For many years, the membership website model reigned supreme for online adult entertainment. A long list of Internet-based adult companies made a fortune catering to customers who were happy to be billed on a monthly basis for access to downloadable erotica.
But these days, the membership model finds itself competing with everything from free adult tube sites to adult webcam sites. Some adult webmasters who shied away from micropayments in the past are embracing them now.
We’ve seen a growing interest in taboo content among our straight viewers over the past year, and we expect that trend to continue in 2016. —Bishop, AEBN
Yet while membership adult sites don’t enjoy as prominent a place in the adult industry as they once did, some of them continue to be quite profitable — including paysites focusing exclusively on BDSM content, gay content, BBW content or another specific niche. Paysites will continue to have their place in 2016, especially those that are marketed aggressively, remain tech-savvy and offer memorable content.
Steven Grooby, founder and CEO of Grooby, a leader in the trans genre, emphasized that for paysites, being able to reach customers on multiple devices will be crucial in 2016.
Grooby told XBIZ: “The important adult paysite trends of 2016 will be the same as they’ve been ever since we’ve had to deal with the competition of free or pirated porn: to deliver a curated, quality content that is exactly what our target consumer is looking for.”
“There aren’t any special tricks or magic bullets,” he said. “The growth in mobile sales and better billing techniques have both helped, and it’s important for paysite companies to stay current with changing technologies.
“Providing our current customers and new customers with quality, regular updates, ease of use over multiple devices and the ability to tap into the website and get exactly what they are looking for — instead of having to sift through hours of tube site dross — is where we will continue to have a successful business. 2016, for Grooby, is going to be much the same as 2015: keep producing content for the paysites and keep our consumers content and willing to pay monthly.”
One technological innovation that Steven Grooby will be keeping a close eye on in 2016, he said, is virtual reality.
“I’m interested in seeing how well VR does in the coming months and which companies adopt it,” the Grooby CEO explained. “Once a forerunner is established and is able to deliver the technology to the end-user and support the studios and producers, then we’ll look at investing in that.”
Bishop, marketing and advertising expert for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based AEBN, is bullish on niche content for 2016.
Bishop told XBIZ: “We’ve seen a growing interest in taboo content among our straight viewers over the past year, and we expect that trend to continue in 2016. Interest in transgender content has also seen steady growth, as well as much of the fetish content in our library. Fantasy play and story-driven content seems to have captured consumers’ attention and has been selling well.
“The demand for more engaging and complex story-driven content has been on the rise with both gay and straight consumers,” he said. “Gay consumers have been seeking out twink-on-daddy sex, black-on-black and hardcore bareback content. Condom content is selling well, but edgy bareback fantasy content still has a strong foothold with our audience.”
Technologically, Bishop asserted, online adult companies will continue to forge ahead in 2016 — and mobile optimization will be vital.
“I believe the trends that will have the greatest impact on adult video on the web in the coming year will be technology-driven,” Bishop stressed. “The rapid growth of the mobile market continues to foster an evolving set of considerations and new approaches in design and content delivery. The proliferation of ad-blockers is an issue that has ramifications on many levels for most everyone, whether you are an ad-supported site or not.
“The evolution of video quality and delivery standards will likely have some impact in the coming year also. All of these factors have been on everyone’s radar for quite awhile, I’m sure, but the volume and rate of change is growing each year — and we have an obligation to our users to innovate and utilize the latest relevant technologies to provide them with the best experience possible.”
Bishop continued: “The fragmentation in the device market and the complexities of supporting different devices, delivery formats and device/browser/network combinations is always a challenge to keep on top of.
“In the coming year, we will likely see greater uptake and use of smartphones in countries where we had previously seen very little traffic on those devices,” he said. “As a result of broader access to these newer devices, we will be able to support a growing number of international users that have been difficult to convert due to incompatible technology.”
Bishop added that as important as it will be for adult paysites to stay on the cutting edge of technology in 2016, they must never forget that content is still king. “Fans are always in search of that next pretty face,” Bishop advised. “So fresh content will always be in demand.”