opinion

A Decade of Development

Danni Ashe
Editor's note: A recent question submitted to Danni Ashe's "ask danni" column in XBiz World Magazine asked "Has the industry changed for the better or worse over the past 10 years, and why?" Here's what she had to say:

I believe the last 10 years has greatly changed the adult industry for the better. We can all point to events that might have had negative consequences, but in response, I would point to the overwhelmingly positive factors like strong growth in worldwide demand for adult content, the decline of cultural barriers, the skills of incredibly talented people having been sharpened by real business challenges, and most importantly, the advancement of digital media and distribution technologies radically lowering costs and increasing production values.

The industry, at least the Internet side of it, when I first entered it, was absolutely wild. In fact Greg Clayman (CEO, VS Media) and I used to refer to it as the Wild Wild West. The thing that was great about being a pioneer, so to speak, was that you couldn't really make many mistakes. Everything we tried was "a first," so there was little risk of someone calling me up and saying "Danni, that's the dumbest thing I've ever seen." The best thing about the early days was that it was perfect time for innovation — and innovate we did.

The regular delivery of original feature videos with photo sets — the naked joke, the virtual lap dance, live video programming, the model directory, adult auctions — are all concepts that have been mimicked on many sites but were first popularized on Danni.com. We also allowed girls to express their creativity and real personalities, not only through photos and video, but through columns, interviews, diaries, etc. We are developing newly innovative ways to showcase the talents of models today. Oftentimes we even put them behind the camera and cultivated their vision for great content. These were all things that the adult Internet industry allowed that couldn't have been done in the industry when print publishing or traditional video production was the primary means of reaching fans or customers.

Today, the adult Internet industry certainly looks and acts more like a mature business than it did 10 years ago. Competition has made the acquisition and retention of members much more difficult, and we find that we now allocate working capital towards marketing and user outreach. Back in the old days, a Wall Street Journal cover or an appearance on "The Howard Stern Show" got me more exposure than I could effectively buy because there were far fewer people or companies vying for placement.

But as digital media technologies continue to evolve, new opportunities are created. We have high-quality distribution of our videos via handheld devices in the United States and Europe. Our reach into the DVD arena and television distribution is expanding, and we believe these additional outlets continue to develop our brand and translate into new customers for our website. So while the dynamics constantly change, the industry is healthy and lucrative for companies that reliably and sustainably create value for their customers and affiliates, but also innovate. We like to think that we are one of those companies.

So, I believe the industry is far better off today than it was 10 years ago, and I can honestly say that the breadth of talents, skills and strategic insight that are required to remain successful are much more abundant.

Send your questions to danni@xbiz.com for possible inclusion in XBiz World.

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