Jem Wolfie is an Australian influencer with more than 2.7 million Instagram followers. She also has an account on OnlyFans — a website where people sell subscriptions to pictures or video content — where she posts more “risqué” images to people who pay USD$10 a month.
Her OnlyFans subscriptions are booming right now, Wolfie told BuzzFeed News. They’ve grown by 25% to more than 25,000 in a short amount of time, despite Wolfie posting the same amount of content as usual.
The big thing that’s changed during this period of growth? The global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“I guess more people are bored being quarantined at home all day,” she said.
Online content makers such as Youtubers, Twitch streamers and OnlyFans creators mostly say they’re seeing audiences swell as people look to entertain themselves while in quarantine or social distancing.
But a precarious economic climate — in which lots of people are either losing their jobs or fear they might soon — and a stampede of other people joining the platforms to cash in on the new eyeballs means that the current increase hasn’t been a windfall for many creators.
Twitch is a livestreaming platform that allows people to broadcast a video of whatever they’re doing to a global audience. Originally, this was mostly people streaming themselves playing video games, but has expanded to include people talking, musical performances and other live events.
Twitch’s chief operating officer Sara Clemens declined to tell BuzzFeed News if there had been an increase in activity on the platform, but did say the company was being contacted by organisations hoping to livestream “large-scale events and experiences” that had been cancelled due to COVID-19 fears.
Data from a third party Twitch analytics website TwitchTracker suggests that more people are streaming and watching in the past few weeks.
The website’s spokesperson Dmitry told BuzzFeed News that February and March 2020 have had the highest average number of people watching broadcasts on the platform at the same time. There’s been an 18% increase in live broadcasts, he said, in each of the last two weeks.
AngelMelly is a Twitch streamer who broadcasts herself singing, gaming and chatting to her 160,000 subscribers. She’s noticed a big increase in interactions, views and subscriptions since people started self-isolating and social distancing. And AngelMelly thinks events of the past few weeks brought her fans together.
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