I have seen a lot of changes in the porn business over the years, and I still have some hopes for the future being brighter with a few changes. Sure, many of these may not happen, but I do think the porn business would benefit from making some adjustments in several areas. I’ve seen the change from the full length films in the theaters to the VHS tapes at, DVDs, the internet, blu-ray, some 3D and everything in between. There have been many great changes over the years, and there have been some big missteps as well.
Without rambling too long about the mistakes of the porn industry and getting into the great free porn and tube site debate, I’d like to mention a couple of big mistakes and then get on to the things that can make everything better for everyone in the future. The porn industry, just like the music industry got overly greedy some years back, and with porn sales going through the roof, rather than invest that money in establishing brands and customer loyalty, many producers and retails jumped onto the greed wagon and left a bad taste in consumer’s mouths. It’s no wonder that so many people flock to tube sites to find what they were looking for, when for years the industry made it a game to advertise girls on a cover that barely made an appearance in the film, and made big claims about “tons of anal and stars in never before seen footage” – only to be disappointing in seeing merely a glimpse of what they thought they were buying.
The music business engaged in much of a similar ploy when re-releasing tons of music on CD – and even though millions of consumers bought into the “digitally remastered” versions, and such as that – in the end people realizes they were paying too much to listen to the same music they had already purchased before. While distributors were raking in the dough without spending much to create new content or invest in branding good content for future sales. All of that greed from the producers to the distributors and retailers has come back to haunt those in the music and porn business. The past is what it is, but it should be a lesson for the future and I fear that many are not even aware of the reasoning for today’s lackluster sales – instead simply blaming others and complaining about tubes and other free porn sites.
If your company has been providing what content the customer wants and a price that is comfortable for them, then they would be coming back for more. It amazes me to see porn stores finally changing their appearance to be better lit and cleaner and nicer today, then they should of taking the money they were making before and investing in making it better in the first place. Unfortunately it is the reaction to losing sales that is forcing so many change, and now everyone is playing catch up, and doing it with less resources and against more fierce competition.
My main desires for 2012 in the porn biz is for everyone to get on their own page, get their branding together and stick with it, and help people to promote it. Let’s get real, take the resources you are spending on fighting about free porn sites, and create some free porn that is easy to promote and pushes your brand. I would like to see more from the likes of wicked and more ninn workx style videos coming to market, and with them coming promo materials that are easy to reinforce the brand. If you are producing hardcore gonzo, then stick with that, and make it easy for webmasters and retailers to promote your brand.
I see some producers out there making great content, and then failing when it comes to making it easy for webmasters to promote it. I see some companies trying to produce so many different types of porn under the same umbrella that people are not able to recognize if that brand is hardcore, softcore, low budget or feature film – I don’t even know what to expect when I see some logos out there.
For those of you out there that have people working against your affiliates and retailers in order to push up your bottom line, you are going to find yourself left without many of the best salespeople working for you. As the bigger names try to take over search results and threaten smaller guys with loss of revenue in order to “protect your brand” – what you are doing is failing to offer guidance for others to help promote your brand, and taking out the thousands of opportunities to have others working for you.
I see a lot of short sighted protectionist plays and conflicts of interest where companies are still looking at greed for to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the world, and all the while failing to see how they are losing the future to others who playing by the new rules. I’d love to elaborate on this more, and perhaps while in another blog post.
I would also like to see the business develop a new model to enhance porn performer’s careers and bottom lines, and it could be done in a way that helps to protect the producer’s brands as well. I know many will not do this, and for those who even consider it, it could be a serious pain to get the logistics in place, but perhaps a hybrid future model could blend this little fantasy into becoming a reality. What I am talking about is offering girls a slice of the rights. Before you write it off, call me crazy and start to flame and hate me, consider a new way to do it.
Let’s say rather than give an all out percentage, we were to include the performer as partial owner to the rights of the project and instead of divvying up a chunk of each and every sale, we put in performance bonuses to certain marks, like the first 1000 DVD sales, and 5,000 pay per view, stuff like that. Give them a portion of the copyright, and some of these girls will be able to help the production house in many ways.
For one, a performer having rights to a certain production would be able to seek out unauthorized videos on the net and file a dmca complaint herself – many of these girls have the time to do it. They would also be able to leverage their fan base in reporting the places that are showing unauthorized videos – something that the big labels will most likely never get to happen, a porn star would get fans to seek them out and report them 24 hours a day.
Having mile marker bonuses would also encourage girls to do things like DVD signings, either live or via the internet to increase sales. There are many other bonuses to setting things up this way – and it would be a very powerful alliance that would bridge the chain from producer to star to fans. It would get some of the girls to become a free pr department rather than a work for hire contact with no interest in the success of the final product. We would also see girls working harder to make good porn in the first place – and these would benefit everyone, as we see so few of the girls interested in making a well selling flick these days and we see girls who go through the motions to just to satisfy the requirements of getting paid for today’s shoot.
I am not talking about getting in an RIAA or BMI type of rights and royalties situation – I am just throwing an idea out there that could be a big one. If some places got into this in a way that is a healthy relationship for everyone it would make a great impact in many areas, and realistically it wouldn’t cost anything. Sure it’d be a pain in the ass to track and do stats and keep up with bonuses, but the increased sales and exposure would certainly make up for it.
I have several other great ideas for some better futures for all of us in the biz, but I will category those and make some more posts in those categories. There’s a couple of things to think about this year. More on this later.