Marketing Tranny Material
Transsexual videos, videos featuring biological men who have transformed themselves into women, are a robust part of the adult market. Sales are steady and the main customer base for tranny video is, perhaps surprisingly, the same as the rest of the adult market: straight men.
Transsexual performer Gia Darling has been in the adult business for 10 years.
"There is a high demand for the product. I think it's because there's so much stuff out there, people are looking for new thrills and new things," Darling told XBIZ. "The whole transsexual market is 'within the norm' but it has a bit of a twist on it. I think that's why it's so popular. Ten years ago I was new, and now everybody has it now that they see how marketable and profitable it is."
As for the online realm, Darling said the profitability is similar.
"On my website, I have about 60 percent trials that would go to full memberships, and they stay on for quite a while. Most of the people who tried it out became a full-on member. It's been very good, especially over the past few years. The Internet adds that extra confidentiality aspect. People don't have to walk in a store and buy a movie."
Evil Angel Production Consultant Karen Stagliano said that some of Evil Angel's directors are successful with tranny material as well, including Joey Silvera's 'Rogue Adventures' series, which will be releasing edition No. 30.
"Joey also has a she-male site and he does well with it. We're revamping the sites to be a bit more user-friendly, and I think the numbers are going to go way up. And then [director Rocco Siffredi] has three or four."
Darling also produces transsexual videos for her own production company, and said she has never had to compromise her pricing to move product.
"I will occasionally run specials, but that's different," Darling said. "For seven years I've been able to maintain my value and my marketability [of my videos]. And people have grown to recognize my product. If people weren't into it, I don't think other companies who are putting movies together and selling them would be doing it, because they've seen how marketable it's become."
Stagliano said Evil Angel puts out tranny movies on a fairly regular basis, and in addition to director Silvera, director Nacho Vidal also sells the titles very well.
"We actually sell them for a few dollars more. If you've got Brazilian she-males in them, they tend to have bigger numbers. An American one that has a bigger name like [transsexual performer] Vanity or something, that'll be huge. And because we sell them for a little bit more, the money coming in is a little bit more.
Steve Scott, president of Third World Media, also has had success with tranny series.
"We're pretty well-known for our transsexual series, including 'She-Male Samba Mania,' our very long-running series that's up to No. 31 in the next few weeks," Scott said. "We also have 'Little Asian Transsexuals,' another long-running series, up to No. 8 already."
Anh Tran, co-founder of online adult DVD rental service WantedList.com, also agrees that the main market for tranny videos is: "Straights, man. Trannys are all about the straight market."
Darling notes that the fan base for transsexual movies is no different from that of straight movies, and marketing to them is similar. "You market it the exact same way you would market any dramatic straight adult film," Darling said. "Gay guys might be attracted to an effeminate male, but they aren't attracted to feminine body parts. It's definitely more a heterosexual type of guy who'd be interested. And we have a lot of women fans as well. For girls, it's a comfortable medium. They might be interested in trying something out with a girl, but because a transsexual has a man's penis, that makes it a comfortable medium for them. There's all kinds of people, but it's mostly heterosexual men."
As a performer, Darling sees fan interest firsthand.
"Adult Expo is one of my biggest chances to socialize with fans. Usually the first fan day, people go from one booth to the next, but then the second day you get people who say, 'Oh my God, I didn't know' in amazement, and you've just turned somebody into a fan. I think people would be open to it if they could be sure nobody would know."
Stagliano noted that his company has seen that the market is made up of men who consider themselves straight men, females, and men who are actively bisexual.
"But we get a lot of men who say they would never consider being gay, or they'd never want to be with a she-male in real life, but there's the curiosity factor of seeing a real feminine person that has a hard, functional dick," Stagliano said. "Some of it's curiosity, some of it's 'Wow, I find it so hot.' A surprising amount will say 'I consider myself a 100 percent straight man.' You get the guys who want to see this big dick, but in the shape of what they can classify in their heads as a female. And then you get the people who just want to see a feminine image that can fuck someone."
Stores looking to add tranny stock — or expand their inventory — should set it up in a separate section.
"If you go into a lot of adult video stores, you'll see that they used to have transsexual with gay, and now they're separating it a bit more, giving [transsexual] its own shelf, because they're seeing how popular it's becoming," Darling said.
Stagliano says that consumers are OK with transsexual content, but they don't like to be tricked.
"That's one thing that we will get a little bit of negative feedback on. They don't want us to throw it out there where they might be enjoying the product, and getting aroused, and then they get shocked and they're no longer aroused by the product. And I can understand that some guys would say that, so we never try to hide it. I doesn't happen in a lot of our movies, but it has happened several times. And we never try to hide the fact that there's going to be a she-male coming out.
Stagliano explains that some consumers may be offended because tranny material still has a bit of stigma attached to it.
"They might have a closed mind to it," Stagliano said. "And there are a lot of people who aren't going to find it sexual, just out of the realm of what turns them on."
Either way, the companies are capitalizing on the straight man, the female, the bisexual man and any other interested parties.