opinion

Live Cam Genres Thrive on Variety

Alex Henderson

Live webcams were once a marginal part of online adult entertainment, which made it much easier for newcomers to get a foot in the door. But those days are long gone. With the adult webcam field having grown by leaps and bounds, it has become much more competitive as well as increasingly diverse. Adult webcam genres are plentiful, and some cam models are making their mark by catering to very specific interests. From gay and lesbian to BDSM to MILFs and cougars, the cam field is proving to be every bit as diverse as adult membership sites. Ethnic cam niches are popular (some customers are specifically interested in Asian, black or Latina models), and transsexual/shemale sites are a popular cam genre.

Jamie Rodriguez, director of broadcasting for VS Media, said that with the cam field’s substantial growth, she is finding that some companies are hoping to make quick money by taking up specific niches. But jumping on the niche bandwagon, she said, is a recipe for failure if one doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of that genre or niche. “Every day, I hear about a new cam site popping up promising to fulfill every cam need the rest of us don’t offer,” Rodriguez observed. “However, it’s very rare that any of these are around a month later, let alone a year later. It’s common for people who haven’t tried it before to see camming as the ‘fast money’ solution for their business. What they end up finding out, however, is there’s a great deal more that goes into a successful cam network than just broadcasting live feeds and having hot models online.”

Every day, I hear about a new cam site popping up promising to fulfill every cam need the rest of us don’t offer, however, it’s very rare that any of these are around a month later, let alone a year later. -Jamie Rodriguez, VS Media

David Bloom, a spokesman for iFriends, said that some cam models are making themselves more marketable by working in different genres. “We see niche cam growth in general,” Bloom noted. “But there is increased demand especially for MILF and transsexual performers. iFriends has been actively responsive to these trends. We promote monthly customer appreciation shows featuring MILFs, and transgender performers seeking promotion can gain marquee placement on iFriends’ homepage.”

Bloom continued: “Webcam modeling has become increasingly competitive, and we expect this phenomenon to continue. To encourage success, we allow models to host in multiple categories using niche-specific screen names. Webcam models can also broadcast their feed simultaneously on iFriends and on their personal niche websites — and even accept tips off-platform using our remote webcam software. We find, naturally, that a model’s long-term success springs from understanding their fans’ preferences, rather than being a Jack or Jill of all trades.”

Webmasters who have enjoyed major success with BDSM membership sites know that BDSM erotica isn’t one niche, but many different niches and micro-niches (ranging from spanking and whipping to steel bondage to tickle torture). And the same applies to the cam field, where a variety of BDSM tastes can be found. “Within BDSM,” Bloom explained, “all the usual suspects are in demand: foot and shoe, femdom, smoking. The list goes on. Lesser-known is the micro-niche of financial domination. This type of power exchange has grown over the years, as awareness has increased. iFriends now hosts fetish rooms charging up to $19.99 per minute. The fetish lends itself well to online and distance domination, as money is symbolic of power and control—and transactions can occur at the convenience of a mouse click or finger tap. Once the domain of clip and phone sales, this fetish is growing quickly in live cams.”

Bloom added: “In BDSM cam modeling, the model hopefully has a genuine appreciation and understanding of the fetish. It needs to be credible. You can’t fake it. Whether catering to a balloon fetish or an ignore fetish, identifying the allure, seduction, and psychological triggers of the fetish makes for the most emotionally, sexually, and financially rewarding experience.”

Shay Efron, vice president of marketing and business development for ImLive.com, stressed that cam customers who are hardcore BDSM enthusiasts won’t be fooled by vanilla models who pretend to be kinkier than they really are. Efron explained: “The fetish and BDSM categories are enlarging all the time. So we’re familiar with so many different ones. Sometimes, the problem is to find hosts or models that specialize in these niches. In BDSM, the host or models cannot act like real BDSM persons if they are not real BDSM persons. Most of the users that look for these specific niches within the BDSM world know exactly what they are looking for.”

ImLive.com has expanded its niche presence by launching the gay-oriented Supermen.com and the tranny-oriented Shemale.com. “On our main webcam brands,” Efron said, “we see constant growth in the shemale, lesbian, MILF and BDSM sections or categories.”

One of the companies that is doing well with a specific webcam niche is the Cheltenham, England-based Wow Zoom Live, whose GlamourStarsLive.com site focuses exclusively on glamour models. David Martin, managing director for Wow Zoom, emphasized that GlamourStarsLive.com has no interest in amateur models — and unlike other cam sites, GSL has a strict policy that “models have to apply and be accepted to join.” Martin noted: “As we only feature professional published glamour models, our niches tend to be the clothes, role playing and fantasies, rather than the models themselves.”

Martin continued: “Cam modeling continues to be super competitive. By focusing on a limited niche of model, we offer something which makes us special and helps us to ride the increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Martin said that while GSL has a specific focus, another cam site might do well with something totally different. But whatever genre or niche a webmaster embraces, Martin said, those who stay in business will be those who really understand their niche or genre.

“When focusing on a niche, you need to make sure you focus on one you understand and can do well,” Martin stressed. “As a publisher, you need to understand your audience, what drives them, what will they enjoy, what will make them come back. That’s the same whatever the content is.”

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