The World Wide Phenomenon

John Stuart
When Raffi Vartanian was a kid, he fell in love with the movie business. Growing up in Hollywood, Calif., he was surrounded by film studios, and he ached to be part of that. As he grew older, he worked in some films as an extra and even scored a few small speaking parts.

Today, Vartanian is firmly situated in the movie business as founder and CEO of World Wide Content and His adult content-licensing company and his streaming-feeds company have allowed him to work with film studios and pursue his passion for movie-making. Obviously he's done a great job, as World Wide Content won Content Broker of the Year at this year's XBIZ Awards based on his company's spectacular performance in 2007. Vartanian thinks 2008 is going to be even better.

"This year is going to be bigger," he says, "because a lot of studios are coming to us, rather than the other way around."

The reason for this is simple. In April, WorldWide Feeds will launch Version 3.0, and World Wide Content will be updated later this year, as well.

"Our goal is not only to supply the content, but also to provide technology," Vartanian explains. "We've been doing IPTV streaming longer than any other company in adult. It's been three years now. In my opinion, IPTV is the wave of the future in streaming, because televisions and computers are going to combine. This will allow people to stream the highest quality video without a set-top box. We don't like that set-top box idea, so with our IPTV technology through regular fiber cable in WorldWideFeeds, you're able to view high quality, full-screen video, compressed in our proprietary, exclusive technology. We've been working on that for the past five years, and launched it on WorldWideFeeds two years ago. It took a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of money.

"Now with Version 3.0, we're adding additional products. We're adding AdultDVDFeeds first. It will look like a members area. The next product will be StudioSeriesFeeds, which will feature the numbered series titles. The product after that is going to be PhotoFeeds, and we're also developing MobileFeeds for mobile customers. All of those new products will join WorldWideFeeds to give us five products in one with Version 3.0."

"With this system, we don't have to encode and ship the product to our webmasters anymore. We just update it on our servers, and their members areas are automatically updated. It saves a lot of time in encoding and delivering content to our webmasters. We're really excited about it, because it takes a lot of time to encode a thousand movies for a licenser, where the client has to pay for all the storage and the servers for uploading all of that content. This way, all of that is unnecessary. We'll just host the content, and provide the bandwidth for as low as 99 cents per gig. It's really cheap, so we bought a massive amount of bandwidth, which will allow us to pass that savings along to the webmasters."

The launch of World Wide Content's updated version later this year will allow webmasters and studios to check their sales figures online, according to Vartanian. In fact, he claims that studios even will be able to see how much of their content has been licensed under the improved technology.

The improvements have fueled a recent decision by Vartanian to accept only exclusive contracts with studios. World Wide Content currently has about 50 studios under exclusive terms out of roughly 250 studios represented, and more than 12,000 movies in its database available for licensing by webmasters. Vartanian discontinued signing nonexclusive content distribution contracts with studios because of the obvious advantages to all parties.

"It's a big thing for the studios," he says. "They don't have multiple people representing the same content with the same webmaster. That doesn't work. It leads to price wars, and the product loses its integrity. We don't want to get involved in that kind of competition.

"The main advantage of exclusivity is making more money. That happens because we control the prices of the titles. If they're newer titles, we make sure we get the price that the studio thinks they deserve. The second advantage is that exclusivity allows us to plan a marketing strategy specifically for each of our more than 9,000 webmaster clients. This includes press releases, advertising, mailers, and putting studio logos on our home pages and our marketing material."

Vartanian's content-providing company signs new studios every week, and he takes pains to provide them and the webmasters with a service This is in contrast to older forms of content providing, which acted as a broker and middle man that sent movies to clients.

"A webmaster comes to us needing content," Vartanian explains. "Sometimes the webmaster doesn't know what type of content to purchase, so we consult with them at no additional charge. We see what their niche market and their target audience is and we put together a package for them. We also do all the screen caps, and provide them with the box covers, digitized. We provide everything, so all they have to do is plug and play. We also provide matching high-res photos for those movies, so webmasters can design their tour pages with quality pictures instead of screen caps. Webmasters who license with us never have to worry about encoding, digitizing, converting or scanning. They get a turnkey from us, and they only have to put it up."

The services and improvements have had a clear effect, because the World Wide staff had to be doubled in 2007. The company now employs a staff of 18, housed in an office of more than 6,500 square feet. Most of the income from the webmasters is through a licensing system that charges a one-time fee on a per-title basis. On very rare occasions, World Wide will license on a revshare basis, but only with companies that have serious traffic, preferably with a video-on-demand or pay-per-minute site.

"The majority of the companies out there just don't have the dependable traffic that can be worthwhile for us to do a revshare," Vartanian says.

His deals with the studios are totally different matters, more like a partnership.

"We evaluate each studio individually," he says, "and depending on what we see, we make the terms to fit that studio. It's completely turnkey for them. All they do is provide us the material, and we do all the work for them. They basically look at us as their exclusive partner in the content-licensing business.

"The studios are seeing more money with us, and they like how we help their name brand grow on the Internet by licensing their titles to our webmasters."

Vartanian has an active role in what movies the studios make, but he has very business-oriented reasons for that, as well.

"We shoot movies according to the demand we see in the niches," he says. "I consult with the studios on what to shoot. One of our studios, Legend Video, for example, was shooting a movie called 'Smoking Hand Jobs,' and I told them to discontinue that, and shoot 'Smoking Blow Jobs.' We tweak things and tell the studios which niche we want them to shoot, according to what our clients demand and what's hotter at the time. We have to work very closely with our exclusive studios to strategically plan what kind of content we shoot."

Vartanian allows the studios to hold back their new content for up to six months, giving the studios a chance to feature the movies on their own websites first. He claims the delay doesn't hurt business when World Wide releases the movie, because, "Six-month-old titles are still pretty fresh. It doesn't really hurt the webmaster in any way."

Still, Vartanian is happy he sold his affiliate program, Adult Lounge, several years ago and entered the business that's always been close to his heart.

He's making movies happen, and he's making money.