Company Profile: AEBN’s Empire Still Growing
In 2011, the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network, or AEBN, is celebrating its 12th anniversary.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based video-on- demand powerhouse has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 12 years; AEBN now offers a vast online adult library that boasts over 100,000 titles and includes material from at least 1,500 different studios. And worldwide, AEBN has more than 10 million subscribers.
Indeed, AEBN has come a long way since its humble beginnings. When CEO Scott Coffman founded AEBN in 1999, the adult Internet was still the Wild Wild West — and video streaming technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is today. Coffman, however, realized that adult VOD had enormous possibilities, and that realization made AEBN huge.
“When we started, we were capturing movies from VHS tapes — and many looked and sounded pretty bad,” recalled Jerry Anders, AEBN’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Also, back then, we were only streaming 512k files at the highest. Fast forward 12 years, so to speak—and now, we are streaming and selling up to 6000k files in true HD.”
Any discussion of AEBN’s accomplishments inevitably includes some mention of the enormity of its VOD library, but Anders is quick to stress that both quality and quantity are important to AEBN. “The library is ever-growing, but honestly, we’re more interested in quality over quantity these days,” Anders asserted. “We still want to be the world’s largest online library, but we’re not counting like we used to. We have learned that it is more important to show our members great-quality porn rather than overwhelm him/her with every minute of porn ever shot on a sound stage or in a garage.”
AEBN’s adult empire has expanded in many ways over the years. In addition to launching PornoTube.com (one of the top adult tube sites) in 2006, AEBN branched out into adult dating with the launch of xPeeps.com in 2006 and the BDSM-oriented SocialKink.com the following year. And in 2009, AEBN unveiled RealTouch, a pleasure device for men that is designed to be used while viewing adult content (either straight or gay).
AEBN has grown considerably in the gay market since 1999. In early 2007, AEBN announced a merger with the San Francisco-based NakedSword, the adult Internet’s most successful gay VOD provider; that merger gave AEBN access to a wealth of titles from Falcon Entertainment, COLT Studio Group and other well-known gay studios. In 2009, AEBN merged with another major San Francisco-based gay company: Raging Stallion Studios — and late last year, AEBN acquired Falcon Entertainment, merging Falcon and Raging Stallion.
“We have always made it a top priority to stay relevant in the gay market,” Anders explained. “However, the most significant advances came when our family grew by merging with other strong companies who specialize in this segment. These mergers came with people who truly understand the market, and we are blessed to have them. [NakedSword CEO] Tim Valenti is brilliant and has done amazing things with his company, NakedSword.com.”
Another area in which AEBN has expanded along the way is the mobile/wireless sector. AEBN unveiled the mobileoriented Xobile.com in 2005, and last year, AEBN announced that its Xobile platform was getting a major redesign.
“AEBN has been actively targeting the mobile market for several years through our Xobile property,” Anders noted, “and we have seen growing numbers year after year. Xobile supports thousands of mobile handsets, smartphones and devices today.
With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and portable devices being adopted in the market in the past year and the projected growth in 2011, we expect to see continued success with that demographic as users’ media consumption habits change with the new technologies that are becoming available.”
Anders continued: “The mobile phone market alone is projected to reach 1.8 billion units this year, and worldwide, the smartphone market will grow 49 percent in 2011 with vendors expecting to ship over 450 million smartphones this year. It is estimated that 51 percent of all money spent on personal computing devices in 2011 will be for smartphones and tablets. This certainly indicates a growing market with mobile and smartphones, but these devices are only one segment of a growing market of connected devices from the smartphone to the tablet to the connected or smart TV and even set-top boxes and gaming consoles. These are all platforms that today’s user is wanting to access content through, and our goal is to make our content library accessible to our users through as many devices as possible.”
AEBN’s main website, AEBN.net, is available in seven different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, Italian and Portuguese. Anders pointed out that while the U.S. remains AEBN’s strongest market, it has also done extremely well in Europe and parts of Asia. “Of course, the U.S. is where we are doing the most business,” Anders said. “However, we are very proud of what we are doing in Germany, France, Japan, Spain, the U.K. and many more places. We have been very aggressive in sales over the years. If there is a young webmaster in Norway putting up a legitimate adult site this weekend, chances are we are calling him to partner with us on Monday. There is no webmaster too small.”
From VCRs to DVD players to webcams, the adult entertainment industry has a long history of promoting cuttingedge technologies—and AEBN’s success with online VOD has inspired other companies (both adult and mainstream) to make VOD a high priority. But Anders emphasized that there is no room for complacency at AEBN; the company’s goal, he said, is to keep growing and forging ahead while maintaining its loyal international customer base.
“There are companies that have sites that are near replicas of what we do, so it’s pretty obvious we have influenced them,” Anders observed. “If we have done something influential, hopefully it has been how we treat our customers. We have never been interested in quick scams. Many have been coming back week after week for over a decade.”