Архив рубрики: TechCrunch Disrupt 2022

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OnlyFans CEO says adult content will still have a home on the site in 5 years

OnlyFans has been putting a lot of effort into upcycling its image from an adult content subscription platform to a Patreon-like home for all kinds of creators, but it’s far from moving away from them as users. Today CEO Ami Gan of the platform confirmed that adult content will still have a home on the site in five years, and those creators can continue to make a living on it.
The confirmation, made today on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, is notable because of the rocky relationship OnlyFans has had with adult creators. Last year, the company announced it would ban adult content on the site after pressure from card payment companies and efforts it reportedly was making to raise outside funding. Then it abruptly suspended the decision less than a week later after an outcry from users.
Now it’s also starting to see some new fronts of potentially formidable competition: TikTok earlier this week announced that it would be introducing adult-only livestreams as it raised the age requirement for TikTok Live.
OnlyFans has at the same time been making an effort to position itself as more than just a platform for NSFW content and that NSFW is being ring-fenced in a more responsible way. Its top execs like to use the more general euphemism of “spicy” these days to refer to the work you find on there, and they like to talk about emerging categories on the platform like cooking and fitness. Gan also noted that it’s working with the wider community of lawmakers and others to ensure that adult content is only being viewed by those who are legally allowed to do so.
Yet it hasn’t made a firm assurance in how it plans to serve the adult market longer term. Today’s comments quietly confirm that it will.
The area remains a sensitive subject though. Execs at the company remain guarded on any specifics that speak to how lucrative that business is. On stage today, Gan and strategy head Keily Blair skirted questions on just how much the company makes from adult content creators.
“We’d have to look at every single transaction on the platform and assign it,” explained Gan, “and we’re not collecting [that] data.” Gan was previously the company’s CMO.
“Like, the better question is, why is that important to people?” snapped Blair, who joined the company in January 2022 and comes from working in “contentious data privacy law” and related legal areas.
The company operates on an 80/20 revenue share model, where creators get 80% and OnlyFans takes a 20% cut. In any case, it’s not clear it needs to worry about outside funding.
OnlyFans is based out of the U.K., and earlier this year, it reported that usage of the platform exploded in 2021. Creators on its platform now number 2.1 billion while “fans” number 188 million. The audience of fans is growing at a faster rate, 128% versus 34% for creators. Those creators earned $4 billion in that year, and OnlyFans’ profit was $433 million, up from just $61 million the year before. Revenues were $932 million, up 160%, over the year.
Figures (via PitchBook) estimate that the company is on track to make $2.5 billion in revenues this year.
Update, 10/19/22, 6:20 pm et. There are 2.1 million creators, not billion. 
OnlyFans CEO says adult content will still have a home on the site in 5 years by Ingrid Lunden originally published on TechCrunch
OnlyFans CEO says adult content will still have a home on the site in 5 years

Deep Render believes AI holds the key to more efficient video compression

Chri Besenbruch, CEO of Deep Render, sees many problems with the way video compression standards are developed today. He thinks they aren’t advancing quickly enough, bemoans the fact that they’re plagued with legal uncertainty and decries their reliance on specialized hardware for acceleration.
“The codec development process is broken,” Besenbruch said in an interview with TechCrunch ahead of Disrupt, where Deep Render is participating in the Disrupt Battlefield 200. “In the compression industry, there is a significant challenge of finding a new way forward and searching for new innovations.”
Seeking a better way, Besenbruch co-founded Deep Render with Arsalan Zafar, whom he met at Imperial College London. At the time, Besenbruch was studying computer science and machine learning. He and Zafar collaborated on a research project involving distributing terabytes of video across a network, during which they say they experienced the shortcomings of compression technology firsthand.
The last time TechCrunch covered Deep Render, the startup had just closed a £1.6 million seed round ($1.81 million) led by Pentech Ventures with participation from Speedinvest. In the roughly two years since then, Deep Render has raised an additional several million dollars from existing investors, bringing its total raised to $5.7 million.
“We thought to ourselves, if the internet pipes are difficult to extend, the only thing we can do is make the data that flows through the pipes smaller,” Besenbruch said. “Hence, we decided to fuse machine learning and AI and compression technology to develop a fundamentally new way of compression data getting significantly better image and video compression ratios.”
Deep Render isn’t the first to apply AI to video compression. Alphabet’s DeepMind adapted a machine learning algorithm originally developed to play board games to the problem of compressing YouTube videos, leading to a 4% reduction in the amount of data the video-sharing service needs to stream to users. Elsewhere, there’s startup WaveOne, which claims its machine learning-based video codec outperforms all existing standards across popular quality metrics.
But Deep Render’s solution is platform-agnostic. To create it, Besenbruch says that the company compiled a dataset of over 10 million video sequences on which they trained algorithms to learn to compress video data efficiently. Deep Render used a combination of on-premise and cloud hardware for the training, with the former comprising over a hundred GPUs.
Deep Render claims the resulting compression standard is 5x better than HEVC, a widely used codec and can run in real time on mobile devices with a dedicated AI accelerator chip (e.g., the Apple Neural Engine in modern iPhones). Besenbruch says the company is in talks with three large tech firms — all with market caps over $300 billion — about paid pilots, though he declined to share names.
Eddie Anderson, a founding partner at Pentech and board member at Deep Render, shared via email: “Deep Render’s machine learning approach to codecs completely disrupts an established market. Not only is it a software route to market, but their [compression] performance is significantly better than the current state of the art. As bandwidth demands continue to increase, their solution has the potential to drive vastly improved commercial performance for current media owners and distributors.”
Deep Render currently employs 20 people. By the end of 2023, Besenbruch expects that number will more than triple to 62.
Deep Render believes AI holds the key to more efficient video compression by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch
Deep Render believes AI holds the key to more efficient video compression