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What if women led in porn? CEO of a female-first erotic app is putting it into practice

My Wildest Prediction is a podcast series from Euronews Business where we dare to imagine the future with business and tech visionaries.
My Wildest Prediction is a podcast series from Euronews Business where we dare to imagine the future with business and tech visionaries. Copyright Euronews Business
Copyright Euronews Business
By Marta Rodriguez MartinezTom Goodwin
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In an age ruled by incessant screen time and with Pornhub, the colossal streaming pornography platform, valued at $97 billion, it appears audacious to propose that the era of viewing erotic content is drawing to a close. Yet, Caroline Spiegel has a different take.

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Caroline Spiegel started Quinn in 2021 after experiencing sexual dysfunction during her recovery from an eating disorder. While working to restore her libido, she noticed a significant gap in the porn industry – a shortage of erotic content created from the female perspective. 

This realization prompted her to see an opportunity to transform the adult entertainment scene by focusing on audio: "Imagination is a really powerful tool."

My Wildest Prediction is a podcast series from Euronews Business where we dare to imagine the future with business and tech visionaries. In this fourth episode, Tom Goodwin discusses with Caroline Spiegel, CEO and founder of the female-first erotic audio app Quinn, the future of the porn industry led by women.

What kind of porn are women demanding?

The most searched categories on Pornhub include 'threesomes,' while on Quinn, it's 'boyfriend.' The former is the global giant of online porn with a predominantly male audience, while the latter is an emerging audio erotica app created by and for women. What kind of porn do women want to consume?

"Our entire current porn industry is kind of molded in the male gaze," says Caroline Spiegel. 

Consumer stats support this claim. In a 2023 survey conducted by Statista in France, 77 percent of women reported never watching online porn, in contrast to 22 percent of men.

This trend is not exclusive to France; Pornhub's global viewership statistics for 2023 confirm the prevalence of male viewership in most countries, with exceptions in the Philippines and Colombia where consumption is more evenly divided between men and women.

However, Quinn represents a deviation from this pattern. 

"It's 70% women, 30% men, which interestingly is the opposite of Pornhub," says Spiegel. She anticipates that men will eventually use Quinn in substantial numbers, often encouraged by their female partners.

What distinguishes Quinn in attracting women? In an industry predominantly led by men, Spiegel explains that Quinn is "endeavoring to create something for the female gaze" by leveraging the potential of the audio format. 

The app's stories, inspired by women's erotic novels, are written and voiced by notable actors such as Victoria Pedretti from You and Jesse Williams from Grey's Anatomy.

Categories on the app encompass accents, boyfriends, coworkers, and dirty talk, providing a diverse and female-centric approach to adult content.

"70% of women use their imagination when they masturbate. There isn't really an existing player that has captured this market entirely," she says.

Audio also avoids some of the potential ethical concerns of producing porn.

"But I do think that visual content historically is a more complex, challenging genre," says Spiegel. "I think everyone desires a better option, is the bottom line, or there's nothing wrong with introducing another alternative."

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A tough market

Caroline acknowledges that she initially believed it would be easier to market a product for women.

I thought, being a woman, I know what I like.
Caroline Spiegel

"I think women are the most shrewd", she adds, "they see right through any marketing bullshit, and they just cut right to the core of what your product is. And it's been extremely humbling to market a product to women."

Spiegel also acknowledges that the product itself is challenging to market. Porn remains a taboo, despite being an industry worth approximately $97 billion a year. 

"You can never predict how someone's going to respond to Quinn as a concept. Some of the people I thought were the most buttoned up, you know, conservative investors were the most open to it. And people who kind of came across as maybe more footloose and fancy-free were more repressed."

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Journalist • Marta Rodriguez Martinez

Video editor • Jean-Christophe Marcaud

Additional sources • Sound mixing: Matthieu Ducheine

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