LOS ANGELES — Veteran gay porn icon ChiChi LaRue on Thursday moderated a panel of gay industry leaders including professionals in recruiting, model management, content production and pleasure products as the XBIZ 360 Adult Film Conference reached its peak at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood.
Titled "Gay Porn Masterclass," the first seminar of the day encompassed the importance of shedding light on some of the most essential topics facing the gay segment of adult entertainment. Those topics included public perception, business ethics, importance of branding, and the acquisition of younger consumers.
Keith Miller of Helix Studios enlightened the panel by stating, "I market my company to the world as a professional, above-board company. Whether you run a gay business or a straight business, we should all be the best possible neighbor to your neighbor type of businesses. This shouldn't matter if you are gay or straight, good business is good business."
Jake Jaxson of Cockyboys added to Miller's stance.
"As a business owner, we need to go at our business in a way that is 100 percent respectful,” Jaxson said. “The more we all work within our space to be proud gay pornographers, the more positive effects will show in our work."
This gave way to Gary Jackson of CCBill giving his opinion about the gay market from a service provider standpoint.
"It's really quite a perfectionist industry, is what it really comes down to. They are much more particular about their audience and their branding. Our retention and our re-bills in the gay market are much longer than in the straight market. We have to take very good care of the consumer as well as making the merchants happy. Gay consumers tend to be much more loyal to the brands they love."
On the topic of branding, Michael Lucas of Lucas Entertainment supported Jackson's claims by stating that having a strong company image and a trusted brand has added to the continued success of his business. Lucas also noted that his company experienced a 25 percent growth last year due to this effective business model.
Regarding the new generation of gay porn consumers, Jaxson went on to say that they are "very spoiled,” but that "the reality is that young people will buy what they want. Period. End of discussion."
Miller concluded the panel by stating, "Gay businesses must stay on top of technology. We need to stay on top of the latest and greatest of everything. Being successful really requires a business to operate at the top levels of modern technology. It's amazing when you see that model in action."
The second panel of the day entitled "Shoot What Sells: Hot Genres" offered its captive audience a glimpse into the hot new production trends within the adult industry, as discussed by an esteemed panel of industry directors, writers and producers.
The panel agreed that at the forefront of porn's newest trend is a genre known as faux-cest, or family-taboo.
Jacky St. James of New Sensations offered this luminary about this growing trend, "The faux-cest genre has been around for decades and reached a resurgence about four or five years ago. It's been getting a lot of attention as of late. We at New Sensations started doing the genre because we noticed that some of our competitors were having success.
“When you can find a genre that actually sells and turns a profit, you are on to something good. Since incest is illegal, there are disclaimers at the beginning of the movie stating that the people are of no relation and that they are consenting adults, and so forth. This protects us against obscenity laws."
St. James continued the discussion by adding that the genre of "hot-wifing," whereby a husband enjoys his wife having hot sex with another man, is also a growing trend that her company is interested in exploring further.
As the dialogue pushed forward, Drew Rosenfeld of Hustler Video remarked that BBW (big, beautiful women), pegging (women with strap-on cocks) and granny porn (women 50-60+ years old) were becoming wildly popular.
"This type of material generates huge revenues throughout the channels,” Rosenfeld said. “It's testing and doing well. Larry Flynt is so specific about using beautiful women, but this is a hot new genre that is becoming quite popular."
Greg Lansky, producer for Blacked.com and Reality Kings, concluded the panel by declaring, "The most important aspect is innovation in general. Regardless of the genre or niche that you choose, you must be innovative. It's all about solid execution, no matter the genre."
The final seminar called "Coming Attractions: Unlocking the Future of Adult Film" posed some interesting questions about the future viability of the adult industry with the threat of the California Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act looming and causing concern.
The panel explained that the Act would make it impossible for anybody to shoot without condoms and even offers monetary compensation to whistleblowers.
Producers would be responsible for paying those penalties and also would have to be licensed. Agents may also be affected, with possible liability been placed against them for sending their clients onto non-condom productions.
Moose of Girlfriends Films stated, "The mandatory use of condoms could produce an unfair marketplace, whereby some companies wouldn't be able to survive due to the type of movies they produce. Companies like Wicked Pictures have proven that the condom-model works, while others have proven that it doesn't."
Later, Moose concluded the seminar by affirming, "This is something that the adult industry, as a whole, needs to take seriously. We need to band together as one, or else the adult industry is going to be scrambled. In that model, people may be forced to shoot in different states, or different countries, potentially putting the performers at risk. This creates a really bad scenario for the future of the adult industry. If we work hard and smart, we can build partnerships to ensure the future and viability of our adult industry."