Exec Seat: Eddie Arenas, Naughty America
Meet Eddie Arenas, Naughty America’s CEO. Arenas joined the the Southern California company in 2005 after work in mainstream advertising and postproduction.
Five years later, in 2010, he rose to the chief executive position.
XBIZ sat down with Arenas to find out more about him and what’s new at Naughty America.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult industry?
ARENAS: I’ll try to make it short and sweet. I used to work at an ad agency for eight years in the 1990s and loved it. We unfortunately were bought out by a conglomerate that decided to shut the agency down, an agency that had been around for 100 years.
Weeks later, I was offered a job at a postproduction house that specialized in Final Cut Pro.
Final Cut Pro was still very new and clients were skeptical about its performance so we still used Avid. And that was great because it allowed me to not only work on both platforms, I began to learn about compression, DVD authoring and all that other good stuff that Apple was offering as a part of the suite.
Only bad thing about working there was the owner was a tightwad and didn’t like to give out raises. So after three years of 80-90 hour work weeks, I decided to come back to San Diego, where I grew up and went to school.
When I got back to San Diego, I unplugged for three months to mentally and physically reboot. After the three months, I was on Craigslist looking for work and came across a Naughty America ad looking for an editor. I went in for the interview and was hired on the spot.
Once I got here, I realized there was something really special about this place, the mission, the brand and most importantly, the ownership.
They really do treat their employees like gold and it made me want to work that much harder for them. So armed with my production, postproduction and compression experience, we improved the product dramatically and began to see the results of having great, quality content.
Eight years later, I’m running the company and with help from my mentor, the founder and my entire team. We continue to grow year to year. I love my team … they’re truly amazing!
XBIZ: What’s a typical workday like?
ARENAS: I’m very involved in the day-to-day operations, so everyday is unique and different. From data analysis to strategy development, I’m always doing something and rarely at my desk. However, I do plan to wean myself off the day to day and focus more on B2B in 2013.
XBIZ: What defines Naughty America and make it stand out from the rest?
ARENAS: Naughty America is known for its original content and the brand itself. The founder did an amazing job developing the core essence of the brand, the values and the content that supports the network.
We always say our Naughty America content/fantasies are a “slice of life” with a little tongue and cheek added on, and that’s what is always captured in our content. I think that’s what makes our brand so successful, our ability to connect with our audience on a much deeper level.
I also believe our content is for the masses. We know there’s money to be made in other niches, but we want to focus on what we’re really great at —developing and creating original content that connects with the consumer. We also take great pride that our content is free from degradation of the models in any way, shape or form. It’s one of those values the owner instilled very early on and we’ve carried on those values today.
One thing we’re doing is remastering the older content and encoding them to current file types. It’s a long, painful process having to re-ingest, re-edit and re-encode the old media, but our members love that we’re doing that for them.
Naughty America continues to grow, and we are very excited about the future and what it holds for us. We’re working on a pretty big project that is gonna take our company to the “next level” ... we’re really exciting about it.
XBIZ: How many brands does Naughty American own and operate?
ARENAS: We currently have 37 subbrands under the Naughty America umbrella and try to incorporate a new one every other month to keep things fresh ... new and fresh is always good.
We also own and operate six sites that are not associated with Naughty America: Tonight’s Girlfriend, Naughty Americans, College SugarBabes, MILF SugarBabes, Perfect Fucking Strangers and Amateurs Raw. And we also own and operate a gay network called Suite 703.
Tonight’s Girlfriend is by far the most successful of these brands. We launched it a couple of years ago and it continues to grow every single week. We really believed this concept would revolutionize the way content was shot and it did. I believe we were one of the first studios to use DSLRs, like the Canon 7D, to shoot content. We are extremely grateful and thankful for the accolades we’ve received for its esthetics and overall concept, not to mention an XBIZ award.
XBIZ: What is Naughty America’s all-time bestseller? And why is that?
ARENAS: My Friends Hot Mom continues to be our best and most effective subbrand, and it has been for a very long time. We offer every type of girl and incorporate them into our Naughty America fantasies, like Naughty Bookworms, for example, but our bread and butter continues to be the MILF. There’s just something sexy about an older woman who knows what she’s doing. My First Sex Teacher is a close second.
XBIZ: What sector of the online adult business is driving the market these days?
ARENAS: Live is obviously big right now and will continue to be, but in my eyes, mobile and tablet is where we will be spending a lot of effort and resources. Giving the user a unique experience no matter which device that person is on is going to be huge. I’m also a big believer in getting the user involved in some of the decisions as it relates to content development and creation.
My experience and observation over the past eight years tell me that watching adult content is still a very intimate experience. Yeah, there are few folks on the forums that chat with each other, and yes there are couples who watch it to spice up their sex lives, but for the most part people want to take care of a primal need and move on with their day. I don’t know of many guys who would hang around and jerk-off in front of each other while watching porn. However, if given the opportunity, they will participate in helping improve the content and/or experience. And that’s great because it gives them a vested interest in the product/service they’re paying for and still be anonymous.
XBIZ: Where is most of your business coming from?
ARENAS: We’re primarily an online business so most of it is coming from affiliates who push traffic to the Naughty America site and our SEO/SEM efforts and organic search/type-in traffic. We’ve been around for a long time and have built up that brand cache, which helps tremendously with that type-in traffic.
In 2013, one of my goals is extend the Naughty America reach on a global level and look for opportunities that will help facilitate that. That’s what great about our brand ... it’s palatable enough where it could cross over to the mainstream yet still implies who we are and what we’re about.
XBIZ: In the eight years in the adult business, do you think the industry has matured greatly?
ARENAS: I think the industry has matured, but I don’t think it’s matured greatly. What’s maturing greatly is the world around us and how media is being consumed. But at the end of the day right now, it’s about brand building and doing it bigger, better, faster. I do believe the industry will mature as we move from what we as studios want to produce to what the consumer wants produced.