Q&A With CAM4's Dave Strauss
CAM4’s Dave Strauss is matter of fact about working in the adult entertainment space — he loves the biz.
“It’s secretly been a dream of mine to work in the adult industry,” Strauss told XBIZ World in this Executive Seat Q&A interview.
Strauss, whose official title is media buyer at CAM4, said that his position entails a bit more than that. He also does biz dev for the adult webcam company, as well as event planning.
Just days after finishing up the adult industry’s big January convention and awards season, we caught up with Strauss to learn more about him and one of the Internet’s largest live cam communities.
XBIZ: How did you get yourself involved with CAM4? And what do you do for the company?
Strauss: I answered an ad online for a marketing support role. When they called back, I was told the role was filled, but that another position was open that I might be better suited for. On the phone they told me it was for an adult company. Luckily I was able to keep my composure while trying to contain my excitement. Good thing it wasn’t a Skype call or they would have seen me fist pumping. It’s secretly been a dream of mine to work in the adult industry. I was initially hired as a media buyer, however over the past year my role has evolved to include event planning and to a certain extent business development.
XBIZ: How did CAM4 become such a big player in the live cams arena?
Strauss: The story of CAM4 goes back 20 years, long before CAM4 was CAM4, when a couple of bouncers working in the red light district of Amsterdam decided to install cameras in a strip club and live stream them on this thing called the internet. The feed was grainy and choppy and was barely visible through the green tint of the night vision lens, but people couldn’t get enough. Fast forward to today and the success of CAM4 can be attributed to the vision of our founders and our dedication to performers. Without the performers, there is no CAM4. Through coaching in multiple languages, top notch customer support, a referral program and a performer training center with articles and videos, we offer all the tools a performer needs to succeed on CAM4.
XBIZ: When it comes to live cams, what do consumers demand these days?
Strauss: Live cams or otherwise, people are looking for an authentic experience. Live camming is about more than just sex, in fact it has very little to do with sex. If you ask most performers, they would probably tell you their fans spend about five minutes cumming and the rest of the time talking about their lives and developing a relationship with the performer. It’s really about establishing a meaningful connection with another person, CAM4 is simply the catalyst.
XBIZ: What do the cam models want? How many CAM4 performers are there? And how much can the top-performers actually earn?
Strauss: First of all, we do not refer to our broadcasters as models, they do not work for us, they work for themselves. We prefer to refer to them as performers because they are putting on a show for you. Financial independence, freedom of expression, flexibility, acceptance, among others, all factor into someone’s decision to become performer. But the fact remains, even for performers, an authentic, meaningful connection with their fans is a large part of why they choose to cam. Top cam performers can earn as much as a C-level executive, six figures is not unheard of.
XBIZ: How does social media come into play with CAM4 and its models?
Strauss: Social media is extremely important for CAM4 and our performers. As a performer, social media platforms such a Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are a great way to build an audience. A performer can use social media to remind fans of when they’re online, to run a contest or giveaway, to engage with customer support or to share content like pics and videos. It’s yet another facilitator of that authentic experience I mentioned earlier. It makes the experience more personal. One of my favorite new platforms for performers, 2Hot4FB.com and 2Gay4FB.com, actually pay performers to post NSFW pics on the site, while also allowing them to back link to their cam profiles and social media accounts. It a great workaround for platforms like Facebook, who have strict guidelines around nudity. Self-promotion is the key when it comes to social media.
XBIZ: Some mention that virtual reality combined with haptic technology as the next big thing for the online adult and live cams industries. What are your thoughts on VR’s future with live cams?
Strauss: Whenever someone brings up sex and VR, I’m reminded of a scene from the film “Demolition Man,” when Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone’s characters have creepy, awkward VR sex. Thankfully the real thing is nothing like that, in fact the real thing is incredible.
Live VR camming in my opinion is a game changer, just look at what companies like VRTube.xxx are doing. They are literally pushing the limits of reality. The first company who can connect a live cam to a VR headset to a teledildonics device, all while suspending the user’s disbelief long enough for them to cum, will inevitably win the Internet.
That being said, at this point the technology has a long way to go. Another hurdle remains consumer adoption of the headsets. Until the audience hits critical mass, content producers will struggle to monetize their products at scale. It’s the age old dilemma of what comes first, the chicken or the egg. Should content producers invest now at a potential loss in order to stake their claim, or should they wait until the market catches up and more consumers have the ability to consume VR content in a meaningful way?
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
Strauss: I just spent the last two and a half weeks in L.A. and Vegas rubbing elbows with the likes of Keiran Lee, Scarlet Red, Marsha May, Kendra Lust and more. Two cities, 16 days, five award shows, four unforgettable parties, three diva meltdowns, two hotels, one hangover and countless new friends. There’s no such thing as a typical work day.
XBIZ: When you’re not thinking about business, what do you like to do?
Strauss: Music is my true passion. I like to write and produce, listen and go to shows. It’s a creative outlet I’m lucky to have. I also like playing video games, watching sports and spending quality time with the people I love.