LOS ANGELES — If there’s one segment of the adult industry that is undeniably hot, it’s camming.
Live web cams have become a soothing balm for pirated content worried producers, a more exciting porn experience for fans, and a new revenue generator for websites as well as a way for talent to monetize their appearances.
So it comes as no surprise that the sector should spawn Camming Con, its own dedicated trade show set to debut at the end of July. Billed as the first show for camming, the event was created to promote the sector, present a B2B forum where companies can explore the burgeoning business, discuss trends and meet models, as well as giving fans an opportunity to meet their favorite stars.
XBIZ caught up with show founder and organizer Clinton Cox in an effort to gauge the event’s popularity and if in fact it’s a positive bellwether for things to come.
XBIZ: What was the inspiration to create Camming Con?
Clinton Cox: I have been in the mainstream media business since 1998. In 2005, I was hired to lead business development for Reality Kings and their sister media companies. So needless to say, I became a worldwide conference warrior and met tons of other execs from all segments of the industry.
In 2006 one of our sister companies, Naked.com, was about to launch and I was asked to produce live content for them. That task surprisingly turned into a massive business for me. It's a low margin business, and to succeed you need volume. I realized quickly that the whole business was about finding and signing great models and somehow, some way I’ve ended up activating more than 3200 models that have grossed tens of millions for my partners and themselves. So, being well versed in conferences and noticing there wasn't one for the fastest growing segment of the industry, we pulled the trigger and announced Camming Con and we haven't looked back since. So the one line answer is: The space was open and we wanted to fill it.
XBIZ: Who are the originators – their backgrounds?
Cox: Myself and Stacey Havoc. I own Cheetah Lounge MediaWorks, which is my boutique production company since 1998. I also own Converge MediaWorks, which is my adult live content company. I am founding partner and vice president of Live Music Production for Havoc TV. I am also partner on IROCKE.com, a live music aggregation website. So tack all that on to the vice president of business development role I played at Reality Kings, the product lines I produce/direct for RK that have won awards, and my Playboy TV shows, and that equals a person who lives, eats and breathes media and never sleeps.
Stacey and I met seven years ago. She shot a Money Talks bit for me on the beach. After that shoot, she begged me to host the show and eventually I let her do one test shoot and she absolutely killed it. She never looked back and has been all over the web and TV since then hosting some of the craziest stunts ever shot. She dabbled in cams prior to hosting and once she fell in love with production and made the move to it full time, she’s been a force to be reckoned with. Not only does she host, but she also directs and was recently in a mainstream feature film “EM3." She knows what it’s like to be a model and relates to them because of her daily experiences with them in production. Honestly she is one of the best models working on the web whether it's on or off camera. She is a co-founder and vice president of models for Camming Con and a serious asset to the entire business.
XBIZ: Do you feel the market segment is growing/stabilizing?
Cox: Yes, this segment is beyond stable, growing rapidly, and evolving. The adult live content platforms are very robust and, unlike mainstream live communities such as Ustream or Livestream which are great, the adult sites are running at full tilt 24/7. So every code push, every change or new feature is Internet open heart surgery.
The interactions and relationships between models and their fans are getting more advanced with video quality and high speed Internet being rolled out worldwide. There is even more technology on the way to incorporate interactive toys, screen sharing and virtual reality, so I think live transactional video has been around for more than a decade and is still in its infancy. The next 10 years should be very interesting.
XBIZ: What’s the future look like for camming? Market share?
Cox: I don't quite know the future, but I do know that this segment is growing. It's live, interactive, intimate and harder to pirate. I can't really speak on market share, because I don't know everyone's numbers. Obviously Streamate powers the most ‘white label’ sites, but I don't have a clue about their log-ins or revenues. What I do know is if you Google the top 15 cam websites, spend one minute on each one, look at models online on the top row, check their free chat room counts for fans and do quick math, the numbers are insane. That is a 15-minute snapshot of a business that models and fans are on 24/7 working and consuming. I've seen a single model's free chat room have more than 7,000 viewers at one time. One model in one free chat room with 7,000 fans, is nuts. I bet if you did that quick 15-minute study, you would find about 15,000 models online with 250K fans during that 15-minute snapshot.
So as more and more girls realize they can become live cam models and make money in every genre, from glamour to hardcore, the business will keep growing. The models are the content and content is king. So as live cams keep blurring the lines of what is considered mainstream and mainstream models learn how to monetize their fans, more models will start figuring out there is a real job, with real money waiting for them.
XBIZ: What do you feel will be new developments in camming?
Cox: As I mentioned, interactive toys, screen sharing and virtual reality....and who knows what else???
XBIZ: What was the first reaction to the show when announced?
Cox: I heard a lot of ‘Well it's about time’ statements. However a new show added to a fairly saturated adult conference market is a huge challenge. Yes, ours is only live cams, which has never happened and yes we have a Model Day, but regardless, companies are creating new budgets in order to be involved and most who can’t be involved this year have committed for 2015. So, it’s fair to say that there are lots of people paying very close attention to what happens at the first Camming Con.
I just went to The AW [adult webcam] Summit in Romania, which coincidentally was on the exact same dates we originally selected. After speaking with the organizers of AW and the key brands, I chose to move Camming Con back a few weeks. It is a cornerstone of our mission to not compete, but rather to help evolve this industry. So, we took a massive financial hit moving the show and had tons of moving parts to make it work, but we felt it was the best move for the future of Camming Con. AW Summit was very well done and after leaving Romania I believe the U.S. market can be just as successful.
XBIZ: How did LALEXPO get involved? Why?
Cox: "I work closely with one of the owners of LALEXPO, the Latin American cam conference. LALEXPO was really more of a LiveJasmin.com workshop. I went down to see the workshop and spoke in depth with the owners of LALEXPO on the differences and additions in what Camming Con was producing. Most importantly we are not producing a single brand exclusive workshop. The owners of the LALEXPO will be coming up to ours and I'm positive we will only be helping each other more in the future to evolve the industry worldwide.”
XBIZ: What are the core attractions – seminars, booths, etc.? Examples?
Cox: Well there is a lot to do. Thursday is registration day with seminars focused on people trying figure out how and where to enter the business. There will be a champagne toast to welcome everyone followed by an on-site party. I'm excited about everything, but this event is going to be a bit of a spectacle with what we have planned and the company I have producing it is amazing.
Friday is industry day seminars from 12-4 p.m., which will be brands presenting their platforms, as well as the PornHub Networks seminar on how to monetize tube traffic as a model. This leads into the conference floor. The concept is to push the seminars into the floor and the attendees can really get some one-on-one question time with each brand at the booths. And of course we have to have a party on Friday night, which will be at my friend’s super club, Mansion.
Saturday seminars will be more focused towards models, how to improve the skills, what’s happening next in the industry, Internet safety, legal advice and more. One notable conference is called ‘Hot Pics = More Clicks.’ This will be a panel of some of the top models, stylists, and camera people in the industry. The seminars end at 4 p.m. and fan Day opens from 4-8 p.m. This should be really interesting and the energy levels should be amazing. Then our closing party is Saturday night at a new venue called E11ven. I'm very excited for this one because its our closing party and I am trying to get a good friend of mine to perform as the ‘surprise special guest.’ We are working out the details, but if it all works out, he is an amazing stage performer, producer and is the creative director for the Insomniac Festival brand. So hopefully by week’s end we can announce that ‘Bunny’ from Rabbit in the Moon and his Toxic Bunnies will be closing our show.
Both Friday and Saturday have brunches from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. in true Miami Fashion, with food and drinks. The models have an amazing lounge, where they eat, hang out, network and we have professional make up and hair stylists for them. So they should love that. On Sunday we will be sending everyone off with a Mimosa/Bloody Mary bar...and for those who just don't, or can't leave, they can stay at the Eden Roc at our discounted rate.
XBIZ: Why the Miami venue?
Cox: I live in Miami and L.A., but was exclusive in Miami for about 12 years. I just figured the models would love a good reason to go to Miami, especially since we placed the event on an oceanfront resort. This way they could learn a lot, meet their fans, grow their business and maybe even hit the beach for a little bit. I also know quite a few people in Miami and having friends who own nightclubs, hotel groups, restaurants and other things helped me sway my decision towards the ‘Magic City.’
XBIZ: How many exhibitors/cam girls?
Cox: We have 372 registrants as of today and are adding about three more a day. We have close to 20 exhibitors and 16 sponsors. We have 70 models coming so far with nearly 20 more in compliance. We hope to have near 100 and believe within the next three weeks, we’ll hit that number.
XBIZ: How has talent been involved in the show?
Cox: To be honest, talent companies and fans have all been pushed by our efforts. Stacey works hourly with models and all their questions, I'm working with everyone else and my producer is working with our convention production company and the resort. So talent has helped, but it has taken every front moving forward every day to make this project come to life.
XBIZ: What are your hot buttons for camming in 2015?
Cox: Our goals are simple and they are to double the number of models and have every brand get involved. Our ‘Sponsor your favorite model program’ should really blossom next year and more and more models will understand that their fans can sponsor their Camming Con Experience. Like I said, there are tons of people watching to see what happens and those brands and models who took the risk with us on year one, will always be remembered and will be given every opportunity first in 2015 and the years to come.