Being Approved

Stephen Yagielowicz
One of those "new opportunities" that I have lately been advising adult operators to pursue is the continued expansion of traditional forms of adult content into new media and mainstream markets.

While there is really nothing terribly "new" about expanding your distribution channels, the means by which this expansion becomes acceptable to new venues may be new to some content producers. Specifically, I am referring to producing softcore photo and video content simultaneously with your standard hardcore fare, and doing so with alternative distribution channels in mind.

Many adult video producers already run a second or third camera with specific blocking and editing to produce "cable cuts" that can be marketed to cable and satellite TV channels, among others — and indeed, powerhouse producer Digital Playground reportedly cut more than a dozen versions of Pirates II — each suitable for marketing to a particular audience.

But while smaller producers may not have the resources to distribute numerous versions of every title, an increasing number of them seem willing to make an effort to "tone things down a bit" in order to have softcore iPhone-compatible versions of their titles available directly from the iTunes App Store.

If you've been paying any attention at all, you'll know that the iPhone is credited with being one of the most influential drivers in today's adult landscape, and pursuing as many opportunities of riding this wave as possible will create new players — and perhaps save some old ones…

While a few folks have tried to slip past Apple's adult content restrictions; either by simply hoping for the best and to not be noticed, or by switching out content choices once an app has been approved, other operators are taking the high road and producing legitimate apps that offer quality adult entertainment. Perhaps these offerings are more Maxim than Max Hardcore, but these approved apps nonetheless serve as an effective gateway into the adult brand being promoted.

Think of the app not just as a consumer product, but as a new version of your paysite's tour.

Popular adult actress Sunny Leone provides a perfect example. Her mobile app offers up the star's visual beauty while providing a hook into her brand that will doubtless cause many "bikini wallpaper" viewers to want to see her scorching hardcore performances — making a perfect upsell opportunity and a mainstream-acceptable bridge between app-approved teasers and the ever-profitable "money shot."

This vision of incremental revenue increases is perhaps much more realistic than simply trying to be "The Porn King of the iPhone."

Even the best technology platforms are transient, but once you begin to incorporate small screen shooting and softcore scene blocking into your productions, the distribution possibilities extend far beyond the iPhone to include its contemporaries and its future descendents. Form factors and optimum carrying sizes being what they are; a 480px wide display will be with us for a very long time — even as the formats and encoding technologies, the bit rates and download speed options, the device type and audience expectations continually change — so, shooting for this screen size is a long-term investment.

Once again, this isn't about turning Hustler into Playboy, it's about maximizing the distribution opportunities available from your next production — even if you have to play by someone else's rules to do it. While it in and of itself isn't likely to make you rich, ignoring the potential of mainstream channels such as the App Store will certainly hurt your bottom line and also put your company at a disadvantage, given the realities of today's consumer marketplace. Even if you market your app as a loss leader or break-even proposition, the brand enhancement and perception of earning the "seal of approval" which is bestowed upon apps that are officially listed is something that adult operators may find worthwhile.