WIA Profile: Mary Gillis

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.

What did you do prior to working in the adult industry?

my business associates appreciate my approach and trust me

I started my own event coordination company nine years ago and was hired by one of my clients to come on staff and take over their trade show schedule and also do product management for a line of children's toys. From there, I moved to very top-tier banking software, managing new product releases for a company whose software ran ATM machines and stock exchanges internationally. It was there that I started working in the field of SEO/SEM six years ago while launching a new product line.

What do you find most challenging about working in the industry?

All of the things I expected to be challenging (like fitting in with my corporate personality) didn't turn out to be barriers — my business associates appreciate my approach and trust me to do the best job for them. The biggest learning curve was certainly the speed at which this industry moves. SEO/SEM as a discipline is extremely fast-paced, but the adult industry is a blur of light.

In your opinion, what's the biggest threat to the future of the industry?

Free or pirated content. The trend in the younger generations to search everything out for free is a huge concern for our industry — the less we charge (or are able to charge) for our product, the more devalued it becomes in the eyes of the consumer. If studios can't make enough money on their last release to fund the next one, all of our big brands and production houses will be forced to either close their doors or leave their production values behind and that is detrimental to the industry as a whole.

As broadband web access becomes available to more end users, do you think pay-per-view will become the dominant purchase model for online adult content?

I think that the industry is already experiencing a move in that direction; hard-copy sales have been declining and while I don't expect to see the demise of the DVD in the immediate future, now is certainly the time for producers to plan their strategies to move their brands solidly into the online market. Video-on-demand will eventually displace the hard-copy revenue stream, but the devil will be in ensuring that your VOD revenues are strong enough over the next two to three years to ensure that your company can remain solid during the transition.

Do you foresee more competition coming online in the gay pay-per-view sector in the months and years ahead?

I believe that we will definitely see more competition in this gay adult industry in the near future. The margins are still high and can't be ignored. Gay consumers will pay for quality. The problem this will create is strictly in market size. Prices are higher, true, but the market is much smaller so the volumes of traffic aren't there to support lots of smaller players. A new entry will have to have a defined niche that is strong enough and individual enough to break through the chatter.