Why ITV-backed Woo launched content on adult site OnlyFans
Woo, an ITV-backed media proposition, has launched an identity and its first content series on adult website OnlyFans.
The new three-part series, Life in Love, directed by Abel Rubinstein, premiered on Woo’s OnlyFans account yesterday at 6pm and will be available there for 24 hours before being streamed on channels like ITVHub and Woo’s website.
Woo, the digitally-led content marketplace making wellness accessible, desirable and relatable to Gen Z, is backed through ITV’s Studio 55 initiative, but the brand is independent of ITV.
Stephen Mai, Woo’s founder and CEO, who has previous roles at Vice, Boiler Room and LADBible, told The Media Leader that Life in Love‘s debut on OnlyFans ties in to the fact Woo is a “platform-agnostic” proposition which meets its audience where they “hang out” rather than expecting that audience to come to them.
Last year, OnlyFans announced plans to get rid of pornography from its platform in order to get financial backing from investors to go public. But it eventually reversed this decision after an online backlash.
The Media Leader understands ITV has regular dialogue regarding strategy, performance and business plan but is not involved in the day-to-day editorial creation and distribution strategy. Woo commissions its own content and makes editorial decisions on the platform approach.
Mai said Woo would use existing platforms and channels to drive traffic to OnlyFans to watch the show and this marks the start of an “always on” strategy where they will publish editorials on sex, love and “wooness” as well as host exclusive content with uncensored material on their account.
Mai said this step would be “an extension of Woo’s feel-good content” redefining wellness for Gen Z, stressing: “It will be a free subscription and we hope to build an engaged community in the same way creators have. It’ll be a platform highlighting sexual wellness through editorial and video content too controversial or ‘risky’ for other social platforms.”
He added: “Woo aims to subvert expectations around wellness. Sexual health, identity and exploration is front of mind for Gen Z but some of the social platforms we play in restrict content deemed as controversial even in the form of film, art, important discussions and think pieces.”
Mai remarked Woo wanted to make a safe space to give creators freedom to express themselves, from Free the nipple onwards, adding: “OnlyFans is a platform that allows us to talk about and showcase the full Gen Z sexuality spectrum without censorship or moderation.”
When asked about how success of the new series and OnlyFans identity will be measured, Mai said: “We want to lead conversations around sexual wellness, body positivity and showcase films that really make people think and feel. For us, success is about subverting expectations around where audiences can engage with content and challenging preconceived notions around gender, sex, love and beyond.”
The aim is to build a sex positive community for Gen Z and Y audiences and beyond on the platform, with Mai saying OnlyFans allows them to show bodies in all their forms “not to titillate but to normalise”, as breaking down stigma around diverse body shapes and sizes is a huge part of Woo’s mission of driving confidence and boosting mental health.
The docuseries explores the stories of three real-world couples which Mai described as “a beautiful collection of love stories that are more about intimacy than sex”, but acknowledged the series still needs to be “heavily edited” in order to exist on key, mainstream social channels.
The idea behind the series was to cast characters that have stories which are not typically discussed in the mainstream as they are either considered taboo, controversial or unconventional, he stressed.
He explained: “We set out to create a show about sex but the output was so much more powerful. Instead, this is a show about love in all its forms. Intimacy, tenderness and raw emotion in less than 15 minutes. A meditative look at life through the lens of Gen Z.”
Woo sees OnlyFans as “a snapshot into the present minds of Gen Z and Gen Y” and Mai said mainstream social platforms haven’t caught up yet and believes the topics covered in the series will eventually be normalised and Woo wants to “fast-track” that process.
Mai concluded: “Success means inspiring other social platforms to rebook their censorship rules and reflect the heart and minds of the next generation.”