Over the years, the adult entertainment industry has demonstrated its technology-savvy nature by being quick to profit from everything from VHS tapes to DVDs to dial-up Internet. Now, in 2013, the evolution of technology marches on; that includes the ways in which adult video-on-demand content is being disseminated, and with all the technological options comes a wide variety of VOD content for a wide variety of tastes.
James Cybert, director of business development for the Philadelphia-based adult VOD giant HotMovies.com, is observing an abundance of technological evolution as well as evolving tastes. “The VOD market — and the adult market in general — has seen a lot of changes in the last five years. 2008 brought on a combination of recession, tube sites and Facebook. People underestimate the impact that Facebook has had on porn; people spending their time socializing instead of masturbating has left its mark. Now that Facebook is waning and the recession is receding, VOD has started to grow again.”
Lesbian, cuckold, cheating wives, family-themed - these fantasies still hold power over individuals enjoying some personal time with HotMovies. -James Cybert, HotMovies.com
Cybert said that one of the most prominent content-related trends he is witnessing is a strong appetite for plot-driven erotica. VOD consumers, according to Cybert, still have an appetite for explicit sex scenes, but instead of favoring gonzo’s all-sex-all-the-time approach, many of them are going for a combination of sex and plot. The popularity of the lesbian-oriented, storyline-minded Girlfriends Films, Cybert said, is a prime example of this trend.
“Video on demand has always been about giving the customers what they want,” Cybert observed. “Having a vast library on HotMovies allows us to really track trends in ways that others can’t. We see niches come into favor and fade away in a fairly regular way. Currently, high-quality movies and vignettes with sexual tension are outperforming the others. Girlfriends Films is our No. 1 studio and has been for years. They give a reason for the sex and don’t overedit it.”
Cybert added: “A reason for the sex can increase a video’s popularity by 100 percent or more,” noting that “because of this, gonzo-style porn has been fading” and that “plot-driven fantasies are doing well. The all-sex person can click to just the sex, and the plot-based fan can watch the anticipatory build up and eventual release. Lesbian, cuckold, cheating wives, family-themed—these fantasies still hold power over individuals enjoying some personal time with HotMovies.”
Although the demand for niche erotica existed long before the digital age (BDSM, gay, lesbian and ethnic porn all had their followers back in the 1970s), the Internet and digital technology have made adult niche marketing much easier than it was 30 or 40 years ago. So if a VOD consumer is interested in something really specific (for example, Asian lesbians engaging in tickle torture or Latino bears dominating Latino twinks), it can be found. And the many technological options only encourage diversity in the adult VOD market. These days, VOD content is not only being consumed on desktops and laptops, but also, on a variety of mobile/wireless devices.
“Technology has improved quite a bit over the last few years,” Cybert noted. “We’ve been saying convergence is coming for years, and now, we are finally there. I bought a new Samsung TV a few weeks ago, and HotMovies worked on it out of the box. No computer needed. Customers are accessing the Web on so many devices, phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, consoles, Roku, TVs. Reaching those customers where the customer wants to be is extremely important. The new codecs that will be finalized this year are going to do great things for video delivery in the future. Super HD is exciting, and we can’t wait. HotMovies went through an evolution last year, and we re-encoded 100,000 titles for delivery on every network we could get on.”
Another niche that has an enthusiastic audience is 3D toon erotica, which webmaster Jason “Loki” Smith’s company V1rtualDesires has been a crucial part of. Smith founded V1rtualDesires (which includes Loki Land and Loki Porn) in the 1990s, and it was in 1998 that he started the first websites that were focused specifically on 3D toon erotica. Not long after that, Smith started the first 3D toon affiliate program.
Smith noted that prior to 1998, there were some adult sites that included some 3D toon erotica. But they used it as a side dish, whereas Smith was the first to publish sites that offered 3D toon content exclusively. “From the end of the 1990s until mid-2003,” Smith recalls, “I led the charge of getting the 3D Toon niche to be not only a stand-alone niche—prior, it was lumped into the animé/hentai niche — but also, a profitable niche.”
Smith noted that the 3D toon genre can be both demanding and rewarding. The tough part, according to Smith, is that 3D toon content is not easy to produce; the easy part, he said, is that with toon erotica, companies don’t have to worry about all the challenges that go with using real-life models.
“Companies interested in getting into the 3D Toon market,” Smith said, need to “remember this is not a niche where 100 bucks will buy them 20-30 sets of content. Each image has to be drawn out by a computer and can be a very time-consuming chore—and because of that, the prices are indeed higher, but not unreasonable.”
Smith added that with 3D-toon erotica, there is “no need for testing, or health scares. 3D toons can’t get STDs ... 3D Toons are exempt from 2257. As they are not real humans, there is no need for the normal paperwork like IDs, model releases, etc.”
From animated porn to BDSM to lesbian erotica, the options for adult VOD are numerous. Cybert is quite optimistic about its prospects for the future. “As the world moves away from physical delivery methods,” Cybert predicted, “VOD is going to be the number one source of revenue for studios. I look forward to the future and think there are great things in store for it.”