LOS ANGELES — Online retail powerhouse Adult Empire has consistently been a go-to source for adult products for the last 17 years, expanding its "empire” to VOD, and more recently to its own production arm, AE Films.
But moving from a safe and successful business model to the more fickle and difficult portion of the marketplace like film production — especially considering the downturn in DVD sales in recent years — takes courage and determination.
But perserverance paid off and just this week the company announced an exclusive distribution deal with Pure Play Media that kicks off with AE’s Aug. 13 release of “Megan Rain: Get Wet.” Pure Play will handle the exclusive B2B distribution for this next, and all past and future AE releases.
XBIZ sat down with Colin Allerton, director of business development for the 2015 XBIZ Adult VOD Site of the Year Award winning company to pick his brain as to what motivated the jump to movies and what’s in store for the progressive company.
XBIZ: Since late 2014 AE seems to have been making key moves like film production, etc. What’s prompted the changes?
Allerton: Delivering a better experience to our customers is what we strive for. After 17 years in the industry specializing in web, video and retail sales, we felt the need to diversify our business and truly serve the customer in a more personal way.
XBIZ: Tell us how you decided to get into film production?
Allerton: After years of building up our online catalog of big-name studios, we felt it was time to create original content that our customers were searching for, but weren’t finding.
XBIZ: How are your movies unique?
Allerton: It’s all about the quality. We’re one of the only studios currently shooting and releasing content in 4K, also known as Ultra High Definition. This format offers up to four times as many pixels as Full HD. We also use our data to assure that there’s a demand for the girls we’re shooting. This year we’re releasing the Holly Randall directorial movie debut 'True Erotica,' as well as titles from top directors Robby D. and Jay Rock.
XBIZ: What other types of films are you planning to release? What will the Aaliyah Love feature contain?
Allerton: We will be releasing high-end gonzo and showcase features. The Aaliyah Love feature shows her in four completely different scenarios, where she picked all of the other performers, and one of the highlights is her first interracial threesome. The upcoming Missy Martinez showcase has her first and only DP that she’ll be doing. We also have an upcoming showcase for Megan Rain in addition to the previously released features spotlighting Jenna J. Ross and Scarlet Red.
XBIZ: Your company has also been involved in philanthropic causes. How has this come about?
Allerton: People tend to regard adult entertainment organizations purely as distributors of porn. However, in the end, we’re a company made up of people who care just as deeply as any other business does.
XBIZ: Tell us about your more consumer-friendly business model.
Allerton: We want to be more than a website; we want to give our customers a true entertainment experience. Our exclusive interviews, podcasts, blogs and video blogs all contribute to the fresh appeal that our company is all about. And of course, we are always working to offer the very best in adult, which includes regular delivery on different formats to capture our customer’s attention.
XBIZ: In March you launched pay-per-scene. Has this been a success?
Allerton: Yes, one of the biggest changes in music distribution was the ability to choose to buy either the whole album or just your favorite song. We wanted to offer consumers exactly the same option for adult entertainment, and it has been successful.
XBIZ: After 17 years in business how have you been able to keep pace?
Allerton: We’ve been able to keep up by listening to our customers, the studios, and all of our partners. We also have a very relaxed, promote-from-within work environment that most employees don’t want to leave. Right now we have 23 employees that have been here 10 years or more. We also have an outstanding development team that is always working to improve our sites and user experience alike. The adult landscape and associated technologies are constantly changing, so we try to change and adapt with them.
XBIZ: In 2015 you won the XBIZ Award for Adult VOD Site of the Year. What do you feel put you ahead of the pack?
Allerton: Last year we rolled out some big customer-focused features. We launched our pay-per-scene option, we signed a lot of new studios to VOD, launched responsive VOD theaters, and successfully launched our Unlimited Membership site including a ROKU channel, all of which could be reasons for putting us ahead of the pack.
XBIZ: What new technologies are you utilizing?
Allerton: In late 2014, we launched an industry first — Digiflixxx — a buy once, watch anywhere model. It grants customers the choice to watch their purchased DVDs and Blu-rays anywhere, and on any device, by adopting a similar approach to Hollywood’s UltraViolet initiative. We’re also now streaming 4K versions of our movies on our sites via our state-of-the-art Tier 2 Data Center — BareMetalPittsburgh.com
XBIZ: What are the plans for the next year?
Allerton: We’re always looking for new content for our customers, we’ll create more original high-quality content, and we’ll expand our Adult Empire Cash Affiliate program to find new business partners to continue growing the company.
XBIZ: Any new strategies coming down the pike?
Allerton: We are expanding our VOD membership sites and responsive store/theater system through strategic partnerships via our affiliate program, AdultEmpireCash.com. We’re building all of our affiliate and partner sites on a mobile-friendly, responsively-designed platform — all powered by the same technology we use to operate our award-winning VOD site AdultEmpire.com.