COLT: John Rutherford Talks Shop
COLT Studio Group, with its plethora of brands, has produced all-male erotica for 45 years.
Just recently, it relaunched flagship site COLTStudiogroup.com. XBIZ recently sat down with John Rutherford, COLT Studio Group’s president and creative director, to discuss the overhauled site as well as other company news.
XBIZ: Tell us about the relaunch of ColtStudioGroup.com.
JOHN RUTHERFORD: We have set very lofty goals for the relaunch of COLTStudioGroup.com. This will be a game changer for us. The look, the features and the usability of the site will put COLT in a league of its own in relation to other online properties. We will be taking the new site to market with very compelling consumer promotions and offers that will enable a vast audience to test out the new site. In addition we will be spending a lot of time informing and educating our online affiliate partners. I know that they will be excited to discover this new site and the expected improvement in conversions and sales. All of this while staying true to our well known and trusted brand.
XBIZ: Describe the major changes and your input.
RUTHERFORD: Our design team worked very closely with the design team at Buddy Profits to try and create an amazing site which gives the user easy access to the rich, broad and deep library of the COLT Studio Group content. Since our inception in 1967 as a photography-based studio we felt it was important to allow the end users to experience everything that COLT Studio Group has produced during its 45-year evolution. We feel that the new look and feel gives homage to our body of work while also allowing the users broad access with a more fluid, visual experience across all platforms while staying true to our iconic men and content.
XBIZ: Any mobile plans?
RUTHERFORD: Yes, this new site easily adapts itself across all platforms and was designed with that in mind. The end user will have a seamless navigational experience so they can access our site in the comfort of their own home or on the go. The possibilites are endless.
XBIZ: What new technologies are you adapting/considering?
RUTHERFORD: The new site will be one of the most advanced on the market and will feature a scaffolding framework that will allow for an exceptional dynamic website experience. The content displayed will be dynamic based on the screen resolution of the individual surfer’s screen —always showing the most important content above the browser’s fold. While accomplishing this, we introduced leftright navigation buttons allowing surfers to easily navigate the site instead of scrolling up and down and then selecting a next button. For surfers with large screens, the photos on the home page will maximize to the full screen resolution; and resize appropriately with surfers with small screen resolutions. For COLT Studio Group, this will enable us to highlight and really do justice to the the iconic images that COLT Studio Group is known for. Additionally, the site will dynamically display the number of pages within the context of the site —always displaying updated page results enabling us to show the big content library that we has to offer. Lastly, the site in troduces carousels on several pages. A carousel is a type of website module that will rotate content by surfer commands creating more interactive experiences while reducing vertical scrolling and extra mouse gestures.
XBIZ: As president and creative director, what projects are you directly involved with?
RUTHERFORD: My involvment has always been to oversee the COLT Studio Group image, brand and overall quality of all the content we produce while staying true to our loyal fans and customers. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have an amazing team here who helps me get the job done. As in any business, it is a team effort.
XBIZ: What’s new in the COLT, Buckshot and Olympus movie lines?
RUTHERFORD: We have a full slate of COLT, Buckshot and Olympus productions throughout 2012 scheduled. Our creative team is hard at work creating new and fresh content for each of these lines. We take a very organic approach to development and try and find the best ideas and projects to fit the talent that we have available to us. Whether it be the “clean boys doing dirty things” in a Buckshot feature, the muscle icons of Olympus, or simply the iconic COLT Man in a COLT feature — all of our projects are born out of a desire to deliver content that honor the COLT Studio Group legacy of quality and consistency.
XBIZ: Any 3D plans?
RUTHERFORD: Not as of now. We have never believed in being the first in anything. Ultimately, we want to deliver a fantastic product, period. If a certain project would be enhanced by the presence of 3D we would entertain it, but currently we do not have any projects planned for this effect and our fans and customers have not requested it.
XBIZ: Describe the “COLT Strong” concept and how it’s progressing.
RUTHERFORD: The COLT Strong concept was to demonstrate that the COLT Studio Group team is alive and well and that after being the longest, and most consistent producer in the all-male erotic industry, we were not going to let economic downturn and other distractions take us off course. The last couple of years were very difficult for our industry as a whole and when we saw erroneous information circulating about our company specifially as a leader we decided to make a simple statement. We are COLT Strong and we are doing great.
XBIZ: Describe the progress of the novelty and apparel lines.
RUTHERFORD: After purchasing COLT Studio Group in 2003 we began a partnership with California Exotic Novelties and produced a complete line of toys, gear, apparel and accessories under both COLT and Buckshot brands. Our partners have been a dream to work with —Susan, Al, Jackie and their team at California Exotics are truly a blessing to us. We work very well with their knowledge and guidance in the novelty business. The combination of their expertise and our strong brand make the COLT Gear line a 300-item strong succcess.
XBIZ: Any other brand changes/additions?
RUTHERFORD: For 2012, we have a completely new website, as well as a new range of COLT Leather items and a host of other new products to come later this year.
XBIZ: What new talent will appear in films/video-on-demand?
RUTHERFORD: We have our COLT Men like Bob Hager, Nate Karlton, Carlo Masi and a hand full of other hot, masculine COLT Men working currently, but we always have new COLT Men in the COLT Stable. You’ll just have to keep your eyes peeled!
XBIZ: What’s your strategic plan through the next two years?
RUTHERFORD: Our strategic plan is simply to continue to produce content consistent to the high standard that our customers expect. COLT Studio Group has a legacy of quality, and that is our simple goal each and every day.
XBIZ: What is your take on the gay market’s biggest challenge?
RUTHERFORD: There are many challenges in the marketplace today, I feel that two of the biggest challenges for content producers like ourselves are the weak global economy and piracy. Both of these arenas have had an affect on our bottom line and are something we keep on our eyes and ears on constantly.