Dr. Caligari

How are the 'big bosses'? Like the top 5% or whatever. It very well be I am stuck on the stereotypes of the past, but I've always assumed the porn business to be shady.

KM

There has been a major shift, I think, in the industry. In the past (15/20 years ago), the studios had all the power. The owners made big money. They could make a girl popular. There was a contract system where girls wanted to be contracted with certain companies, which gave them a certain level of prestige. The studio system began to fall apart as the Internet took over and physical media started dying.

Then about 10 years ago the agency system rose to influence. In the past there really weren't many agents that represented adult models/performers. A little more than ten years ago, agencies that only catered to adult productions began representing the models. The agents had huge influence. They could help make a girl very popular. Instead of producers being able to directly interact with the performers, the agents acted as middlemen. There are pros and cons to that. In some cases the agents helped the performers by protecting them when it came to working with reputable companies and being correctly paid. However, they could also stop a girl from working or even stop a company from booking any of their models if they didn't like them.

The agency system over time became more competitive. Large agencies began to openly compete as more girls came into the performer pool. There are now more female performers than ever before.

Then came social networking.

Social networking allowed performers to directly interact with their fan base and with producers and studios. A performer's fan base was now more in their control. It isn't completely in their control. The companies still have to hire them and put them in scenes. However, a girl now has a much larger voice.

Which now comes to the concept of the top 5%, or the "1%" if you will.

That top tier isn't just studio owners anymore. There has been a cycle, where it was just the studio owners, then the agents and now you have a mixed bag. There is without a doubt a top-tier performer pool. They can demand much higher pay. They can hurt a company's sales by refusing to shoot for them, because they have such a strong fan base. They can use social media to both highly promote themselves or scene, but also call out any bad practises. The companies know they need these highly popular performers and will bend over backward for them.

The female performers have more ways to earn income than ever before. If you are popular, you perform in scenes, but then can spawn that off into doing Webcam shows. The girls simply promote their upcoming shows via Twitter. Many now have their own websites and that top tier can do well with their own sites. They can do endorsements for sex toys, for example Fleshlight can bring a girl fairly steady income just from that one product. They can feature dance and some even have Amazon wish lists where fans buy them presents off their wish lists and send it to them.

The problem is that there's now a divide. The top earners are now all grouped together. It's no longer the performers vs. the companies vs. the agents. It is those that are successful and those that are not. Those at the top are doing very well. But your average performer may never get to the level. This doesn't mean that other producers/performers/companies are destitute. Most are making a middle-class living. Part of this is also because there are simply so many women now entering the industry. Work is far more competitive.


'Gia and Bonnie in their sugar skull makeup for me before a shoot.'


faarcyde

Can you explain Tube sites and how they effect the industry? Are they all based out of eastern Europe or something where they can't be touched? I'm assuming they have destroyed much of the profit..they have to be making millions and millions of dollars via ad revenue, right?

KM

A Tube site is basically a site modeled after YouTube, but only has streaming porn scenes. The majority of these scenes are not owned by the Tube site and have not been licensed by the Tube site.

They are hosted all over the world. Some here in the US, some in Europe and some in Hong Kong.

Tube sites highly contributed to the decline in the industry. The industry was once considered "recession proof," much like alcohol and tobacco. However, the bubble of sorts burst around 2008, when the economy crumbled.

A large number of Tube sites are actually owned by the parent company of Brazzers, a company now called MindGeek.

In terms of making millions from their tube sites, that is unlikely. MindGeek has a huge staff (based in Montreal) and combined with massive bandwidth overhead for all the streaming videos the profits are much less.

However what MindGeek really gets from this is incredibly insight into what people search for and what they want to see. They can then use that data on their membership sites to bring in consumers.


Clamps McGraw

With the spread of piracy and tube sites and (lets be honest) no-one paying for porn any more, how has this affected the female performers in terms of their pay? Has it gone down, or do they just do escort work more?

KM

Bittorrent is never going to be something the average person uses. Porn is an impulse purchase. Bittorrent isn't the issue.

Female Performers make more now then ever. When I started the average rate for a b/g scene was about 800 dollars. Today the lowest rate is now 1,000 per scene and the popular girls can charge almost twice that.

The real problem in all this is you have one company controlling nearly 60 to 70% of all adult internet traffic on the entire internet.


Shooting Blanks

Is there anything in the industry that you think has gotten worse since you've started? Obviously technology has improved, the talent pool has deepened, etc. Is there anything you can say has uniformly gotten worse, where you'd like to see it dialed back 10-15 years?

KM

The biggest is obviously the profit margin is much thinner. 10 or even 15 years ago producers made significantly more, especially when DVD first blew up.

Probably the biggest thing is something you can't really quantify. The industry used to be a fairly tight knit group. Everyone knew everyone. That no longer exists. I think the "mainstreaming" of porn has honestly not always been a positive thing. It has made it a more disconnected industry. You have major companies that control large segments of production, that are somewhat invisible and hide who they are.

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