The Cam Space Keeps Evolving
There has been an ongoing evolution in the live cam industry, which is now almost two decades old.
There are multiple business models that have worked and continue to work in the cam space — free chat, paid private chat and cam site social networks.
The latest trend is for cam models to demand more control over their time and compensation. So we are now seeing platforms that allow the models to communicate directly with their customers and without the help of a big cam platform.
One example is our company, SkyPrivate, which since its inception has facilitated one-on-one connections directly between models and clients using Skype and allowing models to charge by the minute.
SkyPrivate facilitates the exchange of money and has offered cam models many monetization tools, namely the ability to sell custom videos and images on social networks such as Snapchat and Kik (which is the favorite for adult industry users since it provides anonymity, with no phone number required).
And because Kik messenger is very friendly with developers, our team built a tool called "Unblur" for models to be able to sell pictures inside the Kik app. This is actually a plugin for Kik. A preview can be found at UnblurApp.com.
Another trend lately is for adult companies to try to copy Snapchat and create an app that has basically the same functionality.
Our belief is to allow cam models to use Snapchat itself so they can make money from this fabulous and functional application. Again, another opportunity to make money from their existing customers.
In fact, SkyPrivate has gone one step further and just launched Membershyp.club It allows cam models to directly use Snapchat to further monetize their member base.
Many models are looking for this kind of opportunity to set up their own ecommerce site or mini store. Although we don’t have plans at the moment to do this, adult companies who can find a good looking solution to be able to legally and anonymously sell their own products will have the opportunity to get their own piece of the large and ever expanding pie known as the live cam industry.
Of course we can’t have any conversation about live cams or the adult industry in 2016 without mentioning virtual reality and interactive sex toys.
I believe that VR can be utilized in either of two ways.
It can be used as an upsell, something to be layered on top of the normal platforms and websites, that will target an additional share of the users (ones who already own the headsets) and can bring new income for all of the players, from models to studios as well as cam sites.
The second way is to make this a part of your general offering and have that competitive edge over your competition.
But this can be done only if these technologies can be integrated in the right way, so that the user’s experience is enhanced. If it isn’t done the right way, this could have the opposite effect.
Another aspect to consider is the globalization of the live cam industry. As live cams continue to grow and prosper, not only are there live cam sites that target the entire world, such as Live Jasmin, Chaturbate and ImLive, but there are other localized sites that only target local markets, such as Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Italy and others.
The worldwide sites although they have translated versions for all major languages, they tend to focus on the English speaking market. However this is done will determine the success or failure of their global operations, as they try to compete with the localized sites.
There is also a difference from a model standpoint in different parts of the world.
In Eastern Europe and Latin America, the majority of the models work from actual brick-and-mortar studios, because these are necessary to provide fast internet, modern web cams and expertise.
In the U.S., despite the fact there are studios throughout the country, the majority of the models cam from their own home, work independently and the successful ones turn it into a very lucrative career.
In Eastern Europe and Latin America most cam models keep their occupation hidden from friends and family. There it is largely taboo, because of social and religious norms.
The live cam industry needs to satisfy both approaches to remain accessible to their models.
One other business model found in the U.S. are “virtual studios,” sometimes just known as smaller studios. These virtual studios promote themselves online to attract the models. Their sales pitch is to promise faster payouts, sometimes as fast as daily and sometimes better rates, as compared to the cam sites themselves. Of course these virtual studios have special deals with the cam sites, making a percentage of what the models earn.
Even with this evolution of the cam industry, the industry will continue to change and evolve as more and more companies look for their slice of the ever-larger live cam industry pie.
It will be fascinating to watch the changes that take place as technology keeps advancing and the live cam industry continues to age.
Alex Bluck Negru, who comes from a mainstream marketing background, jumped into the adult industry by creating marketing, SEO and Adwordscampaigns for Romanian cam studios. Later, he began as an affiliate for various cam sites and once he learned more about the industry, he came up with the idea of a payment system that worked with Skype and is capable to charge per-minute calls. Negru is the CEO at SkyPrivate.com and also is involved as product owner for other newer products built by the company, such as Membershyp.club and UnblurApp.com.