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A Live Chat with VS Media

A Live Chat with VS Media

May 24, 2007
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" Focus on the end-user experience. "

Gregory Clayman is the CEO of VS Media, which turned 10 years old last December. To celebrate the anniversary, Greg and his longtime Video Secrets partner, Chuck Tsiamis, threw a party at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. It was one of the great bashes of the year, and everyone who is anyone in the industry was there to honor a company that lots of people work with in one way or another, and everyone respects.

Flirt4Free is the Video Secrets flagship website, but the company also white labels premium live cam websites for Playboy (playboylive.com), Homegrown Video (homegrowncams.com) and Falcon Studios (falconlive.com).

As successful as VS has been over the years, however, Clayman believes that the best is yet to come, and that the future of adult entertainment is firmly in his court: live one-on-one interaction over fat broadband pipes. He is certainly not alone in this belief and optimism. Across the board, people in and out of the industry are bringing live products and services online at a record pace; whether social networking, live cam or dating sites, the promise of the Internet as a tool of immediate and intimate interaction is a reality.

But Clayman also believes, with an almost evangelical passion, that Video Secrets has an edge in the live cam sector of the business that will continue to hold them in good stead as the market grows and technology improves. In a live non-video chat with XBIZ recently, he talked about the future of the business, the future of his business, and the reasons why he feels so optimistic about the future.

XBIZ: You mentioned in your keynote address at the XBIZ Hollywood Conference that all adult webmasters needed to add live content to their offerings. Why do you feel that way?

Clayman: It's simple, really. If affiliates are not pushing live content, they are missing the boat, because what live content does is it provides stickiness, by which I mean recurring customers, to their websites. It appears to us that people are somewhat tired of static content. They want to see live content that is constantly changing, unique, and tends to be customized around each individual client. If the affiliate's customers enjoy live content, they are going to keep coming back to see what the next live experience will be. And our job, goal, mission and everything we do at Flirt4Free is to provide the best live experience to the live user possible. And we know that if we do this, the customer will return, the affiliate will make more money, and everyone will be satisfied in the end.

XBIZ: Do you have a core business philosophy?

Clayman: Yes. Focus on the end-user experience. Like any other business, mainstream or adult, when you take care of the customer, the customer takes care of you.

XBIZ: There are all sorts of variations of the live cam experience. What's the VS niche, if you will?

Clayman: Our niche is to provide not necessarily a large quantity of live models online, but a focus on the quality of the models, the technology and the end-user experience. We focus on consistency of quality, so that if you were to go from one room to the next room to the next room on Flirt4Free, you will notice that the quality is very similar.

XBIZ: How do you maintain that quality?

Clayman: One of the things we do is to put our broadcasters through a rigorous, one-week long bandwidth test before we let them go live to make sure that the quality experience is there. And even then, even if they pass that bandwidth test and they are live, if their bandwidth falls below a certain level, Flirt4Free is automatically set to kick them offline. By bandwidth, I mean the quality of the connection between their studio and our central system.

XBIZ: Who are your broadcasters?

Clayman: Broadcasters are studios; our business model is based on studios that have a manager. These studios are independent contractors of ours that are professionally owned, run and managed. Some cam companies are solely based on individuals, but we use the studio model, which we have found only enhances the end-user experience, which is of course the most important consideration for Flirt4Free and Video Secrets.

XBIZ: Where are your studios located?

Clayman: Currently, we have over 400 studios worldwide, from the Czech Republic, Russia and Canada to the U.S and elsewhere.

XBIZ: How does a studio join the VS network?

Clayman: If a studio wants to work with us, they can contact us directly and we will put them through some testing. Before anyone goes online, we make sure that all the proper documentation (2257, model releases, etc) is in order. Once they provide us with all the proper information, we then allow them to broadcast over the Flirt4Free network. One of the provisions of being on the Flirt4Free network is that you cannot be on any other network. Also, a studio can have their own website to market their girls on our network, but there cannot be any pay-per-view live upsell within their own website unless it is Flirt4Free.

XBIZ: Have you seen an increase in live cam studios?

Clayman: Yes, we have definitely seen an increase in the number of [production] studios wanting to broadcast on the Internet.

XBIZ: Why would someone interested in making content choose live cam content over pre-recorded?

Clayman: One of the beautiful things about the live cam business model is that we don't have the intellectual property and copyright problems that others do. It is not a recorded experience, but an experience where the end user directs the show. No one can pirate a one time unique experience.

XBIZ: Why should they work with you over another live cam company?

Clayman: First, one of the benefits of working solely with Flirt4Free is that the broadcaster can make a lot more money with us than with any other company out there, because we treat our broadcasters as a part of the team. Also, because we are quality-driven and as professionally run as any company in the business, we have the opportunity to open a lot more doors in the corporate mainstream world than some of our competitors. I can get a meeting with Yahoo, I can get a meeting with MySpace; I can get a meeting with anybody. Also, we have multiple co-location facilities around the world, and are set to provide the best quality now and into the future. But most importantly, there is nothing that can replace longevity, which is the one thing that Video Secrets has. Over the years, while so many other people have been chasing the money or the next business model we have always stuck to our core business and focused on what we do best. And of course, we have huge repeat business. More than half of the customers using our service are so happy, so satisfied with the experience that they come back for more.

XBIZ: Is there a limit to how many studios you will incorporate into your network? If so, how you will decide when to stop adding more?

Clayman: The business model, like all business models, is based on supply and demand. We will not over-saturate Flirt4Free, or add new studios unless there is a demand, because if the demand is not there and we over saturate, then the models will not make as much money and they will be unhappy. Because we only use the most professional studios and broadcasters, we want to treat them with the highest amount of respect. If you don't keep track of supply and demand, you end up turning off studios, and that's not what we're all about.

XBIZ: So where do you see demand headed in the next several years?

Clayman: The future is very bright for the live marketplace, which we believe is just coming of age. Over the past few years, the bandwidth and other factors involved with viewing live entertainment has all fallen into place. The marketplace has caught up with us, so that over the next five to 10 years more and more people will be coming online looking for professional live interaction. We are convinced that we will be dealing with tremendous growth over that time period, which means there will be more demand, which means we will be adding more broadcasters to our network. The only obstacle at this point is to have the end user have as fast a connection as we do, because we can only be as fast as their connection.

XBIZ: Any changes to your core business model, such as adding social networking capabilities?

Clayman: No, we are not interested in adding social networking. There are plenty of companies out there that allow people to meet each other, but it is not something we promote in any way. We are more like a strip club. You see a performer, you have some fun and then you go home. Our growth will be technological. We plan on taking our applications and putting them into different mediums, such as hotel networks and cable networks all around the world.

XBIZ: Before we run, what are you most excited about for the next year or so?

Clayman: I am excited about the massive mainstream marketing push that we are about to begin. We are extremely proud of what we do and the quality of the product we provide. We are going to push the mainstream envelope; we are going to get out there and talk on mainstream panels. We are going to enter into strategic partnerships with mainstream companies looking to get into the live marketplace, and we are going to continue to grow as our acceptance within the mainstream marketplace grows. Looking further into the future, in the next three to five years, we think that live cams in hotels will happen full on, as well as with cable companies and any other global, satellite- driven mediums.

XBIZ: One last question. What do you appreciate most about how you have run your own business? What do you pat yourself on the back about?

Clayman: We stayed the course. If we had changed course, we would not be as well prepared and strategically placed as we are today, but we stayed the course and now everyone is reaping the rewards, from the affiliate webmaster and the consumer to the studios. That's what I am most proud of. It has taken us a decade to perfect the live business model, and now it is time for us to really spread our wings.


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