Adult content has been around for a long time. Even in the 19th century — long before there were large adult entertainment companies that made millions of dollars — there was adult content in the form of nude photographs, sexually explicit illustrations and erotic novels. But technologically, much has changed over the years — and these days, adult content is more diverse and more plentiful than it has ever been. Profiting from it, however, requires a lot of business savvy, and in order to assess the state and the future of adult content, XBIZ contacted some well-known execs for the adult entertainment industry.
It’s no secret that free adult content is quite plentiful on the Internet these days, and the challenge that adult companies face is providing content that consumers will want to pay for. Michael H. Klein, president of LFP, said that because so much free adult content is available online, he is seeing a trend of adult companies going out of their way to convince consumers that their paid content is of a much higher quality.
Consumers are acquiring many different types of erotica in 2011, and whatever their tastes, they are demanding material that isn’t generic, Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas says.
“What you find is that with all the free content roaming around on the Internet these days, the type of content that is being shot seems to be more quality productions, whether through comedy and drama parodies or strong features,” Klein observed. “These distinguish themselves from the mostly poor-quality movies that you find for free on the tubes and are something that people, hopefully, recognize that you need to pay for in order to see something of this level.”
That high-quality trend among adult companies, Klein said, includes 3D productions: “3D features are starting to take off, (although) the market is not as strong in the U.S. right now as you see in Europe. But HD took a while to get off the ground, and nowadays, it will be silly to not have an HD version of any movie that you make. So maybe 3D will go that same route.”
Adult companies, Klein added, are not only trying to show consumers that paid content has superior production values to free content — they are also demonstrating that it is more interesting. And adult parodies, according to Klein, are part of that trend, which LFP helped to popularize with Hustler Video’s “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin?” (a spoof of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin). “I would like to think that we were one of the leaders of the current parody craze, starting with ‘Who’s Nailin’ Paylin’’ and continuing with all the other parodies of movies and TV shows and celebrities that we have produced since,” Klein asserted. “We now release at least one or two parody movies a month, and you see a lot of other studios getting into the parody world as well since they recognize the success of them.”
Allison Vivas, president/CEO of Pink Visual and Top-Bucks.com, also cited parodies as one of the most viable adult content trends of the last few years. “The primary new trend in adult content is the revival of the parody movie and its rebirth as a more ‘literal’ form of parody,” Vivas explained. “What I mean by that is that in the old days, while the titles of porn videos often referenced mainstream works like, say ‘On Golden Blonde’ or ‘Hannah Does Her Sisters,’ the thematic content of the porn parody might have little to do with the original movie referenced in the title. The modern porn parody is more of a direct parody of the original, with characters, plot lines and themes that are a direct reflection of the original work being parodied.”
Vivas said that while there has been a trend towards high production values in the adult industry, amateur content is still in demand. “From a behind-the-scenes perspective, adult content production has evolved tremendously over the last 5-10 years,” Vivas noted. “Highquality productions keep raising the bar for production value with camera, lighting, location, performers and more. On the other hand, the demand for amateur content remains, but also has evolved into more amateur quality. For example, in the early 2000s, pro-am content was largely in demand, and that evolved into a demand for reality content — which still had an amateur angle. Now that consumers have moved beyond that, we see more and more actually homemade amateur footage being put out there — and the pro-am has evolved into the exgirlfriend-type content, which still brings that feeling of reality to the consumer.”
Consumers, Vivas added, are acquiring many different types of erotica in 2011, and whatever their tastes, they are demanding material that isn’t generic. “I think the consumer is becoming more exposed to a variety of types of porn and is enjoying that variety, from gonzo to POV to amateur, proam and porn star,” Vivas said. “That variation itself is appealing because the stimulation becomes unpredictable, but in general, consumers are drawn to a certain energy of the production and the sex. The capturing of real sexual energy, whether it’s in a highquality production or completely homegrown, will be the consistent key. As production values increase, it will be more difficult to fake that energy.”
During the early years of the Internet, adult websites were dominated by photos. Many of the adult sites of the late 1990s and early 2000s were essentially online versions of the physical “nudie magazines” sold in brick-andmortar adult bookstores. But as online connection speeds increased and streaming technology became increasingly sophisticated, video became the norm for adult websites — and according to AdultCentro. com CEO Stan Fiskin, online adult video will only continue to improve in quality.
“Adult content in terms of the market share has moved from being primarily imagebased to being now primarily video-based proportionally with the broadband accessibility around the world,” Fiskin said. “After that, it has been definitely moving in the HD direction — and HD has now become the standard for most top web adult brand names, while the DVD/SD is still dominating the market due to the amount of standard-definition content that was produced in years past and poor Blu-ray penetration.”
Exactly how consumers will access adult content in the future remains to be seen, but in 2011, many adult execs agree that DVDs will be taking more and more of a back seat to online and mobile/wireless content. According to Klein, “The future of adult delivery of content will be online and mobile devices. Online will also include the so-called Smart TVs that have Internet capability. Soon, everyone will be using their TVs to go online to check emails, check out their stocks and watch whatever movie they want. Mobile phones and tablets like the iPad will also expand the delivery of adult content. DVDs are still around — and there is a loyal customer base that still enjoys watching their movies on DVDs — but everyone knows that the DVD marketplace is shrinking and needs to recognize other forms of delivery of their content.”
Vivas asserted: “Over the next three years, we believe that mobile consumption of adult content will become the primary means of viewing, followed by desktop use, TV and then DVD. The mobile platform brings both privacy and convenience to watching adult entertainment; now, instead of trying to find time in the home office to view adult content on the family computer, individuals and couples can enjoy their private time comfortably in their bedrooms, hotel rooms, or other places at the moment of their convenience.”
And Fiskin said: “I think the death of physical media is imminent. I think that the trends we have seen in the last couple of years will continue with much more content accessed and consumed via portable devices, including smartphones and tablets, while physical media will become very marginal once broadband spans most of the world, as the broadband penetration and physical media usage are inversely proportional.”
Adult content has come a long way since the underground nude photography of the 19th century and the grainy silent adult videos of the 1910s and 1920s, and in the digital age, technology is evolving more rapidly than ever. No one can say for sure what the future holds, but technologically, there is no denying that this is a fascinating, albeit competitive, time to be producing and selling adult content.