I’ve been thinking. What do we have in store for the adult business in 2014?
When I talk about leadership it’s comical, because it makes the industry sound so important as if we have these highly educated people discussing where this business has to go and how it has to be built and so forth and so on.
There is no leadership in the adult business. There really is no business anymore. The industry as we knew it is done.
I made an analogy last week and some people thought of it as a joke, but this industry is really a giant Middle East cauldron. You have all of these people and all of these companies and everybody’s fighting amongst themselves. You have all of these people with a vision of how it should go in the future and the ideas that they have are fundamentally skewed because their ideas go against all logic.
So it’s like the Middle East, because the Middle East is all about killing everyone who is not part of one religion. They are all fighting over a fantasy in the sky.
Our business is basically fighting over the same thing. It’s like gambling. Nobody ever ultimately wins at gambling because the odds favor the house. The house in our case is Manwin. But the Manwin house is crumbling because everything they do is based on bullshit. Their foundation is made of sand and they will eventually crumble to the ground.
Their entire structure is about using everything they’ve gobbled up in the business, destroying it and riding off into the sunset with bags full of cash.
Then you have to look at the companies that are left after that. Like I’ve said ladies and gentlemen, unless you are a Hustler, I don’t really see any other company doing anything but surviving until they eventually die.
When you have companies who have 200 movies and their business model is predicated on people fucking and cumming on each other, you really don’t see much of a future. You pay a girl $100 to do a blowjob scene and you put it on a disc that is quickly becoming obsolete and you sell it to a man by the name of Frank Koretsky of IVD. This is a business on life support. That’s what the future is.
I don’t see any of the companies out there that will make great strides and succeed in 2014. Most of the companies will go out of business.
Hustler is the only company which has recognized what is going on and have stopped chasing their tails and are gearing up for 2014.
Let me explain. If anybody can argue that what I’m saying isn’t true, I’m all ears. But you can’t.
You have companies like Porno Dan, Porn Pros, Jim Camp, Jerry at Exquisite, Exile Distribution, Monarchy, etc. There are only so many revenue streams out there when you are a shit company. When I say shit company, we’re talking about 95% of the companies out there today. You know what? It’s all of the companies except Hustler, because they have a business model that is almost dead. And they’ve never done anything to build for the future and to try to change that pattern.
They used to shoot new content, which nobody does anymore. There are very few companies that legitimately shoot new content on a regular basis. I’m not talking about shooting sporadically here and there. I’m talking about a production schedule where they shoot 5 or 6 new scenes per movie and put them out every week. I’m talking movies with top adult film stars and top male talent. Not talking guys like Scott Lyons or any of the mopes that do $150 blowbangs. I’m talking Keiran Lee or Manuel Ferrara, the guys who are good looking and consistently turn in good scenes.
I’ll break it down for you.
Say you pay a girl 1000 for an anal scene. And that’s a low figure because just a couple years ago they were pulling in a lot more. Nobody’s raking it in anymore. So for a 5 scene movie, you’re paying $5000. That’s just for the girls.
Now you’re gonna use 5 guys that are good, that are appealing to look at. You’re gonna pay a minimum of $500 a guy. Minimum. Now you’re looking at $2500.
Now you’re at $7500 just for talent. Right now there are not a lot of companies that can make back that $7500 just to break even. That $7500 equals 750 pieces of DVD at an average price of $10. None of the companies out there right now are moving 750 out the door of every release.
Let’s continue. Because we haven’t even gotten into other costs. This is why all of you distributors have been getting old comps for the past year and a half. None of these people can afford any of these budgets.
So right now the talent budget is $7500. Now if you’re trying to get high end quality and make the girls look good, I have to assume you’re gonna need a makeup artist. You’re not gonna have a girl you’re paying $1000 for and have her do her own makeup. So say you have to pay a makeup artist $100 a girl. And this is low balling, two years ago they were making more.
So now the budget’s at $8000. Now, don’t we need a location? I know a couple of years ago you could get a location and shoot a scene for $200. That’s a friend price. So you shoot 5 scenes at a location. What’s that? Another $1000. You can shoot at your own house, but are you gonna shoot every scene in your own living room? Gotta imagine that’s gonna be a little stale after awhile. Kinda like Jules Jordan who shoots everything at his house with natural light, which takes no lighting skill whatsoever. But if you want your content to look a little professional and have some longevity and not make disposable cookie cutter porn, you’re gonna wanna switch things up. But locations cost money, so let’s just say an extra $1000 added to our porn budget.
Now we’re at $9000 for makeup, location and talent. That’s it. Now we’re at 900 pieces at $10. Just to make nine grand. Just to break even. Nobody’s moving 900 out the door on a fucking movie.
Now doesn’t somebody have to shoot this? Don’t we need a camera guy? A director? A still photographer? Now you can get one guy to do it all like I did for Jerry and shoot camera and stills, maybe you have a PA with you. At that time I was making $500 a scene. To do everything, camera, lighting, stills, the works. Diane Devoe got $650.
So at 5 times 500, you’re looking at 2500 bucks. To direct a typical gonzo movie. That’s about average for a low end gonzo. It’s about what Jim Powers gets. Or got. Probably a little lower now.
Now we’re at $11,500. Add incidentals like enemas, douches, baby wipes, you can add a couple hundred extra. People who shoot know what I’m talking and are nodding their heads. “Yeah, Rob, you’re about right.” And I’m underestimating the costs that pop up, like if you use some porn superstar that wacks you for extra dough. So let’s just just 500 for incidentals.
Now we have a $12,000 budget. And I haven’t even included the pimps who’ll want their agency fees for all that talent. So you got figure you’re gonna lay out 100 a head for the girls, and let’s say you’re gonna use guys that you know and don’t have to pay a fee for them. So that puts you at $12,500.
This movie hasn’t even been edited. It hasn’t been authored. This movie hasn’t had any artwork done yet. This movie hasn’t been replicated. Hasn’t had any sleeves made.
But you’re saying, “But Rob, you don’t have to pay these girls $1000.” True, but now you’re taking 5 steps back. If you’re gonna tell me you can get the same caliber of girl at 500 a scene you’re full of shit. Perfect example is Porno Dan. Porno Dan pays his girls $500, but I don’t remember seeing anyone like Alexis Texas in a Porno Dan movie. I gotta imagine the only girls that will let Porno Dan and his band of misfit losers fuck them are not gonna be near the caliber of an Alexis Texas. So if you use a bunch of Foxxx Modeling slobs, you can cut that female talent budget to $2500.
But that’s not a lot of money if you expect to move decent numbers with a bunch of 500 skanky talent. You can save $2500, but you’re gonna lose that in sales. You can save money on guys, but are you gonna wanna use $200 guys like Ralph Long and Scott Lyons instead of guys like Keiran Lee and Manuel Ferrara? If you take the budgets down too much you’re gonna take down the quality of the movie. Take down the quality of the movie, you’re gonna take down the sales.
There ain’t nobody right now doing 1250 pieces out the door. By out the door I mean the numbers that go out on the street date. Not a company out there right now doing 1250 pieces. Not one.
1250 pieces just to break even on what you’ve spent so far. But wait, the movie’s not ready to sell yet.
You need editing and authoring. Authoring is making the DVD. On this you’ll spend anywhere from $500 to $2000. It depends on the quality that you want. Because, remember the quality dictates how much you’re gonna get for it and how many you’re gonna sell. You can get some scumbag to do it on the cheap, but a good edit/authoring job is gonna run you about $1500.
So now we’re at $14,000. Now you need artwork and packaging. Right now, decent art is gonna run you about $500. Again, you can get losers to crank it out for as little as $100, but you get what you pay for. Professional looking art that you can use not only for the sleeves, but for posters and other promo materials, you’re looking at at least $500.
$14,500 is what we’re up to now. If you’re Jules Jordan or Evil Angel, $14,500 is the minimum you’re gonna have to shell out for a high end gonzo production. And we haven’t even included the replication and the sleeves. That adds another $800
Now remember, we can cut all these numbers down, the talent, the editing and authoring, the directing, etc. and knock it down to say 10,500, but there’s no way it’s gonna be a quality production and as a result you’re not gonna sell decent numbers.
You can do content trades, but there are no high level girls who are gonna get fucked up their asses on a regular basis for free.
So there are no companies out there right now who are consistently making $14,000 original content productions. It ain’t happening. So that means that all the movies that these distributors are selling right now to the stores are compilation garbage. Old content that is repackaged, recycled and put together and sold as new. There are no companies, from Exquisite on down that are laying out 14,000 for new productions every week.
The distribution channels just aren’t there anymore. If you’re lucky, you’re moving 6-800 pieces. Even the great Evil Angel. Most are moving around 3-400.
So you see the viability of this business? You can see the leadership are only trying to prolong the inevitable. Because they’re a bunch of uneducated assholes who came from a time when you could put anything in a box and you would make millions. You had assholes like John Stagliano and Jerry Estrada who came in when it was boom times.
You had John Stagliano who was a failed porn actor who came from the time of features. Nobody liked him. He was a terrible performer. He figured out a way to stay around by shooting cheap crap on a camcorder. That was the introduction of gonzo. Unimaginative garbage that took no talent whatsoever to produce. Gonzo enabled anyone with no skill at all to crank out porn.
So here we are in 2014. In cable the only real outlet left is New Frontier Media. Larry Flynt recently bought it. Alan Isaacman was the man in charge at the time of the sale. Alan Isaacman was Larry Flynt’s lawyer for the Jerry Falwell case. So Alan Isaacman was instrumental in making the deal go down. Manwin was in line to buy New Frontier, but lost out to Larry Flynt.
So the only real cable game in town right now is New Frontier Media. There is another cable channel, but they have no outlets and no real juice. They only pay 75 to 100 dollars a movie. That company is Vivid Entertainment.
New Frontier now pays around $3000 for a high end gonzo and $5000 for a feature. When I was at Exquisite they were paying around $9000 and sometimes you could get $15,000. That all changed when Larry Flynt took over.
Aside from what I’ve just mentioned, there is no other revenue that is out there. There is ancillary money out there from VOD but it’s not that much. If you’re a company that’s been around for awhile and has 2000-3000 movies up on Hotmovies, you will get a decent check. But if you only have that money to live on, you’re out of business.
If someone can tell me how the current system is gonna be profitable and viable in 2014, I’ve got a bridge to sell you and it’s in New York and it’s full of gold and rainbows and butterflies.
This business is dead man walking. It’s on life support. The people in charge will go on radio shows and embarrass themselves talking about disease instead of embracing change and figuring out a way to make it commercially viable again. Instead they just help to destroy it.
Numbers don’t lie, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve sold out to the Manwins and the situation is more desperate than ever before. The few corrupt people in charge are the only ones profiting anymore. And everyone else can just fade and die.
Welcome to 2014.
Follow Rob Black on Twitter @RealRobBlack Email: [email protected]