Growth Rate (y/y)
OnlyFans made $932M in revenue in 2021, up 160% from $358M the year before. OnlyFans recorded $433M of profit after tax in 2021.
OnlyFans’s biggest revenue generator is the 20% take rate that it collects on each content sale or membership on the platform.
Gross payments to creators hit $4.48B in 2021, up from $2.2B in 2020, while the total number of creators on the platform went from 1,618,000 to 2,161,000.
COVID was the big inflection point for OnlyFans’s business: revenue grew 540% from $56M in 2019 to $358M in 2020.
OnlyFans is fundamentally an Instagram-like social media platform built around the idea of paywalled (not safe for work), interactive content subscriptions rather than a feed of content from your friends.
As a fan, once you subscribe to a performer on the platform, you’re able to view their feed, see additional content available to purchase, send them DMs, and interact with other members of their community.
As a performer, you can use the OnlyFans back-end to set your own prices for your subscription, create different tiers of service, message some or all of your fans, and upload and create photos and videos.
A statistics page allows performers to see their growth over time and assess how different kinds of content are working for conversion and engagement.
OnlyFans doesn’t expose users’ names or email addresses to performers, making it difficult for those performers to move their audience off-platform.
In the broad scope of content, OnlyFans competes with other membership-based creator economy platforms like Fanhouse, Patreon, Substack, and Buy Me A Coffee.
Fanhouse is the closest to OnlyFans in terms of its emphasis on the feed and sharing photo and video content, although a key difference is that they forbid all explicit adult or nude content in their terms of service—instead, “performers” share content like vlogs and life updates and participate in group chats with their fans.
Patreon is the largest membership site competitor to OnlyFans, with roughly 8M+ patrons and more than 250,000 creators on the platform. Patreon cracked down on adult content in 2017 amid pressure from payment partners but has since loosened up—today, mature content marked “Patron Only” is accepted on the platform.
Today, Patreon gets about 5.5M hits per month in organic traffic, while OnlyFans gets about 10x that at 54.7M.
One key area of potential TAM expansion for OnlyFans and a large focus for the business today hinges on getting beyond explicit, adult content as the only type of content on their platform.
OnlyFans’s aim is for their site to be the core membership platform of the creator economy for everyone from fitness influencers to chefs to comedians.
In an effort to do this, OnlyFans launched the Youtube-like OFTV in August 2021—a new streaming platform and app with original video content from OnlyFans creators across these different verticals like comedy, music, fitness and cooking.
In a meeting with UK lawmakers amid government discussions about new laws designed to crack down on unsafe internet sites, OnlyFans recently hammered this intent home.
Card company crackdown
In August 2021, OnlyFans announced it would be banning all explicit sexual content on its platform—as a result, it turned out, of threats from either OnlyFans’s banking or credit card processing partners.
While the ban was reversed a few days later with “assurances” from OnlyFans’s partners that they would be able to continue processing payments, the incident revealed that how OnlyFans’s core business model could in the future—perhaps under regulatory pressure—be disrupted by a unilateral decision from a company like Visa or Mastercard.
In 2020, for example, Mastercard and Visa cut ties with Pornhub, pointing to allegiations that the site hosted underage content.
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