The future of porn: $42K webcam shows?

OK, probably not. But Kink's sale of a one-hour virtual show for five figures shows there's big money in webcams

Topics: Pornography, porn, Sex, webcams, Editor's Picks,

The future of porn: $42K webcam shows? (Credit: Nikolich, Bruno Passigatti via Shutterstock/Salon)

Forty thousand dollars can buy you a house in some parts of the country. But an Australian man recently plunked down even more in an auction for a private one-hour webcam session with Kink.com dominatrix Maitresse Madeline. The adult website says it’s the highest amount ever paid for a webcam show, which enables a performer and viewer to interact virtually. As Kink’s publicist told me, this is porn for the 1 percent.

By the third day of the auction, bids passed $10K. The second-to-last bid was for $30,000 — but the winner apparently thought nothing of upping it by $12K. “As an hourly rate,” says the press release, “$42,000 puts Madeline in league with pop stars like Lady Gaga and Oprah.” Madeline told Kink’s BDSM blog, Kinky, ”People are paying for something they don’t get in their normal life, whether that’s a fetish that they are afraid to live out in real life or maybe their partner won’t give them what they desire and they look to cams to fulfill that missing part of their sexuality,” she said. “People want to remain anonymous and they pay for anonymity.”

This auction was a test case for a new way of marketing and profiting off of adult content. Maitresse Madeline plans on holding interactive auctions in the future, “featuring everything from webcam shows to pantyhose auctions and chastity keyholding services,” according to Kink.

Peter Acworth, the company’s founder and CEO, says that live and interactive porn is a growth area. “Customers’ connections to the Internet are improving and many want a closer connection to the performer,” he tells me. “One-to-one shows are very expensive, but some are willing to pay surprisingly large sums of money to get exactly what they want.” For those who can’t afford a one-on-one show, webcam portals offer customizable broadcasts to a chat room full of viewers. Kink also broadcasts many of its porn shoots, meaning viewers can pay to watch their porn sausage being made, or simply buy the end product.



None of this is to say that Kink is giving up on recorded content. “While it’s becoming progressively more challenging, we are building a new content distribution platform that will give personalized recommendations, like Netflix does,” says Acworth. “We think this service will be worth paying for even when there is so much free content available.”

At least for the 99 percent, the future of porn probably won’t be five-figure webcam shows. But the industry is banking on technology — the very thing that undid it — as its savior.

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...