3rd Place, Lorenzo Maccotta, Italy
Live chat studio industry
The adult webcam industry is worth $1 billion annually, and is growing fast as the technology becomes better and cheaper. Collectively, the sites are estimated to be visited daily by some 5 percent of the web's global users and the number of models performing live online shows from private apartments or from specialised studios is increasing worldwide.
Romania, a country with one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the EU, is now the undisputed world capital of studio-based cam operations, thanks to widespread wireless broadband access.
The industry has grown substantially since 2001, and most major Romanian cities now count hundreds of facilities offering English-speaking male and female models - most in their twenties - fast internet connections, high definition webcams and decorated rooms where they can turn into the virtual best friends and cybersex partners of paying clients, mostly from North America, but also from European and Asian countries.
In exchange for the workspace, the studios take a percentage of the models’ pay - which can reach $48,000 per month. The models are paid by platforms like Luxembourg-based LiveJasmine, one of the leading providers, ranking as the 103rd most popular site in the world and, with 25 million unique visitors monthly, the 80th most visited site in the USA.