Girlfriends Films Owner Moose Discusses Hustler Video Deal
LOS ANGELES — Girlfriends Films may have just closed one of the industry’s first major distribution deals of 2014, but according to Moose, they are just warming up.
“We’re hungry and I don’t think there’s enough you can put on my plate that I couldn’t finish,” said Moose, who became the owner of Girlfriends Films in January when he purchased the company from founder Dan O’Connell, who remains involved as a producer/director.
Girlfriends Films on March 19 finalized an agreement with LFP Video Group to distribute its complete line of Hustler Video, VCA and HIS DVDs in a deal that signaled just how far the Valencia, Calif.-based company has come since its humble beginnings in 2002. Owned by porn pioneer Larry Flynt, LFP Video Group’s portfolio is among the most high-profile in the adult entertainment industry.
Moose told XBIZ the groundwork for the new partnership actually had been laid years ago when Girlfriends Films started solidifying its distribution channels all over the world.
“We’ve really been working hard over the last seven years to build a distribution channel that was respected by studios. We don’t do things sideways,” Moose said, noting his company has taken pride in the leg-work it took to position itself to do business on this level with a company such as LFP.
“We work with people that respect the brand.”
Moose continued, “Over the last three years with [producers] Jincey Lumpkin, Tammy Sands, and now B. Skow, Tasha Reign and Bonnie Rotten, we’ve really figured out that we have something here above other distribution channels.
“We aren’t old-school boys doing homie hook-ups or homie pricing. We offer fair distribution rates.”
Now Girlfriends Films will be distributing seven Hustler Video releases per month, in addition to moving their catalog titles. Girlfriends already had standing business with LFP going back to the Fall of 2013, when the LFP-operated New Frontier Media launched a video-on-demand channel featuring Girlfriends Films’ library of lesbian-themed content. Moose said this latest opportunity to increase his business dealings with LFP was humbling.
“Larry Flynt has fought harder and stronger and smarter for this industry than anyone and he’s still heavily involved in everything that Hustler does,” Moose said.
“They’ve done so many amazing things, from their clothing line and their casino to seeing the future with their cable and broadcast deals. I see Larry as a leader and a forefather in our industry and he’s the only one that’s had true balls to put them out there. A lot of other people do it for a PR event. I have huge respect for Larry, Hustler and [LFP President] Michael Klein.”
Moose said that in order for Girlfriends Films to continue to grow and take on more studios’ distribution that it also made sense to bring on seasoned sales manager David Diamond, who guided LFP’s DVD sales efforts for seven years until 2012.
“When I thought about it I wanted to bring in someone like me who doesn’t go out there and get hammered or sleep with talent, and really there was only one person who came to mind,” Moose said. “I’m looking for people who can wear several hats and that was a quality that David Diamond had, so it was a no-brainer when it came about. He can help me do the things that I need to do and we can still do the different tradeshows that we’ve been doing. If I can’t make it to one, Diamond can go to it.”
Indeed, Moose and Dan O’Connell have been fixtures at industry tradeshows both in the U.S. and abroad for several years. And according to Moose, the road work is paying dividends. “We now have a worldwide reach."
It was a remark that New Sensations owner Scott Taylor made during his keynote address at the XBIZ 360 Adult Film Conference in January that only inspired more confidence.
“He said something amazing at the [XBIZ 360] and I’ve always looked up to Scott. But one thing he said in that speech was, ‘Don’t go to where all the sharks are feeding on the fish,’” Moose recalled. “That was the thing. In DVD distribution, I feel like we’ve found an area in the ocean that is tuna rich, where there are lots of marlins and lobsters. We’ve had to swim and travel a long distance to find our marine life, but we’ve done it.”
Moose said that there is “a method to our madness.”
“You gotta do it right and respect new-release price and not drop to catalog [price] so fast,” he continued. “Be a man of your word. You also have to do collections. You have to know who to give terms to overseas.”
The guy who got his memorable nickname from when he played competitive volleyball said that he learned a lot from O’Connell’s work ethic. Moose said that countless times he watched O'Connell man the Girlfriends Films booth at tradeshows and then personally break down the booth when everyone else had already left.
“That guy can outhustle and outwork everyone I know,” Moose said.
A fireman and EMT before porn, Moose gave credit to the team behind the scenes at Girlfriends Films, which now is headquartered at a 37,000-square-foot facility in Valencia.
“I have a great team,” he said. “Our Girlfriends Films family, from the editors to the people that keep our stuff on file — every person in there — I make sure I see them every day. I always park in the back of the building so I make sure I see everyone every day. I’m flattered to be an owner. It’s almost still so unreal. It’s amazing that some Scottish, So-Cal boy could become an owner. It’s such a huge honor. I wish my dad would’ve been around longer to see where I got, but he knew at a young age that I was going to do something. I started my first company at the age of 14.”
Moose continued, “Now it’s time to work harder. It’s time to eat smarter. It’s time to do overtime and stay up later and get in early. A lot of people, they don’t get me. They say, ‘Come on, give me this deal, just this once.’ The way we do business is the way we do business and it’s working. And I plan to be in this industry and I’m proud to say I’m a part of this industry.”
Moose, who joined Girlfriends in 2007 as director of domestic sales, said he’s the same guy he was before he took ownership of the place. He isn’t above bringing bagels to his customers, doing collections himself or jumping in his car with a stack of Girlfriends Films newsletters to deliver.
He’s also devoted to his family.
“I don’t beg for girls’ numbers. I’m a happily married man,” Moose said. “I don’t think the squeaky wheel gets the lube. It’s the ones that can show real numbers and be consistent. Now I have everyone coming to me to take on their studio line. When we moved [from Reseda] a year and three months ago, I always envisioned within the next four to five years being one of the top distributors for studios out there, knowing we do it right and the market is not dead. The No. 1 seller at Walmart at Christmas time was DVD players.
“I know we have something here. We have 37,000 square feet right now and this will work for five to six years, and then we’ll have to find something bigger.
“It’s expensive to buy shelving and racks and forklifts, but I learned from Dan that you need to reinvest in the company. You don’t open the piggy bank if you want to be here tomorrow. Even working with FedEx and UPS, we’re great customers. I made sure they didn’t think of us as just a porn company. We always hit the release schedule and stick to it. It’s something we believe in. If people can’t count on you to hit your release schedule, they’re not going to place big orders with you every month.”
And on the production side, Moose said that Girlfriends Films already has banked new content all the way through December.
“Everyone is really chasing our tail right now and people have no idea what we’re doing and what we’re creating,” he said.