Getting set to celebrate the enviable milestone of its 20th anniversary — an enormous span of years in the highly competitive and dynamic adult entertainment arena — Montreal-based Gamma Entertainment has a long history of delivering new products, programs and services, as well as employing the newest technology and management techniques to maintain its competitive advantage.
Gamma was founded in 1996 by its president, Karl Bernard, who relied upon four basic principles: honesty, respect, reliability, and upfront business practices that have been the bedrock of its success. This bedrock was strengthened by the addition of Charles Rousseau, with his vast marketing skills and technical knowledge, along with Daniel Bastien, who brought accounting and managerial expertise to the table, forging the team behind Gamma’s longevity and continuing success.
One thing I have learned is that if you want to stay in business, then you need to adapt to changes — and those that didn’t adapt are no longer where they used to be.
During the ensuing years, Gamma has grown from its roots as a home-based business with one website, to become one of the most important companies in the history of adult — with a sophisticated network of hundreds of sites across dozens of brands, built upon cutting-edge technology and the dedication of a large staff of full-time employees — publishing content online, via DVD, mobile, broadcast and more.
Among Gamma’s strongest brands is the XBIZ award-winning Fame Dollars affiliate program, which, according to the company, was born after Claude Hyppolite joined the already successful group of owners — creating a partnership model across the straight and gay markets, while forming an association between the top names in the adult production field and Gamma’s leadership in online technologies — with Gamma providing the tools and knowhow, and some of the biggest names in the industry doing what they do best to make their businesses flourish.
Since the launch of Fame Dollars, Gamma has partnered with a number of legendary stars, including Rocco Siffredi, Peter North, Silvia Saint and Tera Patrick, plus studios such as Evil Angel, Devil’s Film, Silverstone Entertainment and White Ghetto Films.
Beyond being a desirable destination for consumers and a profit center for affiliates, Fame Dollars’ sites are a great way for performers and studios to expand their business, with the program not only feeding sites with fresh visitors, but offering needed setup and services. These include an initial site design that is fully customized to the partner’s special needs, as well as its ongoing maintenance, with hosting at the company’s own data center — including full server management, to keep sites up, running, and on track.
Add in ultra-optimized, mobile friendly video encoding, flexible customer billing and a support team that is available 24/7, along with brand building, corporate identity and marketing tools, such as a customized member newsletter and more, and it is clear why partnering with Fame Dollars is an attractive option for performers, studios and affiliates alike.
Gamma is also a big supporter of girls doing it their own way, as evidenced by the strength of its offerings of “female friendly” porn — including couples-themed content, all-girl films and the work of feminist filmmakers, through brands and sites such as Girlfriends Films, Girlsway, All Girl Massage and Sweetheart Video.
Gamma also offers nearly four dozen sites catering to fans of gay and transgender porn, including those from gay affiliate program powerhouse Buddy Profits, with its exclusive content and in-demand niches, such as military fetish site ActiveDuty.com, which the company acquired late last year along with its affiliate program, Flamingo Bucks.
Buddy Profits is part of Next Door Entertainment, a 2006 joint venture between amateur model agency FCF Agency and Gamma Entertainment, which brought brands such as Buddy Profits, Next Door Studios, Pride Studios and Active Duty into the fold. Buddy Profits, a four-time XBIZ Award winner for Gay Web Company of the Year, powers popular gay brands including COLT Studio Group, Falcon Studios, Raging Stallion Studios, Hot House Entertainment, Icon Male, Jock Studios, Male Digital and Maskurbate.
Other brands in the empire include O.L. Entertainment, which Gamma launched in a 2013 partnership with Mile High Media — an association that also resulted in a trio of Mason-directed studios: Erotica X, Hard X, and the newly launched Dark X — with O.L. Entertainment being known for such high profile sites as SunnyLeone.com. O.L. Entertainment also saw a busy production year in 2015, with the company on the lookout for fresh blood in the form of new directors and photographers — a surefire way to keep creativity on the cutting edge and to fuel a flurry of new releases.
If all this isn’t enough, Gamma also offers a contextual ad network, AdXpansion, which Gamma President Karl Bernard earlier this year took directly under his wing, in an effort to grow the program to its full potential. Bernard’s willingness to change with the times is at the heart of Gamma’s ongoing success, and sets an example worth following.
“One thing I have learned is that if you want to stay in business,” Bernard told XBIZ, “then you need to adapt to changes — and those that didn’t adapt are no longer where they used to be. Either they are in financial trouble or they lost their position as leaders. You must stay aware of what is going on and make sure you don’t miss the boat when there is a big shift in trends.”
Bernard emphasizes Gamma’s strengths in technology and relationship-building as keys to its success — allowing its partners to focus on producing the best content they can, while Gamma handles the daily logistics of running a successful adult website.
“We are strong believers in vertical integration; investing in developing and keeping every aspect of our website operation and marketing in-house,” Bernard explains. “We do not outsource anything. Hosting, content packaging, and 24/7 customer service are all controlled within our ecosystem. Our development team also handles our own CMS, processing gateway, affiliate program platform and email marketing solutions. Having a tight control on these aspects has allowed us to integrate them securely together into the best money-generating platform for adult website operations.”
The complexity of Gamma’s extended network and its wide range of business segments requires a talented and dedicated team of management professionals to guide this vast enterprise through the rapidly changing realities of today’s adult entertainment industry. It is a level of industry leadership that has been repeatedly recognized with XBIZ Award wins and nominations — both in the past and going forward. For example, with Gamma’s sales director, Joel Drapeau, who is nominated for a 2016 XBIZ Exec Award as Business Development Executive of the Year, following his 2015 win of XBIZ’s Senior Leadership Award.
Drapeau told XBIZ that the industry is entering a new era of adult filmmaking that really challenges the status quo of what porn should and should not be — it’s not what is being shot so much as how it is being shot — with Gamma on the forefront of this evolution.
To take advantage of this new era, Gamma recently entered the production side of the business, going beyond powering the biggest brands under its partnership model, to now producing original content under its new Gamma Films Group division. Created by Gamma Films’ head of production, Sabrina Miller, and launched under the direction of Fame Dollars’ Magalie Rheault, the first brand to come out of the new venture was Girlsway.
“Having acquired the NuruMassage Network of sites a few years back, we wanted to not only secure a regular flow of updates but to bring the sites and content to another level,” Rheault told XBIZ. “This is one of the reasons why we created a content production group, in-house, which is responsible for everything from post-production to final delivery, ensuring a regular flow of updates to our sites, and to conduct market research aimed at producing fresh lines that can be totally aligned from A to Z, from its production to online and offline distribution.”
The efforts of Rheault and Miller are helping to totally redefine the way porn is consumed today.
“Following market trends, having a very interactive relation with our members, adapting the content towards consumer needs, having a strong involvement from models and producers directly on the site and also on social media, is really the way that we were able to be successful with our very first attempt at production,” Rheault notes. “We want our members to feel excited about the next release. We’ve proven that success with series such as ‘Business of Women’ and ‘The Turning,’ where anticipation was at a high.”
Miller also pointed to the rise in importance of good movie scripts and companies that are willing to work hand in hand with models to promote content, not just shoot them and lose them, as keys to success.
As the owners of FantasyMassage, which includes NuruMassage and AllGirlMassage to name a few, and now Girlsway, Gamma Films is also making its mark on the straight production side. Actively on the lookout for acquisitions, fans should expect to see more products from Gamma Film Group in the coming years.
“We are totally breaking down the concept of stand-alone web content and producing erotica in the same way that TV channels produce shows,” Drapeau explains. “It’s not just about our fans getting off — it’s about getting off and being equally excited for next week’s episode because the story lines and the characters are so compelling.”
In addition to its upper management team, Gamma often rewards employee loyalty and performance by promoting from within whenever possible, relying on the company’s diverse talent base that includes customer support agents, developers, editors, finance, HR, and marketing pros, all keeping the company on the move, with each key position being the right fit between task and talent.
Gamma also works hard to retain its employees, in part by offering many social activities and initiatives. For example, every month the company holds a cake day in order to celebrate employees' birthdays and to underline company milestones. The company also serves free breakfast to employees every morning, and supports a different social cause each quarter.
“They really built a living environment, where Nerf gun wars can happen at any moment and where you can battle your peers on a video game challenge during lunch,” Miller told XBIZ. “This really makes working at Gamma more of a lifestyle than a job.”