CEO Tim Stokely explains why his platform works better as a website
The money-sharing deal that powers OnlyFans wouldn’t work if the website operated as an app on the world’s biggest app stores, the social-media platform’s chief executive Tim Stokely said Thursday at The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival.
OnlyFans lets people post videos, photos and other content and enables them to charge viewers subscriptions. It keeps 20% of the subscription revenue that creators earn on its platform and gives them 80%.
Distributing OnlyFans through Apple Inc.’s App Store and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play store would require additionally paying those companies the 30% cut they take from digital subscriptions. That would mean creators wouldn’t be able to keep as much of the money they earn, Mr. Stokely said.
There are now more than 300 creators on OnlyFans who have earned more than $1 million, Mr. Stokely said. He said the site had paid out more than $3 billion to creators.
Apple also bans apps that serve adult content from its app store, but OnlyFans has developed a free streaming app where creators can post their content if they comply with the rules for the Apple and Google’s app stores and other platforms such as Roku.
Mr. Stokely founded Fenix International Ltd.’s OnlyFans in 2016 as a paid social-media site for adults with more liberal content policies than the traditional social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. To recruit creators, he said he emailed influencers, making pitches that if they had two million followers, and 1% of those followers paid $10 a month for exclusive content, then they could earn $200,000 a month on OnlyFans.
OnlyFans is better known for its porn stars than its fitness buffs, but the site’s growth is due in part to the company’s efforts to diversify its creators. The site now has more than 120 million registered users, Mr. Stokely said.
The Covid-19 pandemic supercharged the growth of social-media and entertainment platforms as people stuck at home turned to their phones and screens to fill their days. Mr. Stokely said OnlyFans was already adding users before the pandemic, a trend accelerated by the health crisis.
CEO Tim Stokely says at The Future of Everything Festival that the company’s absence from the Apple platform has more to do with the way it pays creators than the adult content on its site.