‘We are not competitors of OnlyFans’: how a businessman from Kazan building an empire of stream modeling
Since last February, many Western companies have suspended, restricted or completely closed their businesses in Russia. Streaming platforms are no exception, including popular OnlyFans service. However, long before the fashion for active import substitution, a entrepreneur from Kazan managed to create his own business model of this genre. Moreover, to date, the franchise of his studios has already managed to spread across the regions. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
How models moved to web studios
To date, stream modeling has become one of the most popular areas of business on the Internet. All activities of such entrepreneurship are based on the communication of a web model and an observer in an online video chat. Communication takes place on a paid basis, which is the main earnings of both the content creator himself and the entire studio.
Speaking of the second, it is worth noting that today the popularity of such business has led to the emergence of so-called web studios, where not one person works, but a whole team of administrators, operators and technical support.
The constant growth of such organisations has led to the emergence of very strong competition and the struggle for the quality of broadcast video, modern software, as well as professionalism and the number of models. It is also worth noting that such studios, as a rule, sign a contract with a model, in which all confidentiality conditions are negotiated: non-disclosure of personal data, as well as a ban on the distribution of photo and video materials.
There are also entire companies with their own online platforms, such as OnlyFans. According to data for August 2021, 2 million content creators and 130 million users are registered on this platform. This service is most popular in the adult entertainment industry, but it is also used by coaches, fitness instructors, musicians and many others.
In February 2022, the OnlyFans content subscription service joined the boycott of Russia and Belarus: models from these countries were frozen access to accounts, and users lost the possibility to subscribe to their accounts or renew their subscription.
Just recently, on the morning of January 31, its website stopped working in Russia without using a VPN. When trying to log in, the platform gave the error "403 Forbidden”. Users thought that in this way the company completely left the country. However, by the evening of the same day, the site became available to Russians again, and OnlyFans press service called this situation a technical failure.
Import substitution in streaming
Against this background, Kazan entrepreneur Anton Ivanov began to promote the network of his online modeling agencies Showgirls. According to information from the company itself, all these “agencies” are web studios in the non nude format (without undressing — editor's note). In them, models communicate with foreign clients through video broadcasts on various topics — from relationships to cooking, art and sports. It is worth noting that the brand has almost protected its trademark and is currently undergoing a formal examination.
The name Showgirls echoes the 1995 film “Show Girls” about the world of show business in elite strip clubs in Las Vegas.
According to the company, on average, one model receives $3 per minute of broadcast, as well as tips (the average revenue of one model per shift is $150). All of them work in specially equipped studios, where there is professional light and equipment, as well as the necessary interior.
The Kazan “Show of Girls” spread across the regions
The company Showgirls itself was opened in 2019 in Kazan, but it also has 15 branches in other cities: Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Samara, Tolyatti, Surgut, Tomsk, Ufa, Ryazan, Cheboksary, Tyumen.
It is worth noting that four were opened under the franchise, which was launched only last year. Its presentation emphasises that the business is completely legal, and when acquiring a commercial concession, the partner receives a ready-made model, financial plan, instructions, a platform for training employees, assistance with the selection of premises, hiring staff, as well as legal assistance.
Showgirls promises its future partners that the average monthly net profit will start from 700 thousand rubles. However, they will have to make their investments totalling up to 1,7 million rubles.
“One should understand what a studio is and what a platform is”
As business owner Anton Ivanov himself told Realnoe Vremya, his studios are in no way competitors to such sites as OnlyFans. According to him, the fundamental difference lies not only in the scale, but also in the delivered content:
“The platforms we work on, they haven't gone anywhere. We are not competitors of OnlyFans and do not work with them. One should understand what a studio is and what a platform is. This is the same thing that the seller on the marketplace competes with the marketplace itself. Therefore, we do not compete with such large platforms. There may be competition between models inside, but not between us and OnlyFans. Well, basically such sites are erotic content, and we don't do it," he said.
Ivanov said that there are many competitors in the Russian market, but mostly their topics are related to eroticism. As for his studios, there is no such content, according to him.
“There are many competitors among studios in Russia. But to be more precise, from the point of view of the market itself, no. And if you look at the cities — there are not so many in Kazan, many in Novosibirsk, in Moscow -also a little, in St. Petersburg — the most," he said.
The entrepreneur also commented on the development of his franchises. According to him, the main thing is to explain your job offer, since this topic is shrouded in stereotypes and, in general, “this is not really a traditional business”.
“I do not know how many employees we have. Maybe 200 or 300 models, or even more. The most expensive costs are the search for models. One model in the cost price, if it is trained, has its own image, has passed some courses, then it costs 90-100 thousand. This model pays off in about two months. Therefore, the whole story pays off," he said.
Besides, the businessman explained what the essence of his business model is and why his studio cannot be correlated with a webcam:
“We do not have webcam, because it is mainly associated with the topic of eroticism, nudity, and everything related to it. We have stream studios that are designed to help the lonely. This mainly concerns men. This is such a consummation session online. In fact, they rent themselves a virtual girl with whom they can spend time. We sell emotions, psychological support, recognition, and significance for the person sitting on the other side of the screen. In Asia, for example, there is such a problem that people spend a lot of time at work — 200, 240 hours. They don't have time to build a relationship. For example, in Japan, 11% of the total number of people are children under 16. This is a very small percentage of children. They just have a demographic pit there. All because they have a very poorly developed institution of offline relationships. But they go online. Because after work they come, find their beloved girlfriend, talk to her for an hour, get charged with emotions and that's it. It turns out to be an ideal woman for whom he is willing to pay money. Therefore, this is more of a psychological story," Ivanov said.