How Does OnlyFans Make Money? The OnlyFans Business Model In A Nutshell

  • OnlyFans is a content subscription service headquartered in London and founded by brothers Tim and Thomas Stokely in 2016. Helped by a £10,000 loan from their father, the brothers envisioned a space where creators could monetize content without advertising.
  • OnlyFans was acquired by billionaire investor Leonid Radvinsky in 2018. Since the acquisition, the platform has become predominantly associated with adult entertainment.
  • As the provider of a platform for paywalled content, OnlyFans has a simple yet lucrative business model. Creators charge for access to their work via subscriptions and exclusive paid content while also receiving tips. In each case, the company takes a 20% commission.

OnlyFans Origin Story

OnlyFans is a content subscription service headquartered in London and founded by brothers Tim and Thomas Stokely in 2016.

Tim Stokely envisioned a site where creators could monetize their content without resorting to advertising. This included musicians, artists, and fitness experts, but it also included sex workers. Many such workers, he noticed, were trying to sell their services on social media sites such as Instagram and having their posts deleted because of inappropriate content.

With a £10,000 loan from their father, the Stokely brothers launched the OnlyFans platform. It incorporated a news feed not dissimilar to Twitter or Instagram, and users were required to pay a monthly subscription to view the content of their favorite entertainers. What’s more, users could pay additional money to unlock valuable content.

OnlyFans was a near-instant success with creators, who appreciated the ability to reach a high percentage of their fans with a single post or interact with them directly. 

In 2018, American investor Leonid Radvinsky acquired 75% of the company. After the acquisition, OnlyFans became increasingly associated with adult content. Two years later, the platform experienced rapid growth as many were stuck at home and left unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic. A name-drop from musician Beyonce in a music video was also beneficial to the company’s bottom line.

Today, OnlyFans boasts an impressive set of figures. The platform has over 150 million registered users and has paid out more than $5 billion to 1.5 million content creators.

OnlyFans revenue generation

OnlyFans has a relatively simple revenue generation model as the provider of a platform for paywalled content.

For each monthly subscription a user purchases, the company takes 20% while giving the remaining 80% to the content creator.

The company sets minimum and maximum subscription rates, starting at $4.99/month and increasing to $49.99/month. 

Tips and exclusive content

Content creators can also communicate with fans via direct message, allowing them to consider special requests for custom or personalized content. This content is then sold back to the fan for a fee, with prices starting at $5 and capped at $100. 

For creators who don’t charge a subscription, the cap on all pay-per-view content is $50.

Alternatively, content creators can receive tips for the content they produce.

Since the earnings from tips and exclusive content constitute creator income, they are treated the same way as subscription earnings.

Read Next: Subscription Business Model, SaaS.

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