LOS ANGELES — XBIZ is pleased to announce the Pioneer Award recipients to be honored in conjunction with the 2018 XBIZ Awards.
The 2018 Pioneer Award recipients are Ted Blitt of Mile High Media, Karl Bernard of Gamma Entertainment, Dennis Paradise of Paradise Marketing and Robert Pyne Sr. of Williams Trading Co.
The Pioneer Award recognizes innovative and outstanding executives who have had a profound impact on the industry through vision, innovation and courage.
These same individuals continue to provide a guiding light for those who came after them.
The 2018 Pioneer Award recipients will be honored during a special on-screen presentation at this month's 2018 XBIZ Awards show, presented by MyFreeCams.
The annual XBIZ Awards ceremony honors outstanding achievements across every segment of the industry during the past year.
Adult performer, director and sex educator Jessica Drake will host adult’s industry biggest night at the JW Marriott’s grand ballroom in downtown Los Angeles.
The XBIZ Awards coincides with the annual industry events series XBIZ Show, presented by ManyVids.com.
The 2018 Pioneer Award recipients are:
Ted Blitt, Mile High Media — Movies & Production
Ted Blitt, founder of Mile High Media, has been in the adult business for more than 25 years.
Blitt entered the business in 1989 as a Canadian licensee of a U.S. adult video distributor. The company would purchase Canadian rights, duplicate the movies to VHS and sell them across Canada.
He later brought his two sons, Jon and Robert, into the family business, which moved from distributing DVD compilations to producing original content in 2003 with its Doghouse Digital imprint.
Its Sweetheart Video studio brand came next in 2008, with Sweet Sinner, Reality Junkies, Male Reality, Icon Male, TransSensual and BiEmpire to follow.
In 2013 the company took another big step and allied itself with famed director Mason and Gamma Entertainment to create Hard X and Erotica X with O.L. Entertainment. Its immediate success led to the development of Dark X and newly launched Lesbian X studios.
“I’m very honored to be recognized as an industry pioneer by XBIZ,” Blitt told XBIZ. “I never really looked at myself that way; having started in this business by financing someone who was buying Canadian rights, my path was indirect at first.
“Once I took over the rights and started distributing in Canada it’s been a natural progression. Mile High became one of the largest distributors in Canada, and after a few years we started producing our own product.
“We’ve been very successful thanks in part to my two sons who lead the company with me and the capable Mile High team.”
Karl Bernard, Gamma Entertainment — Web & Technology
Gamma Entertainment, started up in 1996 by its president Karl Bernard, began as a home-based business with a single website and catapulted to becoming one of the most influential companies in adult.
With Bernard helming the enterprise, Gamma runs a sophisticated network of cutting-edge websites across dozens of well-known brands, all built upon the latest in technology.
Through the years, Bernard has emphasized Gamma’s strengths in tech and relationship building as keys to the company’s success.
Through various partnerships, it operates such leading industry brands as Fame Dollars and Buddy Profits and serves as a web solution provider for leading studios such as Evil Angel, Mile High Media and Burning Angel.
The company’s original content unit, Gamma Films, operates under the brands Girlsway, Pure Taboo and 21st Sextury, among others.
Recently, the company started building the framework for its next business venture — a new and robust broadcast product.
"I am humbled to have been chosen among this years' recipients of the XBIZ Pioneer Awards," Bernard told XBIZ. "Throughout my near 20-year career building adult businesses, I have been inspired by many of the pioneers who have come before me.
“To join their ranks and be recognized as an industry leader is truly a great honor. Thank you XBIZ!"
Dennis Paradise, Paradise Marketing — Pleasure Products
In 2018, Paradise Marketing, which bills itself as “America’s No. 1 source for condoms and lubricants,” is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Many pleasure product companies have come and gone since the late 1970s, but Paradise Marketing, with Dennis Paradise at the helm as president and CEO, is still going strong.
Paradise Marketing was very much a mom-and-pop operation in the beginning. Nonetheless, Paradise already knew a lot about condoms when he launched his company in Southern California 40 years ago; his father had been involved in the condom business as far back as 1943. And as technology evolved, so did Paradise Marketing.
To this day, Paradise Marketing is distributing a long list of condom brands that includes, among others, Durex, Trojan, Rough Rider, Sustain, Fantasy, Crown, Trustex, Kimono, Holiday Pops, Caution Wear, Atlas, Beyond Seven, Contempo, 004 and its own brand, Paradise Condoms.
"So much appreciation to XBIZ and this great industry that has supported Paradise Marketing these past 40 years," Paradise told XBIZ.
“We’ve stayed true to our one-and-only objective, which is providing top-quality sexual health products at a fair price to our customers, and that’s been the secret to Paradise Marketing’s long-term success.
“I have always felt that if we could help our customers increase their bottom line profit, Paradise Marketing would do well. I was right."
Robert Pyne Sr., Williams Trading Co. — Retail & Distribution
In the late 1960s, Robert Pyne Sr. quit the fire department and started in the adult video and novelty retail business.
“I knew this was the right decision when selling 8mm adult tapes out of my trunk and unable to keep them in stock,” Pyne told XBIZ.
Pyne began opening adult stores in 1972 and later launched his wholesale distribution company Williams Trading Co., which continues operating today as a family business.
By the early 1980s, Pyne was operating more than a dozen stores and Williams Trading. Currently with the help of his sons and daughters, Williams Trading is one of the largest distributors in the U.S.
“I am blessed to be part of this industry over the years,” Pyne said. "I am retired now but know the hardships and battles that have been fought over the years has made the adult novelty and video business what it is today.
“I want to thank XBIZ for this award and the other past recipients of the Pioneer Award for the time and dedication they have put into making our industry a success. As I always have said, ‘Sex is here to stay unless the man upstairs has something better for us.’”