trends

Does Audience Sexual Orientation Change How Money Is Made Online?

Stewart Tongue

One of the most interesting aspects of modern American culture is the interplay between LGBT rights and gay adult industry marketing. In years past, just “being gay” was an edgy concept and the hidden subculture of gay sex online was in many ways its own unique niche lure.

Now, as gay marriage becomes legal across the country state by state, and a majority of people now openly favor the idea of equal rights for everyone — gay cam models and site owners are facing the bittersweet predicament of being overjoyed at the idea of full cultural acceptance, while simultaneously finding new ways to generate sizzle for their erotic marketing efforts.

Big spenders are across the board in any gender, and performers in any gender can score big money, all they need is eyeballs and to be interesting for their audience. -Yuval Kijel, Streamate

Now that being gay is finally becoming legally and socially equal in the minds of the majority, does sexual orientation still change how money is made with live cam shows online?

“There are some common truths across the board about what customers are looking for regardless of orientation,” said Jamie Rodriguez of Flirt4Free.com. “Straight or gay, users are looking for a model they connect with and want to get to know better. They want to spend their money and time on the site making the model feel great with tips and quality time in shows.

“We do see some trends on the gay side that are more dominant when it comes to the group experience,” the brand and broadcast manager told XBIZ. “There are more multiple user shows on a frequent basis and more interest in duo shows than on the straight side. Ultimately the money is being made in the same types of interaction and entertainment however.”

Another significant difference extends beyond sexual orientations and comes down to the economic difference in earning power defined by gender with households that have two male earners often raking in more money than households of multiple women or a male and female. That demographical difference goes even deeper when you consider the differences in offspring.

“Specific to audience orientation, there is more discretionary income and a significant number of gay households being empty nesters that allows for more spending power in gay cams,” said Nancy Roberts, vice president of marketing, FriendFinder Networks Inc. “So, whether one wants to look at models of the same sex, the opposite sex or trans performers — in many ways it’s actually the earning capacity of the viewers from each market segment that are shaping the earning capacity of each show in fundamental ways.

In an interesting twist, the freemium model seems to see a much smaller differentiation in show revenue based on sexual orientation.

“Audience orientation does not change how money is made,” said Shirley Lara, COO of Chaturbate, one of the largest freemium webcam sites online.

“Whether the person is female, male or transgender, they perform a service and the customer shows appreciation by tipping,” she told XBIZ.

That suggests that women and straight men are likely tipping a higher percentage of their income than gay male households when presented with the opportunity to watch for free.

Of course, even the most well-intentioned statistical analysis has to take note of the individuality that is present in something as intimate as live cam show spending.

“I think it’s more of an individual thing, related to a specific performer, rather than a cross-gender issue,” Yuval Kijel of Streamate.com told XBIZ. “Big spenders are across the board in any gender, and performers in any gender can score big money, all they need is eyeballs and to be interesting for their audience.”

Newer entrants into the marketplace and finding that “niche content drives a higher price point and is actively sought out,” Mark R., CTO Vuier.com, told XBIZ, “so putting that content behind a paywall has proven valuable for our gay video providers.”

However, much larger networks with a longer history in the live cam space are cynical about the idea of sexual orientation being a driving force of any massive monetization.

“Once we looked at the gay audience as something that will ‘save’ the revenues,” Laszlo Czero of Jasmin and Adult Webmaster Empire told XBIZ. “By now, the gay traffic takes a nice chunk of the total, but I see no changes here.”

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