Anabolic Sees Bright Future

In May, the industry was shocked by the announcement that Anabolic and Diabolic Video Productions, a pioneer company and one of the most successful gonzo producers in history, were splitting up. It marked the end of a partnership that incorporated 15 years ago under the Anabolic name, before Diabolic was created as a separate company in 1998.

Remarkably the two companies continue to share the same building for the time being, an indication that Anabolic owner Chris Alexander told the truth when he said the split was "amicable."

"Gregg Alan [Diabolic Video's owner] is a very gifted salesperson," Alexander said, "and I respect how much he's helped Anabolic grow over the years. The true credit goes to the directors who busted their asses for me all these years. Some of them have come and gone, but without great productions it doesn't matter how great a salesperson you have. You're really limited in what's going to be sold. Having a great salesperson is pretty much the icing on the cake, to make sure product gets into the market and gets paid for."

The directors in question, Ricky D, Tony T and Ivan, make up the core of the current Anabolic lensmen.

"It's a pretty small stable, but they're extremely talented," Anabolic publicist Mike Moz said. "Anabolic is looking more for quality, not quantity, even though they do have a lot of lines."

The breakup won't alter the Anabolic business model and philosophy, according to Alexander. The firm will continue to go with its bread and butter — gonzo content — which has been a company signature for so long. One of the best-selling series right now is "Anabolic Penetrations," but the "Balls Deep" series directed by Ivan and the "Sweet Cheeks" collection helmed by Ricky D have become "some of the industry's most successful continuing series," according to Moz.

"I was probably the second guy to get into gonzo, with the numbered series of movies under the same title," Alexander said. "Now it seems to be the rule of thumb, where everybody has a numbered series."

In fact, Anabolic has produced and packaged its gonzo product so well that swarms of imitators have tried their hands at doing it just about the same way.

"A lot of companies have been riding Anabolic's coattails for a while," Alexander said. "Anabolic has always set the standard in style and the performances of the incredible talent that we use. We've seen a plethora of companies that have ridden on Anabolic's success.

"I was laughing recently, because a director we once had started shooting a series with a name similar to the one he did for us. When I talked to the people at the printer they told me, 'That director came in here, dropped one of your boxes on our table, and said, "Make my box just like that, only change it to my title and my name."' If I wanted to bother, there would have been trademark and copyright issues involved, but we all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Anabolic certainly has been flattered quite a bit."

The flattery of imitation might increase, once others see what Anabolic has planned for its new solo future. First, Alexander is bringing all of the company's Internet sites in-house, instead of allowing a third party to handle it, as before.

Anabolic already has bought several new website domain names, which Alexander claims will be launched shortly. "Right now our priority is the website," he said. "We plan on putting in a very strong affiliate program."

Alexander also revealed plans that may amount to a bombshell. He's contemplating a startup of Anabolic's own satellite channel. Already the Anabolic directors are shooting soft content on every scene, in addition to the hard content, in preparation for this possibility.

"I'm at a crossroads right now, torn between doing cable distribution deals or the satellite channel," Alexander said. "Any satellite channel owners who read this are welcome to approach me for a partnership deal."

The company also is reinvigorating its Anabolic Toys line, which had stagnated under the previous management, according to Alexander.

And finally, Anabolic has hired its first publicist.

"Historically, we've always let the product speak for itself, and that's been great," Alexander said. "But with the slightly declining DVD sales in the industry as a whole, we really need to explore all potential avenues of revenue."

All of this will strengthen the Anabolic brand name, according to Alexander, who shakes his head when he remembers how it all began. He'd graduated from UCLA, but was stuck in a miserable blue collar job, when he met some people at the beach who were in the adult industry.

"I realized it would beat the heck out of any blue-collar job," Alexander said, "so I started to direct and dabbled in acting for a little bit. I directed for a couple of years for companies like KBeech Video, before deciding to bring it in-house.

"By the time I had my third salesperson he started pulling in orders and doing good things for me. We were in Venice, Calif., at the time and he had just brought in $1,000 in sales in one day. I remember we were sitting at a desk saying, 'Great. Maybe it's time to go to the beach. If we just do $1,000 a day, we'll be in a great place.' Today, $1,000 a day wouldn't keep the lights on."

But the lights definitely are on in the Anabolic offices and Alexander admits that he's amazed when he thinks about how far his creation has come.

"I feel very blessed and fortunate that Anabolic has had the success it's had," he said. "I never lose sight of my blue-collar roots, despite the UCLA degree, and I realize that it's been the American Dream come true."


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