But even after all the changes that have happened within the adult industry in that time, COLT still remains on the cutting edge, taking advantage of all the newest technology to make sure that high-quality whacking material makes its way into the hands of its slavering public. And that includes a massive online presence to cover every angle they possibly can.
COLT Studio Group's director of online marketing, Sean O'Brien, spoke to XBIZ recently about the enormous array of websites he designs, controls and maintains. More than 20 individual URLs lead fans to sites providing everything from DVD sales, calendars and toys to webcams, chat forums and on-set reports. You can get porn on your cellphone, book a COLT exclusive model to appear at your event or translate the whole site into Spanish at COLTMenEspanol.com.
COLT's desire to remain at the forefront of the adult industry in an increasingly competitive age has meant keeping up with all the newest trends, following formats from film to video to DVD to streaming content. "We have all the systems in place to be very successful online," O'Brien told XBIZ.
The flagship COLTStudioGroup.com site provides access to pay-per-scene videos from the company's most recent releases, but also newly uncovered footage from the COLT Vaults that was never transferred to VHS or DVD, available for members to view. "The Internet is now an easy way to post new content quickly and easily when it is found or produced. Add to that our current production schedule, and we have a nice balance of new productions mixed with archived footage to continually keep all of our sites fresh.
"We did a lot of planning and research prior to the development of all our new COLT Studio Group sites," O'Brien explains. "We partnered with companies that provided the newest, cutting- edge technologies to make sure COLT's quality remained high, and created COLTmobile.com for our cell/mobile customers to be able to download images, video clips and more, whenever they desired, worldwide."
COLT Studio Group's man in charge is none other than renowned producer John Rutherford, who agrees wholeheartedly with O'Brien's assessment of the studio's strengths. "The COLT brand is not only known for the men," Rutherford says, "but also for the quality of its products, courteous customer service and prompt delivery of orders to customers — something that the COLT team lives and breathes every day to maintain."
However, he's also aware of the challenges facing the company, and the industry at large. "Ever since the Internet has grown leaps and bounds, we've seen more and more start-up companies competing with us through mail order, online sales, retail shelves and the like."
He also decries tighter government regulations, such as the infamous 2257, and the fact that high-quality porn is not as profitable as it once was. Thus the renewed emphasis on online product, to make sure the studio remains competitive. Read more wise words from John at John RutherfordBlog.com (also fed through onto the main COLT site).
But COLT isn't abandoning DVD by any means — the studio still produces three unique sub-lines of movies. Mainline COLT movies bring red-hot action from all those aforementioned muscle-mountains, as well as the MinuteMen solos series. The Buckshot brand puts a nice twist on it my mixing the big fellas with smaller and cuter guys, while Olympus imports the hottest Eastern European studs, often matched with Western guys to get them worked up. They're all available through the cleanly designed and easily navigable sales.COLTstudio.com site, or each line has its own URL for easy memorizing — COLTDVD.com, BuckshotDVD.com and OlympusDVD.com respectively — all of which redirect back to the main site.
"The way content is delivered may constantly change," says O'Brien, "but the one thing that remains consistent, no matter what anyone says, is the demand for high-quality content. The customer trusts that what's on the outside of our package is exactly what's on the inside. Our product stays consistently strong, like our men."
Speaking of men, COLT also boasts a huge stable of the biggest and best beautiful beasts to be found anywhere. O'Brien and his team have created personal and interactive websites for many of the studio's 15 exclusive models, including GAYVN winner Dean Phoenix (DeanPhoenixXXX.com) and Olympus line director Roland Dane (RolandDaneXXX.com). Each of these sites offers selected galleries and video clips, live webcam feeds, appearance calendars, blogs and email contact.
Luckily for O'Brien, it's not all down to him to run the whole show; the guys themselves have a big hand in their own sites.
"We are very fortunate to have an amazing stable of COLT Men who are not only gorgeous, but very intelligent," O'Brien says . "They're all very committed to their fan sites and live-cam shows. We make sure they're trained in the technology, and continue to give them on-going training as necessary. Then we turn it over to them."
One of the responsibilities that comes with being a COLT Exclusive is making public appearances for the fans. The studio uses the site COLTbar.com, launched 18 months ago, to provide a central hub for organizing these appearances. The guys can promote themselves and their own sites through this site with live shows and advertising — the site allows club or bar owners to make those connections directly
Likewise, COLTpromo.com takes care of the business-to-business aspect of things, providing everything an adult industry reviewer or promoter would need to do his job.
Meanwhile, fan sites and online reviewers can make their own money using the COLTcash.com affiliate system. Advertise COLT products on your own site using gorgeously designed banners and other flash trailers, and you make up to an amazing 50 percent commission on every sale made from your leads. O'Brien is working on expanding the available galleries and integrating directly with the COLT online store by early 2008.
When news broke in December that one of the new American Gladiators had a history as a COLT Man, and Hollywood gossip queen Perez Hilton placed a link on his site, the COLT servers were not prepared for the huge surge in traffic that resulted. Thankfully, the talented online team acted quickly and had all the sites back up and running in no time.
"Additional bandwidth, fail-over servers, load balancing and html caching have all been implemented," says O'Brien, "so now we're ready for anything."
Rutherford concurs: "I love what I do and I hope it shows."