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from www.lvrj.com – Women wearing 3-inch heels and higher are everywhere, with long hair curled in loose ringlets. Guys wearing tennis shoes stop and look, while others stop for autographs and perhaps look a little scared.
It’s time for the annual Adult Video News convention, Las Vegas.
The 2013 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo runs through Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel. The show is bringing an estimated 30,000 attendees to Las Vegas with $38.2 million in nongaming economic impact, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
A portion of the show is open to trade only. But for $80, the public can see the Fan Fest and entertainment expo areas, and get plenty close to their favorite adult film stars.
And while the public wants autographs, those in the industry just want to know where they’re headed. With pirated material popping up everywhere online and technology changing at a rapid-fire pace, mainstays in adult entertainment have to diversify and stay light on their feet to stay relevant and make money.
Take the almost 20-year-old Wicked Pictures, for instance. In August, the company introduced an entirely new business line – personal care products.
“While movies are getting pirated, you need to create a tangible product that can’t be downloaded,” said Wicked’s owner, Steve Orenstein [pictured].
Orenstein said the overall adult retail demographic now consists more of women than men, so companies have had to adjust.
“The marketplace is changing. DVDs are shrinking, Internet is growing,” Orenstein said. “Our company is doing well, but percentages are shifting.”
Still, 90 percent of what Wicked creates are story-driven features and since 1999, it has been a condoms- mandatory studio.
“I would venture to say over the years that yeah, there’s money we didn’t make because of (requiring condoms) but I can’t quantify what that is,” Orenstein said. “We’ve built a strong brand and people that follow our brand are OK that they’re there.”
The brand also created a series of educational videos geared toward that women-and-couples retail market, and a softer series of adult films that could be merchandised in the front of a store instead of in the back with all the other hard-core.
“We’re re-evaluating how and what we’re going to shoot and where we deliver it to people,” Orenstein said. “Now it’s about having the right mix of products.”
And it’s not only studios that have to reinvent. Performers, too, must diversify to keep cash flowing.
Stormy Daniels, who’s been in the industry for 10 years, writes, directs and performs in adult films. She used to make “several thousand dollars a month” on her personal website. Now, because of piracy, she said membership is down and she makes “a couple thousand.”
“The second I put something online someone downloads all my content and puts it somewhere else,” Daniels said. “I’m this close to saying, ‘Screw that’ and taking it all down. I’ve had to reinvent how I’m going to make money.”
Enter in her line of T-shirts, and an increased personal appearance schedule filled with signings and hostings.
“They can’t duplicate me yet,” Daniels said.
Daniels also said film budgets, have been reduced in recent years because consumers want to buy a clip for $1.99 instead of purchasing a feature film. And in some cases, they’re just downloading for free.
And when casting a film, she pays attention to who’s hot online. She even checks how many Twitter followers a woman has before hiring her. The more the better.
Orenstein said he isn’t sure what will happen to the industry.
“Every time there’s a new technology it also brings other issues,” he said.