Pink Visual CEO Allison Vivas is a true warrior in this wild and wooly industry of adult entertainment that is historically and predominately led by males. Vivas is proud she works in this biz, and she does a great job in running Pink Visual, as well its other divisions, TopBucks, DMCA Force and PluginFeeds.
So it’s not too surprising mainstream media, including Newsweek, has picked up on her story. Not just as CEO, but wife, mother and author (her new book, “Make Peace With Porn,” will be released in July).
We have our serious side, which manifests in our approach to new technology, and an irreverent side, which tends to be on display in the publicity stunts and PR campaigns that we do. -Pink Visual CEO Allison Vivas
XBIZ World recently sat down with Vivas to discuss how she got into the biz, what’s new at her company, and the industry, in general.
XBIZ: How did you venture into the adult entertainment biz?
VIVAS: I was just basically looking for a job after college in something Internet related. I saw a pretty generic ad and submitted my resume, but got a response telling me all about TopBucks and TopCash. I remember the response calling out how professional the work was so I gave my fiancee a call to ask his opinion and he said go for it. The interview for the marketing position was a few days later and it went well, and I felt like there was so much more to the company than the fact that it was adult content. I really liked the idea of being able to be part of a new market with online advertising beginning to kick off. On my first day, I hit it off with all the other six team members and from then on it was history. The people I work with have really contributed to how much I enjoy working here.
XBIZ: What makes Pink Visual stand out from the crowd and what’s Pink Visual’s hottest product these days?
VIVAS: There are several things that make PV stand out, but in the end they all come back to the people on our team. We have a wonderfully diverse set of personalities and skills, with employees who have backgrounds ranging from things you might expect (like years of experience in video production) to things you might not (like a degree in literature with a concentration on American authors of the 19th and 20th Centuries). This comes through in the personality of the PV brand itself; we have our serious side, which manifests in our approach to new technology, and an irreverent side, which tends to be on display in the publicity stunts and PR campaigns that we do. Additionally, I think we are one of the few newer companies that have been able to weather the tumultuous times of this industry and is what makes us stand out from the crowd as well.
We have a few things in the works that we think will be relatively hot items, but it’s a bit pre-mature to talk about them. I can say that at least one of them goes along with our tech interest and the ability to improve the consumer’s viewing experience.
XBIZ: In the 12 number of years in the adult business, do you think the industry has matured greatly?
VIVAS: Yes and no, really. I think a lot of companies and individuals have matured, and there’s more professionalism in general, but there’s no shortage of people who are still looking to pull off a get-rich-quick scheme, and who are anything but professional. I’m not sure we’re all that different from other industries in that way, though; look at all the drama with that tech company JESS3 that hit the news recently, for example; there was no maturity to be found in what their founder was writing, saying or tweeting.
XBIZ: Are there any new trends in the online adult business that are underexposed or overexposed?
VIVAS: I think the most overlooked trend at the moment is the trend toward micro-niche content. We’re starting to work with more and more producers of such content, through our B2B services divisions like DMCA Force, TopBucks Mobile Services and PluginFeeds, so that underexposure is fine by us, honestly. In some ways, the longer it takes for those niches to become saturated or overexposed the better, from our perspective.
As for overexposure, I personally believe the whole “ex-girlfriend” and fake self-shot content thing has run its course, even though we still see new sites popping up. A somewhat related phenomenon, so-called “revenge porn” sites, just plain disgusts me. I think the people running sites like that are living on borrowed time, though; they are definitely on the radar of state and federal governments, as well as the radar of some pretty high-profile civil litigators, so their days are probably numbered at this point.
XBIZ: What distribution method is making the most money for the company?
VIVAS: Mobile, without a doubt. Mobile distribution has been our top revenue stream for a while now, and the divide between mobile and “fixed” site revenues is only getting bigger at this point.
We still generate plenty of sales through our fixed sites, too, but the consumer migration to smartphone and tablet devices is very clear from looking at our network’s data and sales statistics. We’re also seeing growth to our cross-platform site, PVLocker.com, where we see the same members logging in from all manner of device types, from desktop computers and game consoles to smartphones and tablets.
XBIZ: What is the best way to fight porn piracy?
VIVAS: The answer to that question might vary for each company, quite honestly. I think every rights-holder should make intelligent use of the DMCA takedown protocols, because it is a good way to at least reduce the unauthorized distribution of your content and reduce the amount of free content that consumer’s are exposed to. This can play an important role in the consumer mentality if they run into frustrating experiences trying to find your free content and over half the time they run into removed links or they have to turn to grossly negligent sites that are filled with excessive pop ups. Eventually, they will reach their limit and decide it’s maybe worth it to purchase.
Beyond that, the answer will not necessarily be the same for every company. Pink Visual has been pretty active in litigating, for example, but that’s not going to be feasible for every producer or every studio. Each company has to consider its own resources and goals when deciding how to approach piracy. What’s clearer, I think, is what companies should not do – which is to bitch and complain endlessly about piracy, but not take any steps to try to mitigate it. Way too many adult companies are doing exactly that, unfortunately. You see them on the boards, clearly angry and aggravated about piracy, but not even willing to take the step of registering a copyright on their content. Not surprisingly, doing nothing will also generally accomplish nothing. Funny how that works, right?
XBIZ: What’s a typical work day like?
VIVAS: My work day starts as soon as I wake up — I’m trying to work on that. I have to say that mobile is great and horrible for me at the same time. I check my email as soon as I wake up and even a couple of times at stop lights along my commute (trying to quit that). However, once I am at work I’ll jump right into our major projects. I like to be hands on so I’ll do a wide variety of the work to just get an understanding of where there are opportunities for more efficiency or growth. I check in with our various team members and begin to get the pulse of the company.
When things are good with the pulse, there’s not much to do. It’s a lot more work and stress when things are off and I have to bridge the gap between clarifying the company’s direction and what people are doing day to day. Creating employee engagement is easier said then done, so it can take a lot of observation and evaluation on a day-to-day basis. There’s also the balance of making sure all our internal systems are flowing properly and producing quality and effective work.
Probably like most companies, we have a lot of ideas, but not all ideas are moneymakers, so analyzing the trends (financial and market) and making decisions early to move forward with something or just cut it out so we can move on to bigger and better things also has to be done daily. Even though decisions aren’t made daily, it’s important to know what our efforts are and if they should be modified.
Beyond all that, it’s mostly sitting in front of my computer, a few visits with staff and a few meetings.
XBIZ: Are there any new Pink Visual/TopBucks projects around the corner?
VIVAS: There’s a new deal in the works for Pink Visual that we plan to release soon that will improve consumer experience. Of course there’s my book, “Making Peace with Porn,” that is set to be released in late June or early July. Otherwise, with TopBucks we are doing more of our third party services, which came from our TBMobile Services business. However, we are now working with adult companies of all sorts to utilize our technical know how, to advance their businesses.
This wasn’t something we were expecting, but have come to really enjoy the work we do with others when we get such great client feedback.
XBIZ: When not thinking about the biz, what do you like to do?
VIVAS: I enjoy spending time with my kids outdoors hiking, biking, swimming, etc. I also enjoy my time without my kids and with my husband for the occasional date nights or out playing soccer. Besides that, I’m a huge fan of HGTV and love to start the random home projects. I feel like I just wrote a personal ad.