U.K.'s Webstream Refines LiveCam Software Solution
LONDON — Ben Clark told XBIZ that the building blocks for Webstream began forming in 2001, when he started doing design and client management for a print and digital media company.
“Shortly after we got a new IT director, Andy Pallett,” Clark said. “We soon became very good friends and started working on our own little projects.”
Clark and Pallett came to realize that between them, they possessed the design, management and programming skills to start something they could call their own.
Not long after, Webstream was born.
“I left the media company in 2004 to build our client base and once things started to prosper, Andy followed in 2005,” Clark said.
Webstream started in 2004 building ecommerce websites for the corporate industry. A few years later, the company was asked by one of its corporate customers if it could build an independent site for an escort he was seeing.
“We were delighted to build the website as it made a refreshing change from the corporate stuff we were doing,” Clark recalled. “He loved her site and told many of her friends about us. Next thing you know we were building more escort websites than corporate sites. We were then picked up by escort agencies to create and build their sites.”
By 2009, Webstream no longer did any corporate work and solely concentrated on producing sites in the adult sector. By 2011, the company was building bespoke booking systems with text message integration along with “bigger, better agency websites.”
“And one question kept popping up time and time again,” Clark continued. “‘Can you build webcam software?’ Toward the end of 2011 we started a project to build our first webcam platform.
“We wanted to build this software to cover everything from the video streaming to the payment gateway. We also wanted to make sure it was as simple as adding a few lines of html code to a website so everyone could use our software.”
In April 2013, Webstream released LiveCam, designed to be a simple plug-and-play software solution for pay-per-minute webcamming from any website.
LiveCam works on a credit basis. Performers set their rates and clients can buy credits to watch their shows. Webstream handles all the credit-card transactions through its own payment gateway and pays out commissions of 75 percent. Studios can also create accounts with unlimited performers and split the 75 percent. For example, a studio could receive 15 percent, the performer 60 percent.
On the heels of the warm reception of its LiveCam software, earlier this year Webstream created two new bits of software. It launched CallConnect, which offers pay-per-minute phone chat. CallConnect is supported in 15 countries including U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Spain and more.
Clients simply buy credits, call the local rate number in their country, enter their client pin followed by the operator’s pin, and CallConnect will divert the calls through to the operator.
Webstream’s Telecom system will track the client’s time on a call and deduct the necessary credits. Operators in any of the 15 countries can have calls diverted to their landlines or mobile phones.
“Gone are the days of expensive 090 numbers which will also show up on client’s bills,” Clark explained. “Our local rate telecom system means we can pay out commissions of 75 percent and the client only has to call a local rate number.”
Webstream’s third software offering is ClipStore, which allows performers to upload video clips they want to sell on their website. Webstream’s video engine converts all videos to play on any device including mobile and tablet, so a performer may simply upload her clips, set the prices, create the description and choose a thumbnail and she’s ready to go. Webstream then provides two lines of html code for her to add to her website and videos will be on the site ready to sell.
“Going forward, we will shortly be adding a donate button to our software which means performers will be able to accept donations directly on their website,” Clark revealed. “Again, a simple bit of html to copy and paste.
“We are also adding a free room option to LiveCam which will give performers the ability to offer free-view webcam on their website in order to entice clients in.”
Clark intends to further introduce Webstream’s latest products and services at the XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference in January at The Andaz Hotel.