CBS Business Network Interviews Top Porn Successes

Jan 4, 2011 2:00 PM PST
CYBERSPACE — Unlike mainstream media’s typical coverage of the adult industry that grabs for a titillating headline to shock readers, the CBS Interactive Business Network has interviewed five of porn’s elite to find out how they’ve succeeded in business.

A cross section of adult performers and business people, including performers Sasha Grey, Ron Jeremy and Annie Sprinkle along with Hustler President Michael H. Klein and fetish web honcho Colin Rountree were asked their secrets to success and their brief histories in porn.

The report said that although it’s unusual for the mainstream world to look to the adult industry for business wisdom, because of porn’s pioneering and progressive adoption of technology and the tough competitive marketplace, the winners have a lot to share.

“Porn is also one of the most competitive industries in the world. It has a lower barrier of entry (no pun intended) which makes it very difficult to remain on top (no pun intended). As a result, people who are successful in the pornography business are often quite business savvy and are good at creating opportunities and, yes, selling their services and ideas,” the article said.

Some of the performer responses were not new, either from a mainstream or typical porn fan’s perspective but when asked about their secrets to success, some results were surprising.

Porn star and crossover darling Sasha Grey who made her mark in 2010 with a role in the HBO "Entourage" series said she refuses to accept limitations and has a philosophical look at life.

Grey said, “The challenge is to craft yourself so that you’re appropriate for what people want and need to see. It’s very easy for people to assume that because I do pornography that I’m not intelligent or that I’m incapable of making good decisions. However, I never see myself that way and instead look upon my life in a more existentialist way, as a means of understanding why people are they way they are.”

Veteran Ron Jeremy stressed hustling and dedication to his acting and porn craft to get ahead while classic star Annie Sprinkle advised folks to create support groups that delve into the deeper aspects of sexuality. Her efforts snagged lots of mainstream coverage over three decades that’s translated to a successful career.

From a more traditional and tech-driven business standpoint, Wasteland.com’s Colin Rountree told CBS that the secret to web success is building a social network without upsells. Rountree said he offers fetish enthusiasts a free community first and if they then want to buy a membership to his sites, it’s a bonus.

Hustler's Michael H. Klein, one of porn’s most successful business leaders and often a “go to” guy for savvy leadership advice in a wide range of adult sectors including broadcast and the Internet said his priority is lifelong learning.

“Even if you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, making deals and setting up relationships requires knowledge about how businesses work. The reason that I’ve been successful in selling the Hustler brand is that I’m constantly learning and growing in my understanding of the media world, what’s working in the past, and what’s working now,” Klein said.

The executive said his strategy allows him to make smart choices and connect with the right people and companies.

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