An increasing number of adult entertainment companies that have deeply entrenched roots on the Internet and are now releasing their footage onto DVDs are finding out the answer. Could this development signal a shift in the paradigm of formerly Internet-only business models, or is it merely the evolution of content delivery across different platforms?
Traditionally looked upon as separate groups pegged with unenviable stereotypes by the other — webmasters thought studio heads were crude, crass and smarmy, while studio folk pigeon spoiled and lazy. Interestingly, new tech developments have brought these two disparate groups into a synergistic alliance.
What's becoming increasingly more apparent is that these factions, like Oscar and Felix in "The Odd Couple," need each other more than ever. Convergence is the industry's latest buzzword.
Webmasters with large affiliate programs have always been perceived as being ahead of the tech curve, boasting about the ease-of-use of the Internet as a means to deliver content. It was the web companies that pioneered the pay-per-minute, video-on-demand and streaming delivery methods. After all, the Internet enjoys significant market penetration and the number of homes equipped with broadband connections is growing every year.
The Internet-to-DVD revolution comes at a fascinating turning point in the progression of the adult industry — a time when most traditional adult DVD production studios are turning to the Internet as a way to recoup some of the production costs it takes to shoot an adult movie, and paysite owners are looking to move DVD units offline.
A few short years ago, who would have thought those roles would be reversed?
Wrestling With Regret
"I think of killing myself every day because I didn't invest in the smart way to put my content on the Internet," Extreme Associates President Rob Black told XBIZ. "Now I'm forced to play catch-up with big companies that have Internet divisions bigger than their production departments. Instead of spending my money wisely, like the retarded son of a bitch I am, I bought a fucking professional wrestling league. If I took those millions and invested in my own video-on-demand or streaming video program, I'd be buying Lamborghinis right now. A lot of the smaller studios are now in trouble because their DVDs ain't selling, and their content ain't on the net the right way, because they sold it dirt cheap to some content licensing company for the quick buck. They're fucked."
While the future isn't as bleak as the picture Black paints, the time has come when paysite networks like Bang Bros, Hodough, TrafficCashGold, Naughty America and Reality Cash have invested in the added profit center that DVD sales bring. Not only do DVD sales play a functional role in monetizing content that's already been shot and paid for, but it also has become a large profit center in its own right.
"There are production companies that specialize in strictly DVD production, while we shoot vignette-style for the Internet — the beating heart of our business — but we are taking the best offerings and making them available to a new audience, which expands our customer base," Naughty America Project Manager Dusty told XBIZ. "Does this put us one step ahead [of DVD producers]? I don't know, but it does add depth to our company."
Naughty America entered the paysite scene a little more than five years ago with its original site SoCalCoeds.com and has grown into a network of 16 paysites all composed of original content. The company secured a DVD distribution deal with Pure Play Media, and has 15 unique reality DVD lines based on its niche sites like DiaryofAMILF.com, NaughtyOffice.com and MySistersHotFriend.com.
Pure Play Media also distributes DVDs from another Internet company, Hundies.
Dusty said his company's content is not edited or repackaged in any way for DVD distribution. This simplifies and hastens the DVD production process significantly. With this method, footage just needs to be encoded, authored and pressed onto DVD, have a box cover sleeve produced, and voila, and instant tangible product line.
"We are not in the business to make a feature-length film because there are production companies [with bigger budgets] that specialize in that area," Dusty said. "Our vignette approach is more like TV — you have a 30- minute episode that offers a fresh story while remaining true to that specific title's niche. There will always be TV-type programming and there will always be feature-length movies. Both will continue to coexist in the adult entertainment space as they do in the mainstream."
In part two, we'll look at vignette shooting, the demographics of DVD purchasers and more.