Mobile billing for adult services surges

It’s strange times we’re living in, the whole world wide. Everything is changing and some things have changed forever. Walking through streets in London, something seldom done by most these days, reveals white markings painted on the ground by councils enforcing 2m social distancing. One can’t imagine they’ll be painted over any time soon, perhaps long after lockdown ends and perhaps never – permanent reminders of when the world went into lockdown to save it from a pandemic. From the perspective of someone working in VAS (value-added services), micropayments and mobile billing, a huge change is notable – the world is going mobile.

The most successful businesses were mobile-first anyway. Now, in a time when communication is by default mobile-first, consisting of Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and WhatsApp voice and video calling as the primary form of socialising and communication, value-added services across both premium SMS and direct carrier billing (DCB) are seeing a huge uplift. Rather than facing dire straits like the retail and hospitality industry, the online and mobile services that comprise VAS are booming. People have no other way to interact and consume. Researchers have found that, between now and 2023, DCB is going to be used by 1.5 billion people a year and will generate revenues on sales of $28 billion globally.

However, here’s what we really want to talk about – adult. In an unprecedented age, the adult industry is undergoing tectonic shifts. The biggest studios of adult content are suffering in just the same way as big retail and big hospitality are suffering – it’s suffering from the halt in transportation of goods, staff and services. Big adult studios are struggling like never before as they scrape the barrel of their back catalogue trying to release as much material as they can, lacking the ability to film new material. Enter mobile. The adult industry is going DIY.

Pornhub made headlines by offering Italy free subscriptions to lubricate society’s transition into lockdown (excuse the pun). They later extended the offer to France and Spain. Subscription sites hosting amateur content like OnlyFans and MegaVids now dominate. OnlyFans said that they brought on 140,000 content creators during February and March. “This is more than five times the amount of creator sign-ups than during the same period in 2019,” they said.

As AIMM (Association for Interactive Media and Micropayments and our MobiPay team can confirm, micropayments for adult content is flourishing. While amateur, DIY adult services grow and diversify, payments do too. Traditional billing like credit card payments continue, whilst use of cutting edge payment solutions like cryptocurrency, direct carrier billing and premium SMS is increasing.

While cryptocurrency facilitates anonymity, the process of attaining it can be clunky and time-consuming for the uninitiated. Meanwhile direct carrier billing enables anonymous payment for services through submission of a mobile phone number, payment then being taken from the user’s mobile phone bill. Online content portals with adult photo and video are seeing a huge uplift in this type of payment. At the same time, sex chat, flirt chat and dating via premium SMS, services which saw their heyday in the past are seeing a resurgence due to the lack of real-life communication created by worldwide lockdown. In this model, end users simply send an initial message to a premium short code, and are charged either to send the SMS or to receive the response. In such a way, they maintain an ongoing conversation with the service.

Is mobile billing for adult services the logical addition to your adult business during lockdown? It just might be. One thing is certain – in a time of financial doubt and instability, diversification of consumer payment options and strategy can only be a good thing.

Get in touch with our MobiPay team to discuss how we can help with billing for your UK adult services. 


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