Don't Count Out the DVD, Porn Studio Execs Say

Feb 10, 2011 1:15 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — Studio heavyweights haven't yet counted out the DVD despite slumping sales and an ever-increasing number of adult distribution channels.

Four top execs spoke about their company's outlook on the fate of the DVD at the XBIZ Retail Expo on Thursday, which is in its second day. The seminar was titled “DVDs: Today’s Blockbusters and Profitable Sales Strategies”

Moderated by Exile Distribution President Howard Levine, a panel of experts included Digital Playground President and CEO Samantha Lewis, Evil Angel General Manager Christian Mann, LFP Inc. President Michael H. Klein and Penthouse Studios President Kelly Holland.

Holland said that DVD sales are down 40-60 percent industry-wide and that it's tougher for studios to make a buck, leading more companies to "offer more than what we've traditionally given them."

"It used to be how we could pick up the money on the street; now we have to crawl under the car for a dollar," she said. "We don't know where the DVD market is. It is under an enormous amount of pressure. Our margins are decreasing every day, requiring us to be agile how we market things."

Digital Playground, with its high-production values, also has faced a slump with DVD sales and was even forced to expand into the sex toy and novelty business this past year, Lewis said.

Nevertheless, Lewis says there still is a market for the DVD.

"For us it has all been about quality, and we've followed mainstream's lead by incorporating standard DVDs with Blu-ray discs into the packaging," she said. "We are trying to push blu-ray because it is harder to pirate."

"We can learn from what mainstream does," she said. "They follow us; we should be able to follow them."

Mann said that his company works harder to keep its storeowners happy selling the Evil Angel product.

"While DVD is not a growth industry, I think it will be going on for some time," he said. "While obviously things have changed, you have to understand that the DVD was made for adult movies."

Mann noted that chronic porn viewers love the DVD because it is simple to play, doesn't buffer like Internet viewing and that it offers vignettes of some of the movies' scenes.

Klein, meanwhile, said that Hustler still counts the DVD as "a very important part of its business."

"Things have changed ... you got to be more careful what you shoot because we simply don't shoot like we used to," he said. "The larger studios used to shoot 20 films a month; now there between four to eight a month."

XBIZ Retail Expo, which is in its second day, draws buyers for three days of world-class seminars, product debuts and showcases and unlimited business-networking opportunities inside the event’s intimate venue, the luxurious Sofitel Hotel across from the Beverly Center.

An expanded exhibiting hall will include suites on the hotel’s 10th floor featuring the industry’s leading manufacturers, which showcases their latest and greatest product releases.

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