Name the locale and CED has probably got it covered.
Last time, Bruder discussed such provocative matters as CED’s process (in good, old-fashioned layman’s terms!) of being the middleman between adult-film production companies and broadcasters worldwide; the workings of content licensing; Bruder’s other film corporation, BRI (Bruder Releasing Inc.), a non-porn, mainstream-release distribution company handling everything from children’s movies to slasher titles; and, of course, how Marc fell into this whole crazy business.
This time, we get a bit more intimate.
That is to say we’ll be learning more about the man behind the business as much as the business itself; focusing on Marc’s service in the Vietnam War and as a probation officer in southern California, and how such grueling experiences not only changed his view of life but also deeply instilled in him a strict and (as you’ll soon agree) quite laudable business ethic. Bruder also reveals CED’s exciting expansions into very foreign—and relatively more conservative—territories around the planet; delicate issues pertaining to broadcastegulations; the crucial ongoing battle with piracy and the possible (and quite feasible!) cures for such ongoing problems. Bruder strikes you as a highly upbeat, immensely likeable, incredibly energetic fellow in his fifties who began CED (and BRI) back in 1985, with 2010 marking their 25th year in business. Hooray!
Our chat with Marc was conducted in Bruder’s cozy, nondescript office at CED’s headquarters in beautiful Santa Monica, Calif.
XBIZ: Marc, aside from receiving a BA in psychology from the University of California Northridge, you also have an MBA from Pepperdine University. Yet how much of your business philosophy at both CED and BRI has been self-taught?
MARC BRUDER: Well, aside from the degrees, being in Vietnam for two years and my six-year service as a Los Angeles county deputy probation Officer all kind of gave me some experience to work in our industry. (laughs)
XBIZ: Fair enough. Well, would you mind telling us a little about your service in the Vietnam War?
BRUDER: We were in the first MIUWS (Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Surveillance) Teams, which were attached to SEAL teams, and we were on swift boats or PBRs — Patrol Boat Rivers. Crazy stuff.
And what I’ve come to learn about this industry— and life in general—are that the words “honor,” “ethics,” “loyalty” and “pride” are not just sales buzzwords that you use while wearing shined shoes to try and make a deal. These words are the way you live your life. The way you deal with people. How you should look at your business. When I say our business involves “total disclosure” with our clients. That means that the client can absolutely be next to me while we’re opening up the mail. He sees the reports we see. We remit the producers their royalty and CED retains its fee. That’s it. No questions unanswered. And that’s the way it has to work. And that type of business ethic will also keep you in business; let you sleep well at night, and actually allow you to make friends with your clients. As my mother says, “People like to do business with people they like.” Such a simple adage. Be honest. Have integrity.
XBIZ: And do you have fun with your job?
BRUDER: Are you kidding? I love this job. Love it!It’s exciting. Thank goodness I’m not a probation officer anymore. (laughs)
XBIZ: Which begs yet another question: How about talking a little about being a probation officer?
BRUDER: Well, I ran Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey and Sylmar Juvenile Hall, and my areas of focus were drug intervention and gang intervention.
XBIZ: After serving in Vietnam, how did you wind up in that particular line of work?
BRUDER: With a degree in psychology, you were left with a couple of avenues to go down, and this particular one was paying $38,000 a year— which in 1979 was pretty good pay. So I snapped it up and figured that maybe in six months to a year I’d find a better job—and I wound up staying there six years.
XBIZ: Did the psychology degree help you as a probation officer?
BRUDER: It helped me not go crazy! (laughs) Psychology only gives you a foundation. My expertise was in behavioral modification, and I was fortunate to have been published in the Pepperdine Press while serving as a probation officer. I was also going to pursue a doctorate and teach. But after six years, my attitude was far from healthy: I hated everybody, blew out two marriages and was a horrible human being to be around. You have no personality while you deal with the criminal dregs of society, day in and day out. It takes a stronger person than me to combat such—or maybe a harder, more callous person than me.
So I got out before it got worse. And, of course, today the sociological condition is much worse. Crime will never be contained much less arrested. And within a few years of my quitting, the gangs absolutely controlled Los Angeles; this was during the ‘80s, getting into the ‘90s. The gangs just overran everything. Today the police are mainly maintaining areas where the gangs operate; they’re not curing anything. That’s just the way it is.
XBIZ: Glad it worked out, Marc. Shifting back now to the entertainment world… How do you deal with piracy these days?
BRUDER: We’re regularly tracking down tube sites which are absolutely violating proprietary, copy-written material over which we have exclusive rights, in some cases for either Hot Movies or AEBN or Playboy or any of the systems in which these pirates are violating the rights—rights that have been granted to us through the chain-of-title holder and, in turn, licensed to legitimate broadcasters and exhibitors. And that’s what CED is: We deal with the guy who owns the title. And we’re trying to police entities that are stealing from these people because, not only does it involve stealing from movie producers, but it also involves stealing from the entire industry and CED.
Our own lawyers and our clients’ lawyers have sent out legal stop-cease-and-desist documents and have classaction matters against some of these pirates.
Now, we can spend all of our money trying to chase down these outlaws or we can put up a new marketing system with new systems and platforms that pays the consumer to watch a commercial. In other words, if you access a commercial, your credit card would receive credits or money for watching that particular advertisement; and as a “thank you,” they’ll gift you the movie you choose after you watch the commercial. Producers and program suppliers are paid by a percentage of the advertising fee. IPTV systems are using this process right now, although it’s not developing as fast as we like in the North and South American territories. The consumer can naturally still leave the room while the commercial is running, but he can’t fast-forward or change the channel during the course of that commercial because, after all, he’s going to receive a penny or two on his credit card to watch it.
And after the commercial concludes, you can go to a whole new field or another channel and you choose anything you want—”Die Hard,” “Terminator,” “Deep Throat, “ “Not The Cosby’s XXX,” “Tigers Got Wood,” “Screw My Wife Please”—anything you want that’s available on the next channel that you choose, which is credited as a free event for you because you’ve watched the commercial and were paid to watch the spot. So, the consumer who chooses that movie is associated with 50 percent of the revenue that was attached to the previous commercial watched. That’s how the producer gets paid: from the advertiser’s dollar collected by a major credit card company and posted online. And the producer has a secret PIN number through which he can go see, 24/7, what his movies are generating in terms of ad dollars. And he gets a quarterly check, which he can confirm against his online report.
And that’s how we’re trying to combat piracy in the near future: advertiser support!
XBIZ: Excellent! Out of curiosity, what are some of the major broadcast regulations these days?
BRUDER: There used to be a taboo list which included: not demeaning the clergy; not having animals in the same scene while sex with humans is taking place, which — if animals were in the room — was somehow construed as bestiality… I think some of these have been wiped away now. Obviously, you can’t have underage sex. But today you still can’t have fisting, either. You also still can’t have anything that is too demeaning, such as simulated rape or beating which, even though it might be acted out, comes off as too real and is really one of the most taboo of subjects. Our CED philosophy has always been that there is so much content you can tap into out there, that you don’t need to push the envelope to such an extent, because when you do something like that, you’re doing nothing but hurting yourself and the whole industry.
XBIZ: Is there a geographical area into which CED still wishes to tap?
BRUDER: We’re pretty much on every corner of the planet with adult programming in areas and venues that will allow adult movies. In Israel, South Korea and Australia it has to be soft; they won’t take XXX—and we’d like to change that. It all depends on the venue. The Philippines is the same way. In the hotels and on the Internet, however, you may be able to get away with a more graphic version of the exhibited programming. Geographically speaking, each demographical region has to be evaluated and then attended to and provided with the kind of programming which will work and not create problems for that area. But that’s just this planet. We’re looking beyond that now. (laughs) I want the Pay Per View rights on Branson’s interplanetary flights. But he’s a visionary. I’m just a sales guy. (laughs)
XBIZ: What about Latin America?
BRUDER: Well, in the case of Sky Direct TV in Brazil, they have a channel called Sex Zone, and CED is the exclusive adult program supplier to Sex Zone. They just recently launched an HD version of their analog channel in Brazil; it’s the first HD channel which Latin America has ever launched, and we’re proud to be one of the suppliers of one of those channels— along with National Geographic, A&E and HBO, which are other HD channels they’ve recently launched. In Mexico, a very successful channel there is called TV HOT, which is Direct TV Mexico’s adult channel that CED supplies exclusively. CED supplies all of the major and secondary lodging suppliers; and with many of these hotel systems, CED maintains contractual monthly content output arrangements, where they take a certain amount of adult movies from our producers and studios each month in order to fill up their broadcast schedules.
XBIZ: And where do you think the technological future of this business lies, Marc? Is it IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)?
BRUDER: I don’t think set-top boxes or external devices are the keys. I think when the television manufacturers in Asia and around the world start incorporating the IPTV technology into their actual TV sets—so that when you plug the TV into the wall and your Internet, along with every other station and channel which comes up from around the world, will be immediately available—that’s the real key to combating piracy. That’s the future, and I think that’s the way our programming is ultimately going to get to consumers. And at that point, we’ll be able to control adult programming a lot better than we are today. It’s definitely going to give Cable and DTH a run for their money as a new method of delivering programming to the home.
There are already about 80 companies we represent who have supported the IPTV system. In fact, within two or three months we’ll have it where the consumer can get on, do his subscription fee, swipe his credit card and watch a bunch of adult clips on his cell phone and transfer those anywhere he wants to; it’s called 4HOTtv (www.4hottv.com), and CED is very supportive of this new mobile platform.
IPTV, by the way, filters the pirating tube sites, which will NOT be able to get through the IPTV box. It filters out the guys who don’t have rights. Currently, maybe 15,000 boxes are in the U.S. marketplace. In the first quarter of 2010, adult will launch on this IPTV system. Within a year to two—maybe three because of this trying economy—we’ll see IPTV as a good force. I don’t think it’s going to put Cable or Backyard Dish or Direct TV out of business, but it will have a foothold in the marketplace—and we’ll see it grow. That’s my hope. That’s my thought.
XBIZ: And what about the future of our industry in general?
BRUDER: All in all, I think our industry is in good shape. It’s got more intelligent people in it today; they’re more business-oriented and understand how the world economy relates to their industry. People will survive. People will go away. New people will come into the game.
Innovative producers like Jeff Mullen & Scott David of X-play with their XXX TV parodies hit a major chord, as have companies like Wildlife with their reality series “Screw My Wife Please!” and Nectar with “Tiger’s Got Wood” from Charlie Z. And studios like Zero Tolerance, Wicked, Digital Playground, Adam & Eve, Third Degree, In-X-Cess, Oh Man Studios, Marc Dorcel, Swank, Metro, Sin City, Kick Ass, Coast To Coast, Arrow, Colossal, Smash, Legend, Red Light District, Combat Zone, Mile High, Diabolic, Evil Angel, Pinko, Pink Visuals, Caballero, Teravision, S&S Entertainment, Acid Rain, and many others, they’ll all survive and grow because they’ve identified special niches and desirable categories—and they’re all run by smart businessmen!
Lastly, I strongly believe that, as long as we stay current with the new trends and continue being a good service supplier, we’ll have a position for CED in the next millennium.