Gay in Flux: A Look at the Latest Trends in a Vibrant, Evolving Market

Gay in Flux: A Look at the Latest Trends in a Vibrant, Evolving Market

Welcome to the summer of 2021. It’s been nearly a year and a half since the COVID-19 lockdowns were first imposed and as vaccine rollouts continue to pick up speed, all sectors of adult are looking forward to a post-pandemic return to some kind of normalcy — however we define “normal” in 2021 — with a sense of cautious optimism. From our “Countering Crisis” special report in June 2020 to “Storm Blazers” in February this year, we have tracked how the pandemic has irrevocably altered all of our lives and how we shepherd, nurture and build our businesses. This month, we narrow our focus for a snapshot of gay adult entertainment at a decisive moment.

Market trends that were simmering at the end of 2019 and in early 2020 were given a dose of rocket-fueled accelerant as a result of the pandemic lockdowns. Camming, clips and premium social media experienced massive growth as bored-at-home consumers sought entertainment and a sense of intimacy and authenticity. How do those markets look today as we reach the halfway mark of 2021?

While studio shoots were disrupted across the board in 2020 — one dramatic example involved the cast and crew of a Falcon/NakedSword production shooting on location in the Austrian Alps that evacuated the country in the middle of the night when the European travel ban was announced — they ultimately resumed under strict health and safety protocols after months of pivoting to remotely produced shoots, albeit with a few marked changes.

Filmmaker Jasun Mark told XBIZ earlier this year that he has earned the nickname “Spritz Queen” because he constantly walks around with a bottle of sanitizer. “I’m constantly spraying my hands or anything I touch,” he said. “People come up to me and say, ‘Hey, spritz me!’”

But the mood is nevertheless markedly different. Throughout the past year we have spoken to directors and photographers, producers and execs, and performers of all stripes, about how they’ve tackled the thorny issue of whether or not to include any mentions of the pandemic in their work.

Jake Jaxson’s CockyBoys, for example, took home the XBIZ Award for “Best Gay Sex Scene” for “Lips Together — Six Feet Apart,” a poignant romance starring Sean Ford and Angel Rivera about two young men who meet and fall in love just as the pandemic lockdowns are imposed.

“Everyone talks about their platform and their audience and the people they speak to. Everyone has their own approach. Some people are just making money or doing other things. For me, the audience is sometimes bigger than what we [realize] and I just want to put across my point of view and my vision that porn and sex is part of a life well-lived and it’s not all-or-nothing,” Jaxson told XBIZ in November 2020.

“That is probably the one thing I’ve come away with this year. I was always kind of a little bit of a hermit already, so being locked down was not necessarily the worst thing,” he said. “But I do have a lot of empathy for our guys who are younger and who need the energy [of crowds] and being out-and-about and seeing each other and living their young, fabulous lives. I can see how hard it is on them. Everything’s just been taken from them through no fault of their own. And I think we are all part of a collective consciousness. Even for me, I feel like I want to make sure with our platform that we’re putting work out there in a way that’s mindful and not tone-deaf to what’s happening in the world today.”

Director Tony Dimarco took the reins of Raging Stallion Studios in 2020 and elected to take a different approach.

“I think we’re going to ignore [the pandemic]. I don’t think it’s sexy. I think people want to escape from it,” he told XBIZ. “Maybe years [after] we’re out of it, people can look back on it with a different perspective. There’s probably a storyline there [now]. But I think people just don’t want to think about it. Anything that’s handed to us as a challenge also really forces us to be creative, like these virtual Zoom scenes. That’s something we would normally never do but you have to come up with a creative solution.”

XBIZ-winning director mr. Pam took advantage of the lockdown by starting her own production company and with studio shoots on hold, began offering her services to the increasing numbers of performers who turned to premium social media sites to earn a living. She did begin to direct remotely-produced content in the early months of the pandemic, but found herself longing for the electricity of being on set in the flesh.

“Having two guys jerking off over Zoom — the first one I shot was awesome. It was Skyy Knox and Ricky [Larkin]; it was so hot. But it just isn’t the same, you know?” she told XBIZ earlier this year. “I want to be on set and feel the energy, like a Broadway performer. Give me the audience!”

Whether you work real-life events into your content production or ignore them, one throughline is clear: go with your gut.

One additional thought as we explore this snapshot of gay and queer adult and glean lessons from burgeoning market trends: Take care of yourself.

Kristel Penn, Grooby’s longtime creative and marketing director, and winner of the 2021 XBIZ Exec Award for Community Figure of the Year, spoke to XBIZ a few months ago about the importance of perspective as we manage our emotional well-being while running a business in this strange new world. Don’t feel guilty because you haven’t learned how to bake sourdough bread, mastered a new language or come up with an industry-shaking marketing strategy.

“People shouldn’t feel like they have to work their way through a pandemic in a certain way,” Penn advised. “We’ve been cut off from our family and our friends, all of these things that would negatively affect our mental health, and then we try to use a meter that isn’t applicable anymore. You know? Remind people to be kind to themselves and to remember that we are at where we’re at and that it’s okay and to have compassion for where we are.”

With that sage advice in mind, we canvassed a select group of gay and queer industry notables about the bold swings they’ve taken to grow their business and where they see this vibrant market sector trending over the next year.

Jasun Mark

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE IS PARAMOUNT

It’s been over a year since XBIZ spoke to Jasun Mark about his decision to join his friends and colleagues Anthony Duran and Trenton Ducati at Ducati Studios, a boutique production company that offers a variety of soup-to-nuts production services in addition to managing a suite of paysites. Within a week of that interview, the pandemic had shuttered the industry.

Yet Mark stayed fleet-footed, notably having been among the first to utilize camera-mounted drones — a development that elevated the visual language of adult to a cinematic level — and is deeply inspired by how rapidly tech continues to improve. He predicted a “super-accelerated” evolution of how self-produced content will look and feel, envisioning a future where OnlyFans creators win major awards usually reserved for studios and remains ebullient about the trend in retrospect.

“OnlyFans and the like have changed everything. I love that the stars can now monetize their fame,” he said. “They can make this a career and not just a short-term gig. I think we’re going to see a lot of stars begin to produce some great stuff and the studios are going to hitch their wagons to that star.”

CAM4 Senior Account Manager Johnny Diamond echoes that sentiment and predicts a steady rise in the cinematic quality and audience reach of self-produced content and live cam performances.

“We are seeing a new generation of gay amateur content creators. These creators have turned to utilizing a multitude of new and existing platforms to garner viewers, fans and traffic to their live shows. These social platforms help drive interest and visibility and allow the creators to garner deeper appreciation whenever they are offline.”

CAM4, Diamond said, considers performers who are tuned in to the gay male market as trendsetters in this regard.

“We have seen that gay male performers are focused on creating eye-catching and high-quality content. From ring lights, background lighting and sound to high-resolution streaming quality, these creators are focused on presenting a more polished look and ensuring their shows are eye-catching and appealing to new audiences,” he said.

“A lot of the creators are emulating what mainstream content creators are producing and utilizing those tactics for their live adult cam shows,” he added.

Dominic Ford, the founder and CEO of JustFor.fans, (JFF) also predicts a steady rise in the influence of so-called “amateur” performers.

“We definitely see the trend of amateur content continuing to be appealing when the models take what they are doing seriously and put out good and frequent content. We are also seeing a continued uptick in amateurs creating their own pages. There is practically no stigma to people having their own JFF page. And with 100% of our staff also being sex workers, we lead on that front by example,” he said.

As vaccine rollouts progress, with the culture at large resuming a sense of normalcy, Ford is prepared for a certain number of amateur performers to abandon their erotic pursuits.

“In the next six-to-twelve months, I think we will see a weeding out of the ‘sex worker tourists’ who came on the scene during COVID out of necessity because they had lost their jobs; sex work was a means to an end, not a real lifestyle choice,” he said. “Most of those people didn’t make the money they were hoping for because they didn’t realize it would be a full-time job if they wanted to make real money doing it. So I think they will weed themselves out, which will be good for everyone: it will put the focus back on the folks who take this seriously, and increase consumer confidence that the people they are subscribing to will actually be giving them their money’s worth.”

The concept of “consumer confidence” has become a keystone as Ford guides his company out of the pandemic. He believes customers have quickly learned to take clickbait headlines surrounding high-profile celebrities who join OnlyFans with a hefty grain of salt. Too many fell for the hype and now they’re looking for brands they know they can trust.

Angel Rivera (photo: CockyBoys)

Self-generated content is “not a get-rich-quick scheme,” he said.

“Free followers on Instagram are not the same people as those who will spend money — and if they are going to spend money there has to be something worth spending money on. It’s partly why we require five videos to be uploaded before we verify new models,” he explained. “If we get the sense they aren’t real, we don’t allow them on JFF. We don’t want to muddy our waters.”

Ford predicts continued innovation in customer service among fan site platforms.

JFF, for example, displays the length of each video, a feature that came about, in part, because too many fans felt tricked by all-too-brief teaser videos. “We do everything we can to give our consumers the information they need before joining,” he said.

Flirt4Free Director of Product Jamie Rodriguez emphasized a key component of consumer confidence in their platform.

“Our users love making meaningful connections or being entertained by our models and that’s never trendy, just consistently popular. Models who know how to listen well to users and figure out how to best highlight their best assets always do the best on the network.”

The more entrepreneurial stars are already pivoting to a new business model following last year’s gold rush.

Dominic Ford

“Last year we saw models and users look for new ways to provide and engage with content due to the pandemic,” Rodriguez observed. “As the world opens back up, however, we’ve already seen more models streamline their energy and narrow down their focus to where they make the majority of their earnings instead of seeking new opportunities.”

AMATEUR CONTENT AND GENDER FLUIDITY

“It might seem obvious, but porn is a major influence in helping people come to terms with their sexuality and gender identity,” publicist and documentarian Mike Stabile told XBIZ. “The more someone watches porn, the more likely they are to view their sexuality and gender on a continuum. Those who don’t watch porn are more likely to see sex as a moral binary — natural or unnatural, theirs and everyone else’s.”

Over the past year, the industry has experienced “a real blurring of the lines” between consumer and producer — especially in the gay community.

“We’ve always had a more liberal attitude toward sharing nudes and videos privately, but the ability to easily monetize it through OnlyFans or JustFor.fans or FanCentro has led to a sea change,” he stated. “In internal surveys, LGBTQ people are much more likely to say they’d be open to camming or creating adult content. And I meet many more civilians who are dipping a toe in — and sometimes more. And I think gay people understand that all the slurs and stigma foisted upon sex workers were the same things that were said about them. And so making content becomes a form of empowerment.”

Stabile is confident about the next trend to take shape in the market.

Tim Valenti (photo: Falcon/NakedSword)

“I think the next iteration of gay adult isn’t about connecting producers with consumers, it’s about merging two,” he said. “You see people advertising their fan content — sometimes discreetly — on apps like Scruff and Grindr. You see people using social media to attract followers. You see creators hooking up with fans. In practical terms, there’s not always a huge difference between dating apps and fan platforms, even though neither is optimizing for it. The next big success in gay is going to be a platform that marries them all. Users don’t differentiate, so why should platforms?”

The rapid rise of self-produced content has smashed long-established — some might say “calcified” — unspoken rules that required any type of sexual expression that inched outside standard norms be walled off from the general public. Performers have found new freedom to express their true sexual identity – and a receptive, hungry audience has showed up for it.

Last year, XBIZ identified and examined the rising demand for bisexual and sexually fluid content. When bi content pioneer Wolf Hudson began producing on his own terms, the positive response to bi clips from his fan base was instant and intense — and continues to grow at an exponential rate.

Lance Hart’s Pervout Network of paysites added the M/M/F bisexual threesome brand BiFuck.com to tap into this hungry market and to provide opportunities for male and female performers who expressed a keen interest in filming the content.

Hart has also added GenderFlux.com, recently rebranded by creator and founder Nikki Hearts from DykedDown.com, which Hart notes had experienced steady growth over the past year and filled an important niche between Pervout’s soft BDSM-focused SweetFemdom.com and BiFuck.com.

Dakota Payne (photo: NakedSword Originals)

The rebrand more accurately reflects Hearts’ personal and professional evolution. The performer-director sees the steady growth of queer content as an important bellwether.

“I have noticed over the last couple years, especially since launching my site, that my audience has gone from being a lot of cis-het males to way more queer people,” they observed. “It is really nice to have an audience that I can relate with, feel good about representing and make content with them in mind. I’m really thankful for my 18-and-over Gen Z audience, and love that I can bring something different to the table for them. I feel like the future of queer porn is bright with them at the cusp.”

Another evolution Hearts has quietly tracked for years has now burst into the mainstream to set the pace for where adult content can go.

“I have continued to watch the barriers and segregation between mainstream porn, gay porn and queer porn very slowly be broken down over the past decade,” they said. “I think performers creating their own content, and being more in charge of who they are shooting with, has expedited this process a lot, especially in the past year. I think the binaries of gender as well as porn categorization will continue to be blurred, and I am so here for it.”

CAM4’s Johnny Diamond echoed those observations and predicted “an even bigger increase” in male content — specifically, content produced for men by male performers who aren’t targeting one market segment or another.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more males started to realize that camming was a way to gain additional revenue and connect with people on a global level,” Diamond noted. “Males were jumping online and seemed to be more open to exploring their sexuality. In the past, we saw a large number of straight male [performers] had a dislike to other males watching their shows or [joining] their rooms. However, now it seems that straight males are embracing their gay male viewers and fans. The mentality has changed. Male performers have a more open approach to sexuality which has allowed themselves to explore deeper and not feel so anxious or nervous when other males were watching their shows.”

Shirley Lara

“Straight males have started to market their shows specifically to the gay demographics and are now listening to what they like,” he added. “This new form of experimentation is so great to see.” Chaturbate COO Shirley Lara described an “acceleration” of the platform’s focus on heterogeneity.

“One trend that has always been present — since Chaturbate first launched — is the diverse nature of broadcasters’ genders, body types and sexualities,” Lara noted. “This trend has continued and, in fact, accelerated over the past year, especially with respect to the inclusivity and acceptance of the queer community.”

Lara added that the platform is seeing many more gay and lesbian broadcasters as well as more performers who identify as transfeminine, transmasculine, nonbinary and post-op and prep-op trans.

She believes their individual and collective fan bases will soon equal, and surpass, those of the industry’s biggest cisgender stars, which speaks to Nikki Hearts’ observation that barriers between what was traditionally considered “mainstream porn” and gay, queer and trans porn are steadily and irrevocably breaking down.

Pinstripe Media CEO Hector Camacho cited shared data that shows a marked increase in sales and revenue for sites in the gay market, particularly content that showcases amateur performers and explores a gonzo-style point of view. Pinstripe recently added the paysite AmateurGayPOV.com to tap into this growing market trend.

“Part of this trend can be attributed to the global pandemic as well as changes to some high-traffic tube sites,” noted Camacho. “We forecast that the next six-to-twelve months will follow similar trend lines as consumers continue to work from home, [elect] to stay indoors and reduce social gatherings. That being said, studios that continue facing production issues due to local regulations are being and will continue to be negatively impacted by growth.”

“Data shows that consumers are looking for new content — and a lot of it,” he told XBIZ. “Mainstream streaming services have had to increase their original release schedules as consumers’ demand for fresh content has increased. This trend seems to be trickling down to porn as well. This is one of the reasons we launched AmateurGayPOV and added it as bonus content to our existing sites.”

Falcon/NakedSword President Tim Valenti agrees that consumers are not just looking for more original content — and a lot of it — but are also craving innovation and insight. “In response to our new, outside-the-box initiatives, we’re seeing increased new visitors to our products and our audience is skewing younger and younger,” Valenti observed. The legacy brand with labels that include Falcon Studios, Hot House Video and Raging Stallion Studios, has launched a particularly diverse slate of programming with NakedSword, including “Weekends at NakedSword,” which is free content every weekend, and events like Miss Pineapple Pageant, which is a Pineapple Support fundraising contest featuring gay porn stars who also perform in drag.

“In the second half of the year, we are going to continue to release content with a message like NakedSword Originals ‘EveryBODY’ series which celebrates body diversity, our second Miss Pineapple Pageant and we are also rolling out weekly free content in the form of ‘Weekends at Falcon,’” he added.

“As an industry, in the next six-to-twelve months, we are going to see more diverse content with a message being released, content that would have been [impossible] to produce even five years ago.”

Nikki Hearts (photo by Phillip Reardon)

HAIRY GUYS AND CONTENT MANAGEMENT

Although newer and more innovative forms of content continue to break through and will see new spikes of interest over the coming year, — “There has been an influx of podcasts and video content being produced which helps broaden the cam world conversations,” CAM4’s Johnny Diamond said. “More and more stars are developing this type of content” — other tried-and-true sub-genres have enjoyed a resurgence.

“‘Daddies’ are still huge and people are still enjoying the whole older/younger men dynamic,” observed Jasun Mark. We’ve also seen a lot of people loving TrailerTrashBoys not just because of the funny setups and dialogue and stories but I think people have maybe tired of seeing pretty, polished, expensive settings and enjoy the edgy, dirty sex we’re doing.”

Talent manager Howard Andrew of Florida-based FabScout Entertainment is among those who backed up Mark’s observations.

“The ‘hairy guy’ trend is still in. The average customer doesn’t want to see a big, burly guy with a shaved crotch and shaved armpits. That’s a given,” reported Andrew. “On the straight side, yes; they love it. They don’t want to see the guys hairy. On the gay side, yes, a lot of people are into the smooth, shaved twinks, but a certain amount of body hair is the way to go. And the taboo sites are huge at the moment. Older/younger [is] growing exponentially. Anything out of the ‘normal’ is big right now. Regular sex in a bed is boring to people.”

Over the past two years, the uniquely taboo relationship dynamic exemplified by “daddies” and stepsons, uncles and nephews, step-cousins and the like, has “taken over,” said Andrew. “Every other week there’s a new website. In the market down here, I can find older guys; that’s really easy in Florida. Finding twinks isn’t as easy as it used to be. We’re doing our best.”

He, like others, attributes the massive growth of this sub-genre to “an older customer who is happy to pay for their porn and is living the fantasy.”

Looking further afield to a newer trend, the increase in demand for amateur content, and the COVID-19 lockdown making it hard for studios to shoot content as normal, formed the perfect combination of conditions to help fan platforms flourish.

Certain companies, such as content management agency Fan.Management, could see the potential for models to make a considerable amount of money; however, they found models were frequently overwhelmed by the demands of managing their own accounts. They did not have enough time or simply didn’t have the skills involved to edit and post and market their own content.

“We decided to help but initially only offered the service to our exclusive models,” Fan.Management Sales Director Ewan French told XBIZ. “Word soon spread about our program and other models started asking to sign up as well.”

Once they had the infrastructure in place, French explained, the company began accepting new models outside their network. “Since then, the number of models we manage has grown month-over-month,” he said. “Our team currently has 11 full-time staff who help manage male, female and trans performer accounts.”

During the pandemic lockdown, Howard Andrew found himself scrambling to find regular work for his roster of more than 50 models. Like so many others in adult, his performers not only pivoted to remotely-produced scene work, but found an eager and willing audience for content that was off-the-beaten-path.

Sean Maygers (photo: Raging Stallion Studios)

“‘Mow your lawn naked. Cook chicken soup naked. Get on live cam and just have a conversation with people,’” he recalls telling his models. “‘Record yourself telling stories about your life.’”

The surprising popularity of SFW content — or slightly NFSW-ish — may have been a trend born out of necessity, but Andrew predicts its popularity will only grow.

Like many of his colleagues, the longtime agent — who marks two decades running his company in 2021 — believes adult has only just begun to feel the ramifications of the power shift to a creator-based economy.

“I think it’s wonderful that models are finally getting a say in what they can do,” he observed. “I think it’s wonderful that the models are finally getting the money that they deserve,” even if it affects his own bottom line. “Some of these guys really making money — buying houses, making investments. As much as I can still counsel them, it’s a great thing. I’m a survivor. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it. I just like to see the guys succeed.”

Towards that end, content management companies have proven a godsend. Andrew said he knows of “at least five or six other companies” who provide the service and signed with Fan.Management because he personally knows several of its principals. “It’s easy to work with people you know and trust,” he said, a smart rule of business made even more relevant when one is turning over private content and sensitive personal information to a third party.

The agent had observed some of his models complaining about not having enough time for admin — which includes responding to dozens, if not hundreds, of questions and requests on a daily basis — after shooting content three or four days in a week. Some of them simply didn’t have the patience or the necessary skill set to prepare content for posting and it was affecting their bottom line.

“Fan.Management approached me and we made a deal,” Andrew said. “They are very particular about who they’ll take. I’ve signed about a dozen people with them and the three or four I’ve really grilled about the experience have almost doubled what they were making before. So it’s a good thing.”

Performers send the company their raw footage, which is run through a post-production process that includes film and sound editing, color correction and other tweaks as necessary. Teasers up to roughly two minutes are produced for posting to Twitter and personal websites before the content itself is uploaded to the performer’s preferred fan sites. Models are kept abreast on a regular basis about what is selling and advised on how to adjust their shoot schedules accordingly.

The entire process is streamlined for models who don’t have enough hours in an average week to answer potentially thousands of questions about their shoe size or their birthday or the availability of custom clips. Personal questions or queries are forwarded to the performer directly.

“Companies that have been doing this have been around about four years,” said Andrew. “I’ve shied away from it. I’m not going to lie about it. Fan.Management was able to prove things to me; I gave them a test and the tests came through and now I’m perfectly happy doing it. It costs me two minutes out of my day to make my models happier. And if my models are happy, I get more trust and more allegiance and more models out of it. It’s a win-win.”

Despite the ever-increasing shift to a creator-focused economy, more entrepreneurial models see an immediate benefit of blending a certain amount of studio work with their fan site efforts.

“Studio porn puts them in the faces of the customers,” the agent said. “It keeps their name out there and the customers look them up and join their fan sites. Like I said, some of these guys have doubled what they were making on a monthly basis. I can only see that kind of success continuing and growing like crazy over the next year. And it benefits everyone.”

Lance Hart echoed the assertion of his colleagues that the ongoing shift to a creator-based economy will only pick up speed over the next year.

“With every day that goes by, the shift to fan content becomes obvious,” he said. “I make money from JFF and the interesting thing is JFF is [built] to grow, while OnlyFans is not. JFF has a built-in affiliate program and it’s a huge deal. For example, Pornhub still gets the most traffic out of all the sites. They’re still a big deal. You can put a video on Pornhub in their Content Partner program and that means you get a clickable banner underneath your video — the prime real estate. And it says, ‘Do you like this? Join my JustFor.fans.’ And people click it and go right to you and they join and Pornhub gets [a fee] because JFF has an affiliate program. You can’t do that with OnlyFans.”

Hart predicts this particular business model will continue to ramp up over the next year as the industry emerges from a COVID-fueled period of rapid growth.

“Historically, of course, affiliates have been a huge part of anybody making money in porn ever since paysites originated. It works for JFF. So that’s huge — globally, not just with gay stuff. If OnlyFans were to go away or [decide] ‘Hey, we’re only going to work with Instagram influencers and celebrities and no more sex workers,’ it would suck for a little while because everybody would lose a few months of revenue but then they’d just shift to platforms with an affiliate program and make even more money.”

“If I were from the future, I’d come back and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going to happen,’” Hart asserted.

He also sees the rise of content management companies and increased competition among them as inevitable — and good business sense, from his point of view.

“The cat’s out of the bag, [over] the past 12 months, for sure. Now it’s all about, ‘Who are you with? Oh, do you want to switch to mine?’ I’ve been with a couple of them. It’s just a better way to do business. You’re still interacting with your fans. But the management companies filter it for you. No single sex worker can [respond] to 1,000 people every day. A management company can do that. It’s lead generation: ‘Hey, you’ve got a big tipper here. They’re asking for pictures. You want to jump in on this? Send ’em a custom video? What do you want to do?’”

As his career as an independent artist grew, Hart quickly realized he needed help or else his ability to earn real income would be capped by the limits on his available time. “I know huge, A-list people who manage all of their fan sites themselves. They still figure out how to manage it for themselves despite having thousands of subscriptions. But my management company helps me interact with my fans, they edit for me. They earn their cut. They give me analytics. ‘Hey, try a live cam show here, try this, try that.’”

Like Howard Andrew, Hart has already seen unscrupulous management companies attempt to take advantage of performers. “They have access to your content,” Hart said. “Talk to people, do some research and ask around. Read what your contract says about who retains control of your own stuff. There are some shadeballs out there.”

Hart also sees the power shift to a creator-based economy as an opportunity for the studio side of the business.

“I make most of my money [with] studio shoots — owning them. It’s time for me and all the companies bigger than me to sharpen our tools. Make sure we’re delivering good stuff that people want to pay for. We can’t just be calling it in with a weekly update. We've got to look at the comments below the videos. I do that. I have a small staff and they help me figure out what we’re shooting next. What fetishes or niches are they asking for? I want to really deliver value, especially coming out of the pandemic where we got away with home-shot content. It’s been a year now and fans are starting to say, ‘Okay, why am I paying you instead of that same person’s OnlyFans?’”

Teddy Bear (photo: Raging Stallion Studios)

The entrepreneur agrees that the quality of self-produced content is rapidly evolving. But studio shoots offer a shot of reliability and consumer confidence that Hart believes works hand-in-hand with home-shot content.

“The thing to keep an eye on is not so much the camera quality and lighting,” he said. “We’re very, very close to smartphones being able to beat anything that Panasonic or Canon comes out with — to the untrained eye. Right? My smartphone was shooting in 4K five iPhones ago. I don’t have to do color correction. A real cinema addict would argue with me, but I don’t think that’s the measure.”

If an eager fan joins Hart’s SweetFemdom paysite, he explained, they know they’re going to see women with hourglass waists and a nice figure, in pantyhose or a leotard, “fucking a guy’s brains out with a very large strap-on. And being cute about it.”

With his all-male site ManUpFilms, “they’re going to see hypnosis and stuff like that. It’s a niche. They know what they’re going to get. Home-shot content is what we shoot when we’re horny. They come over and we do it at our leisure and make it look as good as we can. It’ll be studio-quality when I do it because I use real cameras and lights and I get a [professional] cameraperson to shoot it. But we’re going to do whatever we feel like doing that day, meanwhile there is such a huge market out there of people who want to see only their specific thing. If they join my OnlyFans, they have to wait to get that content depending on how I feel that week. If they join BiFuck or SweetFemdom or ManUp, they already know what they’re going to get. It’s worth it to them. If they join one of those sites and I just really do it for them and they want to see more of me, they join one of my fan sites.”

“It’s not us against them” in the battle of studio and self-shot content, he asserted. “It’s us and them.”

Hart joins JFF’s Dominic Ford, CAM4’s Johnny Diamond, agent Howard Andrew and other gay adult power players in recognizing the sudden influx of new talent that has reshaped the landscape for the sector, many of whom have also begun working behind the scenes as crew members for self-produced shoots and have now transitioned to studio productions as the industry ramps back up.

“There’s so much new talent now — good talent, and so many of them adding to their income by acting as crew. That’s a good deal for the industry all around,” Hart observed.

Ford and Hart are also among those who openly expressed frustration at the pace of change in adult following the #BlackLivesMatter protests last summer. They expect the pressure to effect change to continue.

“All of us white people have had to look at ourselves and say, ‘Our business is too white,’” said Hart, citing as signs of a positive trend the recent initiatives by Kink.com and Mile High Media to train and support BIPOC directors and creators. “It’s not enough [yet], but it has an influence. I just hired [performer] Micah Martinez as a director. He’s great and I think he’s going to be my go-to guy. Micah is picking who’s in the movies and he’s picking the crew. It’s a positive shift that a person of color is making the hiring choices.”

“It’s time for everybody to step up their game.”

Main image: Max Konnor (Falcon/NakedSword)

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CAM4 Debuts Weekly 'Skyy Knox's CAM Crawl' Livestream

CAM4 is launching "Skyy Knox’s CAM Crawl," a new livestream running every Sunday at 3 p.m. PDT.

Texas Judge Pauses AG Ken Paxton's Aylo Lawsuit Until SCOTUS Decision

A Texas district judge granted a request Wednesday to pause proceedings in the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Ken Paxton against Aylo over its implementation of Texas’ controversial age verification requirements for Pornhub, pending the outcome of the Free Speech Coalition-led lawsuit against Paxton, which will be heard by the Supreme Court during the next term.

Author of UN Report Recommending Worldwide Criminalization of Sex Work, Porn to Speak at NCOSE Summit

Jordanian activist Reem Alsalem, a special rapporteur on violence against women and girls at the United Nations Human Rights Council who recently issued a controversial report recommending that governments abolish all forms of sex work, including porn, will speak at anti-porn lobby NCOSE’s 2024 summit in August.

Spicey AI Voice Chat Platform Launches

Spicey AI, a platform that uses artificial intelligence to create interactive voice messages from chatbots based on adult performers, has launched.

Utherverse to Host 8th Annual VirtualCon in September

Virtual reality and metaverse technology company Utherverse will hold the eighth edition of its annual virtual conference, VirtualCon, from Sept. 26-28.

Pornhub Shuts Down Access in Nebraska Over Age Verification

Aylo began blocking access to Pornhub in Nebraska on Monday, in anticipation of the state’s new age verification law — one of many such bills promoted by religious conservatives around the country — which is scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

FeelMe AI Launches 3 New Subscription Tiers

FeelMe AI has launched three new subscription levels, allowing users to connect compatible Kiiroo sex toys to their videos for interactive solo play.

CamSoda Launches AI Girlfriend Builder

CamSoda has debuted a personalized "AI girlfriend" feature, which allows users to create their very own virtual companion at no charge, including free NSFW role-play and chat.

Free Speech Organization Comes Out in Support of Wisconsin Professor Who Posted on OnlyFans

After a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse faculty tribunal recommended stripping veteran professor of communications Joe Gow of tenure last week due to Gow having unremorsefully created and appeared in adult content, a major free speech organization has come out in his support.

MojoHost Unveils Public Cloud Service MojoCompute

MojoHost has launched MojoCompute, a new cloud service, as the central component of its MojoCloud product offerings.

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