensure users can see any models regardless of her streaming quality and their own bandwidth. If it was up to us, we could have stream in 1080 HD to any user; the problem is users’ and sometimes performers’ bandwidth doesn’t support that.
XBIZ: How easy is it for online companies to earn cash with Streamate?
KIJEL: It’s pretty simple. Streamate has partnered with almost all the players in the industry using our white label through Cambuilder.com, our white-label builder and affiliate program. We strongly support companies to use their own brand, and easily create a custom white label or even a network of white labels when they have more than one brand.
This way they keep their users within their own brand. Adding a white label takes a minute and once you start sending traffic we take care of generating the revenue for you, and growing the user value. We have users in our network for more than 10 years that keep spending.
Streamate is very aggressive with affiliate payouts. Affiliates can get paid based on free joins, spenders, revenue or a combination of those. The combination of PPS/CPL with revshare is new, and we recently launched it and it’s been getting a great feedback as it allows affiliates to get a bit of both worlds — an immediate payout for the traffic plus a long-term revenue share for the big whales that spend on cams. Streamate is also very flexible in the integration of cams to affiliates’ sites. We support one-click billing from the affiliates’ sites with almost any company, and of course also with affiliates using their own merchant accounts.
XBIZ: Where do the great ideas come from in your company?
KIJEL: I am a great believer in real team work and brain storming. We try to get input and ideas basically from anyone in the company, and also our partners. I frequently have discussions with partners about their ideas in regards to our products, and I can say I did get a few good ideas from that feedback. We try to keep everyone involved. Obviously the founders and executives have a large contribution but ideas come from everywhere — designers, developers, customer support, etc.
XBIZ: What’s coming up for Streamate as we move forward in the year?
KIJEL: We try to focus on improving the user experience by adding more cool features to all the sites in our network and at the same time we try to focus on spreading the product to more companies and verticals, so we get to more users.
XBIZ: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in a typical week?
KIJEL: Development is always a challenge when talking about live streaming, and that happens all the time. We constantly do development work on our webcam network and affiliate sites and on the backend. This is always challenging when you have a big company that involves many teams. On the business level we always have challenges on how to improve our communication and service to our users and our partners. We have thousands of models providing their stream to our network. The support and management of models is a great, daily challenge.
XBIZ: How important is it to make a presence at the adult industry trade shows?
KIJEL: I personally find it crucial. We have a small industry and personal relationship is very important. Going to shows is putting your face out there and being open for new opportunities. For Streamate now, after launching the new product Cambuilder for our partners, it’s even more important as we want companies and affiliate to get to know Cambuilder and its advantages. This requires a lot of marketing and leg work. I try to go to about four to five shows a year. In our biz where everyone is in a different part of the world, I find it important to go to the shows and meet our peers.
XBIZ: Can you name a person in the adult industry who has had a tremendous impact on you?
KIJEL: There’s no one specific person but rather a group of people. I have a great deal of respect to the founders of the webcam vertical. And working with most webcam veterans, it taught me a lot about the industry and how special and difficult it is to manage a webcam company. Dealing with so many moving objects — tech, models, users, employees, affiliates, traffic, etc., is a huge challenge. It’s quite incredible to see the progress of webcam from a small vertical to the leading force of this industry.
XBIZ: What are some of the things that make the live cam business exciting for you?
KIJEL: Being in the live cams almost 10 years I can say there’s nothing like it. Dealing daily with thousands of live models, millions of users, and thousands of partners, drives a lot of adrenaline. It’s a real product that’s hard to copy. Live webcams started about 15 years ago, it was very small for a few years but as the technology improved it became the leading vertical in adult, surpassing dating, paysites and even tube sites. It’s the real deal. You can’t get something more exciting than this.
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
KIJEL: I work partly from home, so those days evolve more around Skype calls, phone calls and a lot of emails back and forth. There’s daily communication with our partners regardless if I’m in the office, at home or in vacation. That’s a 24/7 thing, even in weekends, and I’m happy to be there for them. In the office days it’s more team planning, and brainstorming with different teams and other executives. I find myself working anytime of the day and any day of the week. Since the webcam biz is an ongoing service happening all the time, it’s an ongoing work.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
KIJEL: I spend time a lot of time with my family; I play tennis and love to attend sporting events. Other than this, I like being outdoors so I can enjoy our great California weather.