Adult Industry Faces 818 Area Code Changes

Tod Hunter
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Public Utilities Commission has announced that effective May 2009, new telephone numbers assigned in the 818 area code will get a new area code, 747.

The 818 area code was created in 1984, when it was split from the 213 area code. The original 818 area code was divided in 1997, when the 626 area code was split. Currently, the 818 area code covers predominantly the San Fernando Valley area. The move is certain to have an impact on the adult industry because much of the business is based in the San Fernando Valley and the 818 area code.

Since announcing its intention last fall to create a new Valley area code, the commission held public meetings and solicited email comments. The commission received 741 comments, with 442 supporting an overlay, 199 favoring splitting the region into two area codes, and 100 with no preference. An estimated two million people live in the 818 area code.

Reaction from the adult industry was mixed.

Adam & Eve Pictures Vice President of Sales and Marketing Peter Reynolds was worried about confusion among callers.

"It will be extremely confusing for the world to adopt a new area code for Porn Valley. We made 818 what it is today," Reynolds told XBIZ.

Wicked Pictures publicist Heth Mares approves of the overlay plan.

"As long as they keep it to new lines to me it doesn't pose a problem," Mares said. "However, if they were to ask everyone with existing 818 numbers to switch to the new area code that would definitely inconvenience a lot of people, not to mention the extra expense it would cost to change all numbers you utilize over to the new area code — fax number, business cards, cell and business lines, etc."

Adult industry publicist Wayne Hentai looked at it as a memory problem.

"When will this government intervention into our lives stop?" Hentai asked. "I mean, how do they expect us to remember a number like 747? It's not like there's anything to associate this area code with. You know, like a jumbo jet."

Digital Playground Director of Marketing Adella looks at the change as a symptom of a bigger problem.

"I guess we can attribute this to the 30,000 - 40,000 people who move into Los Angeles county each month," Adella told XBIZ. "Expect traffic to suck even more."

The overlay plan is familiar to Black and Blue Media owner Sherry Ziegelmeyer.

"This is something that ticks me off because I've been through two of these," Ziegelmeyer said. "It makes business so much harder to do. If I need to call a new production company, I have to dial all 11 numbers to get through to somebody who's right up the block from me. It takes so much longer to communicate."