LOS ANGELES — XBIZ is pleased to announce the Visionary Keynote speakers for XBIZ 2016, the adult industry’s premier trade events series, set for Jan. 12-15 in West Hollywood.
Tim Valenti, the founder and CEO of NakedSword.com, will present the future of digital media; Kelly Holland, managing director of Penthouse Entertainment, will present the future of content production; Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, the founders of the online sex toy retailer, Lovehoney.com, will co-present the future of retail keynote; and Bruce Murison and his wife Melody, the co-founders of Standard Innovation, parent company of the We-Vibe, will co-present the future of pleasure products.
The Visionary Keynotes will anchor an unprecedented series of events created to examine the future of the rapidly evolving adult industry at the stylish Andaz Hotel on the Sunset Strip.
XBIZ will again take over the entire property of the Andaz Hotel for an events series that will lead into the adult industry’s biggest night, the 2016 XBIZ Awards show presented by LiveJasmin, on Friday, Jan. 15, when it will return to the spectacular J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live.
Tim Valenti is a pioneering figure in online video distribution that has built NakedSword.com into what is widely regarded as “the Netflix of gay porn.”
After a decade in the industry, Valenti engineered a game-changing merger between NakedSword and AEBN in 2007. In the years that followed, he's become one of the industry's most respected and innovative thinkers, known for helping to converge the worlds of adult and mainstream entertainment.
In 2015 Valenti served as the president of the Free Speech Coalition. He's written op-ed columns for the Huffington Post and produced dozen's of adult and independent films, including the critically acclaimed indie feature, “I Want Your Love.”
“The Keynote at XBIZ 2016 is a chance to talk with the leaders of the industry and hopefully spur conversations about how we move forward, politically, economically, socially, technologically,” Valenti said.
“I've been in this industry for nearly 20 years and I've weathered the highs and the lows. We're a tough industry. We're an innovative industry. But I think that a lot of people are feeling disillusioned because the old methods aren't working. I think that's good.
“We've gone from a get-rich-quick, fly-by-night industry to a mature business. To me, this is an opportunity for people who are in it for the long game, for people who are interested in developing new models.”
Valenti continued, “In my keynote, I want to take a holistic look at the industry, and talk about not only ways we've innovated in the past, but people who are innovating now — and what both tell us about the future of the industry. This isn't a time to be exiting adult. This is a time to be regrouping, to look at the way consumers are changing, and to develop business models that capitalize on that.
“What's happening in adult is a reflection of what's happening in all media. But you don't see the New York Times or Netflix or Viacom looking to cash out. In fact, you see the opposite. You see non-media companies like Amazon and Facebook and Google trying to get IN. You see tremendous investment in the now. The industry is no longer a casino, but that doesn't mean you can't do extremely well if you know how to play your cards.”
Kelly Holland, a former mainstream documentarian, directed her first adult film in 1994 while producing a long-running reality television series on the adult industry, “Adult Television Entertainment.”
She became the Executive Producer for Playgirl TV in 2005, serving as their Brand Ambassador and International Spokesperson while helping to launch their broadcast division. While at Playgirl she was responsible for creating the look and feel of the new channel as well as overseeing production.
In 2006, Holland joined Penthouse and as president of Entertainment she created the Penthouse Broadcast division. Today, with 10 channels in more than 100 countries Penthouse Television has become a global leader in adult broadcasting.
Penthouse Channels are currently airing in markets from Latin America, Canada, and the U.S. to Korea, Turkey, Europe and Africa. Recognized internationally as a technology leader, Penthouse was one of the first studios in the world to launch 3D linear channels as well as a multi-screen interactive, live channel.
With an ongoing commitment to new technologies, Penthouse is poised this year to introduce the first linear 4K adult channel.
In 2012 Holland took over the leadership of two additional divisions, Penthouse Publishing and Licensing. Penthouse Product Licensing has partnered with such prestigious fashion brands as Dolce & Gabbana, German designer Phillipe Plein and street wear brand, Huf. This year Penthouse expanded its global licensing presence with several new agreements for fragrances, wines, spirits and novelties in a partnership with Topco.
Under Holland’s direction the Penthouse Club Division has also expanded its international presence, opening clubs in Paris, Moscow, Auckland and Perth. Its growing club division now has 17 clubs worldwide, including flagship locations in New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Tampa, Fla., and nine other major cities.
“I’m honored and humbled that XBIZ has asked me to be the 2016 Keynote speaker,” Holland said. “XBIZ is the preeminent voice of our industry, the ‘go-to’ source for the business of the business and XBIZ 2016 will bring together leaders and influencers from around the world. I’m thrilled to be a part of the conference.”
Holland continued, “Our industry faces unparalleled challenges and pressures from changing technologies, a fractured global marketplace and a sophisticated millennial generation that exited the birth canal with a cell phone in each hand.
“In this high-stakes environment it’s easy to chase the market and lose sight of your brand’s core DNA. I’d like to talk about the integrity of brand and why it’s critical for success. Whether you’re a global brand, a B2B service provider, a performer or an individual entrepreneur your success depends on understanding your core brand and consistently communicating that message.”
Neal Slateford is a former record producer who co-founded Lovehoney in 2002 with ex-technology journalist Richard Longhurst. The pair now runs the largest online sex toy retailer in the United Kingdom that is also growing internationally as a retailer, manufacturer and distributor.
Lovehoney employs 180 people and is based in Bath, England, operating retail websites in the U.K., America, France, Germany and Australia. In 2012, the company overcame massive competition to acquire the exclusive worldwide license to manufacture pleasure products under the Fifty Shades of Grey brand.
The company has won more than 50 international awards, including Online Retailer of The Year at the 2015 XBIZ Awards, and Best Film, Television, or Entertainment Licensee for Hard Goods for Fifty Shades of Grey at the 2015 LIMA Licensing Awards.
A six-part reality show about Lovehoney called “Frisky Business” is currently running on Netflix.
“We’re both delighted to be asked to speak at XBIZ 2016,” Slateford said. “It's a unique opportunity to share some of our experiences from our 13 years in the industry. As Brits we're particularly honored to be talking at America's premiere adult conference.”
Longhurst remarked, “We'll be talking about the challenges of trading globally; the importance of brands in an industry with endless me too product; our take on the role of stores in the age of the Internet; as well as calling for greater cooperation between manufacturers to promote the industry to both consumers and investors.”
Longhurst added with tongue in cheek, “We'll also be explaining that football is played with a round ball, what to do with a courgette and the correct way to pronounce ‘aluminium.’
Bruce Murison is the CEO of Standard Innovation and inventor of the We-Vibe who founded the company with his wife Melody in 2004.
Bruce focuses on business growth, performance, strategic direction and product innovation for the tech-driven pleasure products company. Before Standard Innovation, Bruce was in research and development at Nortel Networks. A serial entrepreneur and inventor, Bruce has started a variety of companies and has numerous patents.
“Melody and I are so honored that XBIZ chose us to present their pleasure products keynote this year,” Bruce Murison said. “When we launched We-Vibe seven years ago we were outsiders and, in fact, we had not even been in an adult store.
“Right from the start, this industry warmly embraced us. We are deeply grateful for that and thrilled to give back and share what we’ve learned along the way.”
Bruce said he and his wife were eager to recount their success story for XBIZ 2016 attendees.
“Melody and I are excited to take conference attendees on a journey through the story of We-Vibe and how it intersects with changes in our industry, and what we believe lies ahead for the industry as a whole,” he added.
The most recent XBIZ events series in January drew a record number of attendees from international markets for the most comprehensive lineup of business insights, networking and deal-making opportunities.
To stay tuned to XBIZ 2016 event news, visit XBIZShow.com.