Financial Times Looks at ‘Porn’s New Marketing Tactics’

Bob Johnson

LONDON — Although adult business crowdfunding is not new, a U.K. businessman and entrepreneur is attempting to have his platform blessed by the U.K.’s House of Lords.

Jason Maskell, founder of content creator Adult Lifestyle Media Company, is talking with the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority in an effort to get the nod for adultXfund (AFX) to help companies raise funds for all kinds of adult products and services, from lingerie and toys to distribution, websites and DVDs.

According to the Financial Times, the idea came after Maskell’s initial mainstream crowdfunding bid to create a studio and distribution company tanked when investors backed out. He also saw his bank pull his business account for "moral standards” — a practice that’s gaining steam.

Maskell’s plan is being put forth to the House of Lords as part of the Digital Policy Alliance, a politically neutral body that represents the Internet and technology sectors, charged with discussing new proposals for online age verification for gambling, tobacco, alcohol and the adult industry.

The entrepreneur feels his platform will help an industry that’s struggling to remain profitable. “The market’s drenched; where before you could make a film and sell it, now you have to chop it up into six or seven revenue streams — DVD, online, mobile — then you can spin out licensing deals into different countries,” Maskell told the Financial Times.

Despite the challenges, Maskell believes there’s still hope and that most consumers still want "good-quality product, good sets and good locations, shot well, edited well, with good-looking performers” — but it all takes money.

The Financial Times piece also offered a hint at what some companies in various porn sectors are doing to find more revenue in their coffers, as well as the future of porn, and includes a number of interviews with some of the industry’s other notables.

Queried for the article besides Maskell were Steve Winyard, vice president of ICM Registry, which markets .xxx, .porn, .adult and, soon, .sex; and Los Angeles-based talent agent Mark Spiegler, among others.

In trying to wrap its story around a real industry, the Financial Times cited an XBIZ survey that put annual revenue at $5 billion worldwide — including sales and rentals of DVDs, membership-based websites, video-on-demand, live webcams, mobile and pay-per-view movies on cable and satellite.

Winyard, however, said that the industry must keep up with the times if it is to continue seeing that type of revenue.

“The market has evolved. The adult industry has been very proactive in terms of innovation. In the past few years, it has had to change in response to free content,” Winyard said.

Spiegler laments that the business of porn isn’t what it used to be — “But still there are tons of people making money,” he said.

“Making porn is not that expensive; if you can’t make money, you’re not very good at it.”

Spiegler, in the piece,  said he believes the porn industry is much like any other.

“There’s politics and infighting,” he said. “It’s just like high school with ashtrays. There’s lots of gossiping.”

The Financial Times article, which includes several photographs by noted art-porn photographer CJ Everard, can be viewed here.