The owner of OnlyFans has collected a $500mn windfall over the past two years from the booming popularity of the platform for sex workers and celebrities to sell content directly to their followers.
The dividend payments to Leo Radvinsky, a Ukrainian-American pornographer and internet entrepreneur, were disclosed by the UK-based company on Thursday as it unveiled a sevenfold surge in profits.
Payments of $284mn in 2021 and $233mn this year make Radvinsky one of the best-paid owners of an internet start-up in Britain and underlined the explosive growth of OnlyFans during the coronavirus pandemic.
OnlyFans allows content creators such as fitness instructors, musicians and erotic stars to sell video clips, messages and articles directly to fans, who pay between $5 and $50 a month, of which the group takes a 20 per cent cut.
In its annual report, the company revealed pre-tax profits in the year to November 2021 jumped from $61mn to $433mn while revenues soared from $358mn to $932mn.
In total, OnlyFans users spent nearly $4.8bn on the platform in 2021 for pornography, workout advice and cooking tips, the bulk of which went directly to creators.
Publicity-shy Radvinsky made his fortune in online pornography and adult live-video sites before buying OnlyFans in 2018. Its founders, Tim Stokely, an Essex-based entrepreneur, his father Guy, a former City of London banker, left the company late last year.
OnlyFans flourished because it allowed people with a large social media following to monetise content without having to rely on sponsored adverts or promotional deals, a breakthrough for adult entertainers who struggled to get viewers to pay for a product freely available on many other sites.
OnlyFans profits far exceed those of MindGeek, the adult entertainment empire behind sites such as Pornhub and YouPorn.
In recent years, OnlyFans has tried to craft a more mainstream brand, claiming that a growing number of its creators sell non-sexual content. But it has yet to disclose figures on the breakdown of its revenues.
The company faced a wave of criticism and mockery last year when it unexpectedly banned pornography on the site before backtracking on the decision.
Founder Stokely told the Financial Times at the time that the move was prompted by banks, wary of being associated with pornography, flagging and rejecting its payments to performers all around the world.
Amrapali Gan, Stokely’s successor as chief executive of OnlyFans, said: “Our creator-first approach to building the world’s safest social media platform propelled OnlyFans to a record-breaking 2021.”
OnlyFans owner nets $500mn windfall as platform for sex workers booms Republished from Source https://www.ft.com/content/2a934864-b82e-41ae-9d67-c37bc6829b61 via https://www.ft.com/companies/technology?format=rss