Top Execs Weigh State of Industry at XBIZ LA

LOS ANGELES — A standing-room-only crowd listened to some of the top company leaders forecasting sectors of the industry at XBIZ LA’s second day.

A Tuesday afternoon panel included Wasteland owner Colin Rowntree; Twisty’s Shap; Charles Hentrich of Wildline; Wright of Mansion Productions and Mitch Farber, president of NETbilling.

The seminar was hosted by Alec Helmy, president and founder of XBIZ, who peppered the quintet with questions relevant to the future of adult distribution, as well as other queries.

Questions at the “State of the Industry: Challenges, Consolidations and Corporations” ranged from 3D for porn to porn BitTorrent piracy suits to mobile to .XXX, and whether it will pass ICANN’s bureaucratic muster come next month.

As for .XXX, some said that the proposal could become a positive “game changer.” But Farber said, “It’s a horrible idea and initially it had the right intentions. For all business reasons, I think it will backfire because it will harm the industry.”

In the end, most panel members said the outcome would be a coin toss, including moderator Helmy.

Helmy’s first question was whether online adult as a whole has regressed or progressed since 2009.

“It’s morphed. I’ve seen a lot of companies within the last six months coming out of retrenchment to see what the market will bear and launch new initiatives,” Rowntree said.

Shap said that some adult companies from 10 years ago simply became lazy and when things got tough they cashed out.

“In the last two years there hasn’t been much innovation,” Shap said.

Hentrich agreed: “It’s time to start [conducting business] properly again and stop lamenting that business has gotten harder because of tube sites, and it’s time to start innovating again.”

“Companies have to work harder again,” Shap noted. “The cowboy days are over.”

Mobile content distribution, which was discussed at most of the conferences, was a top query with this panel.

And the big query on top of all was how to monetize it, but not in the U.S., according to most in the panel. Telecoms have been resistant in North America to allow direct-bill porn, but it is just the opposite in Europe and elsewhere.

Rowntree, however, remains unconvinced mobile porn is the future, noting that the money in traditional web commerce pays pays $79, compared to $10 for mobile.

“The day that AT&T and Verizon will allow reverse SMS reverse billing for reoccurring porn, one month later they will be slaughtered like the consumers who were led to dialers of the past,” Rowntree said.