Canadian porn company Ciné Sinclaire adopted a payment option called Pay-What-You-Can. And it literally means exactly that. The company gives customers the opportunity to choose the price they see fit starting at $1.
The company is based in Winnipeg, Canada and prides itself for being on the forefront of a sex-positive wave in independent porn.
All of the films that Ciné Sinclaire produces have an »open pricing structure«. At the checkout, you will find three main pricing options. In green Ciné Sinclaire signals a suggested price based on production costs and the company’s overhead, marketing etc. The company explains the other choices like this: »The one on the right is double what we would ask for (in case you feel generous), and the one on the left is half price. You are also welcome to enter your own price, from $1 to an unlimited amount. Porn costs money to produce, and your money to Ciné Sinclaire goes directly to fund more porn.«
Ciné Sinclaire said that it knows that not everyone can afford independent porn catering to specific bodies, fetishes and sexualities and they suspect that marginalized groups – one of the key audiences of the website – might oftentimes fall into that category.
Kate Sinclaire is the owner of the website. She says: »We’ve come to realize that we if we actually want to support, uplift, and represent our community, we need to be accessible to more of the people in it. Our customers have historically paid a posted price for our films, which we’ll continue to encourage for those that can afford it, but we’re really excited to provide an option for lower-income folks.«
Sinclaire cites the social conscience of her company as the main reason to make her productions available to a larger audience. But she also wants that audience to know that it is key that people pay for porn and don’t just consume seemingly free porn tube sites like Pornhub. Paying customers can make sure that if they buy their porn from trusted companies that the working conditions for performers are safe and ethical.
Ciné Sinclaire says on its website: »We make queer, feminist porn, and part of being an ethically run organization is behaving in a way that actively invokes social justice principles. Part of that is acknowledging that many folks typically have a harder time finding employment (let alone employment that is positive, pays well, and has job security) because of structural barriers in society. If we purport to represent those communities, we have to be accessible to those communities. As such, if you are someone that has a decent amount of privilege, consider paying more to support us in making our films.«
Sinclaire says that the Pay-What-You-Can strategy is popular among the performers of the studio and that they see the value in this approach. »What I wish people understood when they talk about how porn is ‘dangerous’ is that it can be really positive for lots of people. The problem is the free, stolen content on big websites means that companies that pay their performers fairly can’t produce as much because they don’t see any money from that stolen content. That paves the way for less positive working conditions.«
And so the company bets heavily on the conscience of its audience. If you are confused which price tag you should choose and go to the FAQ of Ciné Sinclaire you will find this: »This is a question only you can answer. We understand that every single person has a different situation, and pass no judgment on that – but here’s a handy guide:
Consider your situation. Do you have a full-time job? Does it pay more or less than minimum wage? Do you have debt because of low wages or high cost of living in an expensive city? Do you have student loans? Do you have money to spend on comforts like new clothes or fancy coffees? Do you spend money on music, the arts, books, audiobooks, podcasts, television, Netflix, etc? Do you have trouble finding work because of your race/gender, or orientation? All of these questions can point you toward making a decision. If you have a bit more, pay a bit more. If you have a bit less, pay a bit less. If all else fails, pay the suggested price!«
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