Working on the frontlines of the DVD distribution market for so many years has provided me with unique insight into the buying, selling and content production habits of our talented and driven industry members. And two things are for certain: nothing stays the same, and nothing SHOULD stay the same. Variety, evolution and good old-fashioned effort are helping stores across the country stay on top of their games and it’s a pleasure to provide our customers with tools that keep them — and their competitors — on their toes.
And lately, we’ve recommended they try getting into some Trouble. TROUBLEfilms, that is. Indie porn, queer content, LGBTQ niche — however it’s branded on the sales floor, one thing is clear: Trouble Films digs deep into men’s and women’s inner-most fuck fantasies to bring retailers a new kind of crossover content that makes it nearly impossible to keep in one neat-and-tidy category. And that’s the whole point.
My viewership ranges greatly from BBW fans, trans porn fans, alt porn fans—watching those customers overlap into each other’s favorite niches is really exciting. - Courtney Trouble
Consumers demand the kind of fresh content that falls beyond the basics, and the stores we work with that have made a consistent effort to keep DVDs at the forefront are seeing sustained success. Store owners who have chosen to present alternative titles as part of their DVD emphasis are being rewarded for their efforts. Presenting alternative titles is a big part of this effort. Content is still king — its throne just looks a little different.
Trouble Films was founded by queer porn royal Courtney Trouble after she inadvertently established a loyal following with her hyper-sexual pieces of personal art. After two years handling one of the industry’s first mainstream queer porn DVD series, Titsrouble made her move and officially branded TROUBLEfilms. The studio quickly established a reputation for capturing real — and often no-holds-barred — sexual performances on camera with content featuring trans men and women, dyke couples, gay boys, voluptuous lesbians, and people (often amateurs) who prefer to remain free from general gender labels. With all-natural bodies (rarely will you see the surgical augmentations commonly associated with porn) and authentic passion, TROUBLEfilms showcases sensuality and sexual lifestyles that are dramatically under-represented in the traditional porn world.
Pure Play Media makes a home for studios like TROUBLEfilms because of its unique un-categories, of sorts, and because they create content that big-name studios don’t put out. It’s ultimate variety with niche focuses that almost guarantees appeal to at least one target market, and in this case, blurs the lines between them all.
And while the productions include less conventional performances, TROUBLEfilms intentionally keeps its target demographic vague and ambiguous, giving it the upper hand in the merchandising and marketing department. Series such as “Lesbian Curves” cater to multiple fan bases—BBW, lesbian, all-natural, amateur, big-boob — that reach beyond the LGBTQ realm and add color and a modern attitude to sections saturated with slower-selling titles. It’s this kind of stock strategy that is helping stores across the country stay on top of the DVD game and introduce shoppers to titles that they normally would never have encountered.
“I try NOT to make work for a target audience,” Trouble says. “Instead, I do what feels creatively fulfilling to me and create my own audience. Every feature brings in a new kind of customer. My viewership ranges greatly from BBW fans, trans porn fans, alt porn fans—watching those customers overlap into each other’s favorite niches is really exciting. When people find me through ‘Lesbian Curves’ and end up loving ‘Trans Grrrls,’ that’s exciting stuff right there.”
And it’s certainly exciting to the store buyers who are finding their efforts are paying off—big time. Pure Play Media reps who handle TROUBLEfilms found that stores that didn’t cater to the LGBTQ community were convinced at first that TROUBLEfilms DVDs aren’t right for them. But those who saw the potential (and the supporting sales numbers to match) took a risk that has paid off in multiple reorders and an expanded customer base they never before expected to attract.
It certainly helps that Courtney Trouble is a household name beyond the queer community; her erotic art, alternative models, amateur scenarios, and stylish production value have established a uniquely eclectic fan base that falls way beyond LGBTQ. The content features performances that are clearly unrehearsed, and it’s obvious that Courtney doesn’t sit behind the camera barking orders and positioning the performers like dolls. She lets them truly ‘get it on,’ which is one of the many reasons why so many people from so many lifestyles get off on watching TROUBLEfilms DVDs. They just need to know where to find them — and that’s where the stores come in.
Any distributor will tell you that certain kinds of content do better in certain parts of the country. Bondage might do better in New England while BBW and big-boob gonzo might be a boon in the Pacific Northwest, and the only way to know your region’s flavor is to find out for yourself. Ask your customers what they want to see on shelves, and if you’re unable to connect with on the consumer end, it’s recommended to take advantage of the relationship stores maintain with their distributors. Pure Play Media can be a resource to customers looking to better serve their communities while also make smarter buying decisions, which is especially recommended when it comes to picking the right DVDs to stock.
At the end of the day, it’s a process of trial and error, but the stores who do it maintain the strongest numbers. Seeking out fresh content and experimenting with genres (and where you display them in your stores) is certainly worth the effort and can be exciting at the same time — you never know what you might find. It might even be your next top seller!