HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The online adult entertainment industry appears to be finding itself adjusting to economic realities and coming to terms with ubiquitous adult tube sites that have bedeviled the business for the past five years, according to a panel of experts at XBIZ 360 on Friday.
“People are done complaining about the tube sites and they are looking for a disrupter — just like the tubes site, which came in and undercut the business,” Flirt4Free/VideoSecrets’ Greg Clayman said. “They are looking for a disrupter for their site to make them somewhat different from everybody else so that they can see their business skyrocket.
“A lot of people are going back to their core competency,” he said. “We noticed through the years that people follow the money. We are finding that people are going back in the day to what they started with.”
Clayman’s comments were echoed by other panelists at “The Future of Digital Adult Entertainment” seminar, one of half a dozen at XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference on Friday.
Moderated by XBIZ’s Alec Helmy, the panel included Colin Rowntree of Wasteland, Brad Mitchell of MojoHost, Brian Shuster of Utherverse, Tim Valenti of NakedSword and Morgan Sommer of Cybersocket, as well as Clayman.
“It feels like we are back to focusing on our core businesses and innovation. There were so many issues that took up way too much time that wasn’t productive,” Mitchell said. “I am happy to see a broad spectrum of clients who have been in business so long to see their businesses grow. I think we are through complaining about the tube sites.”
Noting that the adult industry “a unique business” in the scheme of things, Helmy asked panelists whether the correct course of entrepreneurship for a distributor of sexually explicit content should be to blaze new trails or follow others.
“I think that the reason why NakedSword has been around so long because we reinvented ourselves so many times,” Valenti said. “If you don’t take very well-planned chances, you are history.”
Rowntree retorted the next new trail to blaze might be “porn musicals.”
“Sometimes the lightning bolt hits the alter and you come up with the next big thing, but you have to be aware of the trends and the success of others,” Rowntree said.
“One thing is for sure: [the adult industry is] so efficient with stealing amongst each other,” he said, initiating chuckles. “But I can put my shape on that … after he has already done the heavy lifting. When you see the obvious, like a better mousetrap idea, such as 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' you should find a way to capitalize on it.”
“The Future of Digital Adult Entertainment” panel brought in a standing-room-only crowd to the XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference, which wrapped on Friday.
The XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference, presented by CECash, brought in the top experts in their industry-related fields for two days of educational seminars, all sponsored by NETbilling, at Hollywood’s stylish W Hotel.
Sponsored also by AWEmpire, FNCash, OrbitalPay, GTBill, StarAdvertising, MojoHost, EroAdvertising, Adam & Eve, PussyCash and Epoch, XBIZ 360 offered unlimited opportunities for peers to meet with others and discuss the latest trends and strike deals as well.
The conference was bookended by rounds of speed networking, XBIZ’s Mix & Meet and other networking opportunities including Thursday night’s Hot List Rooftop Party at the W Hotel rooftop.
On Friday evening the XBIZ Awards, presented by Fleshlight, brought the biggest stars and industry luminaries from around the globe for the most spectacular XBIZ Awards show to date. the show was hosted by Jenna Jameson at the Century Plaza Hotel.
Other XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference panels on Friday included the topics of interactivity, billing and mobile, as well as a look at Google Glass and porn applications and the future of adult content.
In “Interactivity: The New Profit Center of Adult Entertainment,” moderated by Yuval Kijel of BitterStrawberry, discussed tools that increase the personal touch for live cams, as well as dating sites.
Panelists included Gary Taylor of White Label Dating, AK of Dating Gold, Jeff Wilson of Flirt4Free/Video Secrets, Fabian of Fuckbook and Douglas Richter of AWEmpire and Bright Guys Inc.
Richter said that one of the keys for webcam operators to capitalizing on the interactive experience are high-resolution streaming and streamlined settings.
“You have to be responsive so that when the user accesses the site on their PC that they will have the same options, billing information favorites, etc., on their tablet,” Richter said. “Your have to be consistent.”
As the interactive experience becomes one of the brightest revenue generators in the current adult space, one company has big plans for 2014.
Wilson said that 2014 will be an exciting year for Flirt4Free/Video Secrets as the company, in a deal with Fleshlight, will be distributing the sleeves that will work with teledildonic technology
“We are going full force and distributing a machine to a lot of models and customers,” he said. “You have the Fleshlight, and as you move it, it is fucking the model on the other side of the screen. We are launching it this year.”
Another seminar, “E-Billing: Payment Processing Trends in Adult Entertainment” took a look at trends in the online space — especially regulatory trends with Visa and Mastercard, as well as governmental enforcement.
Panelists included Gary Jackson of CCBill, Melody Lashmar of L3 Payments; Wendy Nelson of NETbilling, Harmik Gharapetian of Epoch and Karen Campbell of OrbitalPay. The billing panel was moderated by XBIZ’s Stephen Yagielowicz.
Leading trends in the mobile space were discussed in a seminar entitled “Mobile Mania: The Big Shift for Adult Entertainment,” moderated by CherrySauce’s Julia Dimambro.
The seminar discussed the complicated process of dealing with regulatory processes by territory, including the billing processes of each.
Mobile billing panelists included Alex of Star Advertising, Jesse Adams of MiKandi, Rainey Stricklin of Reporo, Joey Gabra of Affil4You and Jeff Dillon of GameLink.
Halfway through the day, Adams of MiKandi presented a look at Google Glass porn in an XBIZ 360 Digital Media Conference workshop. Adams demonstrates Glass and discussed its adult entertainment applications.
The last seminar of the day, titled “The Future of Adult Content” brought in a heavy-hitting panel that included John Stagliano of Evil Angel, Jules Jordan, Axel Braun, Dan O’Connell of Girlfriends Films, Bob Christian of Adam and Eve, Kelly Holland of Penthouse/FriendFinder Networks and Homegrown’s Spike Goldberg. Producer/director Jeff Mullen moderated the seminar.
Much of the discussion pointed to better times ahead, and that the Internet — once seen as a foe with the traditional DVD business — is working hand in hand with distributors of hard media.
"We are having better years,” Goldberg said. “Homegrown is a different studio; I can’t compete with content on HD, and we will never win at that. But the Internet gave us a new life, and we have continued to amass a following of what we do.
"I think that there is something to say about the democratization of porn. The Internet has forced that.
“In the old days, I remember it was like there were one or two starlets — stars like Jenna Jameson or Tori Welles,” he said. “Times have changed; everyone is a star. I can post a star on PornHub and she will get 10 million of views in a month or two.
“Technology makes exciting times, and that is what has kept us around.”