Q&A With Gamma Entertainment's Karl Bernard
Karl Bernard grew Gamma Entertainment from a single website in the Golden Year, 1996, to one of the top online adult entertainment companies in the business.
As president of the company, Bernard still is the driving force behind Montrealbased Gamma Entertainment, which markets GammaCash and FameDollars programs.
XBIZ sat down with Bernard and asked him a few questions.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult entertainment biz?
BERNARD: In college, while studying to be a computer engineer, I started using the internet … which was only beginning to become popular. My discovery about how powerful a business tool it would become happened quite by accident. What started out as a hobby has transformed into a business that has partnerships with some of the most accomplished adult industry players and employs hundreds of talented individuals.
XBIZ: Your company is one of the blue-chip brands in the industry. How did you get there?
BERNARD: Since the beginning, we tried to take a professional approach to the business. I remember being in my early 20’s and wearing suits to tradeshows and industry events while everyone else were wearing t-shirts and jeans. From the start, our approach was to build a credible business and be there for the long haul.
We’ve grown Gamma into what it is now through our partnerships and alliances. This was possible because we have always taken an honest and transparent approach with everyone we do business with. We’ve never entered a deal with someone that we wouldn’t have taken if we were on the other side of the fence. This has served us well because our reputation is one of the things I am the most proud of.
XBIZ: What makes Gamma stand out from a crowded market?
BERNARD: Our core strength has always been technology and building relationships. We’ve successfully capitalized on those strengths to identify some of the strongest brands in the marketplace and developed solutions that allows our partners to focus on producing the best content while we handle the everyday logistics of operating and managing a successful website.
We’ve also been strong believers in vertical integration; investing in developing and keeping every aspect of our website operation and marketing in-house. We do not outsource anything. Hosting, content packaging, and 24/7 customer service are all controlled within our ecosystem. Our development team also handles our own CMS, processing gateway, affiliate program platform and email marketing solutions. Having a tight control on these aspects has allowed us to integrate them securely together into the best money-generating platform for adult website operations.
All of this wouldn’t be possible if a strong corporate culture didn’t exist within our employees. I am very pleased to say that most of them are very passionate about their work and that’s what makes us successful.
XBIZ: How many customers do you have? How many employees? And how many brands does the company have?
BERNARD: Our 160 employees operate multiple business units that all have different customers. Each of those business units handles a stable of brands under their respective affiliate programs. We probably handle a portfolio of around 300 websites built around a two dozen major brands.
XBIZ: Where is most of your business coming from?
BERNARD: Most of our energy is focused on operating membership-based sites.
XBIZ: In the 16-plus years in the adult business, do you think the industry has matured greatly?
BERNARD: The industry has had a radical change. I remember how porn was part of the three untouchable industries that would come out unscathed every time there was an economic downturn, the other two being gambling and alcohol. In recent years, the adult industry has proven not to be immune to recession. This is all due in fact that there is an abundant source of free content that surfers take advantage of. Piracy has been detrimental but, in the same breath, it forced the companies within the industry to innovate to stay afloat and remain significant.
XBIZ: What’s a typical day like?
BERNARD: Over the last two years, most of my time has been spent on managing growth. When growing from 75 people to 160, there’s a lot of work that needs to be funneled into managing change and implementing structure in place to work efficiently. So I have to say, most of my time is spent meeting with the various people that report directly to me. I’m lucky to have a good team around me that are more public than I am.
XBIZ: Any last words?
BERNARD: Treat others as you would want to be treated!