FEED Issue 15

24 ADULT CONTENT The Business Of Porn of r

expensive locations, as well as solicit partners from across the world to produce. The business has now shifted from video production to content distribution and ecommerce, while its founder and chief executive Peter Acworth, who started the company from his college dorm 22 years ago, handed over the reins to the site’s former technology VP, Alison Boden. “The downturn affected us later than most adult content businesses,” she notes, “Being niche did help us – we were hit hard, but a bit later on.” The two biggest challenges facing the business since Boden became chief exec, she says, have been managing the staff affected by its decision to cease in-house production and also assessing the company’s options “if or when the recorded adult content business is no longer viable.” She recalls: “Moving around 50% of our employees on to contracts so that they were operating as freelancers was painful. We were one of the few places in the industry that employed production people on staff, and people liked that security.” Boden, who joined the company nine years ago as an email marketer until Kink supported her ambition to learn to code, adds that the transition involved “making sure that the ship was above water, listening to people, incorporating their ideas and reassuring them that their jobs/ contracts were safe.” As to preserving the future of the business, there are several steps Kink is taking. The first and most obvious has been to maximise distribution channels. Kink is now available on all the major VOD


platforms – although not cable TV, as the terms of its regulation are too tight for the type of site it is. Surprisingly though, the DVD market, which appears to have died a death in many sectors, is alive and kicking for niche content players like Kink. “There’s still a market for DVD in areas without decent broadband or with users who do not necessarily want to consume porn online,” Boden explains. SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY Kink is also forming partnerships with the very sites that forced their subscriptions to nosedive. “In the last few years the tube sites have started working with content providers rather than pirating our content; we will provide them with clips or shorter movies and it definitely helps bring traffic to our site – people have discovered us that way,” she says. Boden points out that the content on tubes and the UX they offer is often poor – so one of Kink’s aims now is to make search terms easier. As part of its efforts, Kink carried out a survey of its members and has invested resources into its user and front-end experience teams. “Improving the UX is definitely on our roadmap and improving search terms was

long overdue. Our content is varied and people who visit our site tend to have very specific interests – so being able to find the exact thing you want to is important, and people are prepared to pay for that,” she says. NEW FRONTIERS Boden says that while still niche, Kink’s VR content has become one of the fastest growing subsections on its VR partner platform BaDoink. She adds that exploring new VR production techniques has been liberating for some of its former production staff, giving them a new product to sell. “There was one director who was really pushing for the tech when she worked in-house and it’s given her a whole new angle to explore. She’s able to produce it easily from her new studio and is at NAB right now looking for kit,” says Boden. (Boden is referring to VR filmmaker Fivestar – see our profile on her in this issue). It’s ecommerce and sex education however, that Boden expects will generate the bulk of Kink’s future revenues. Kink now has a specialist toy line in partnership with California-based sex toy company Doc Johnson – described by Los Angeles Magazine as “the Procter & Gamble of sex toys”. While most of these products lie in the traditional S&M realm, she says that Acworth is currently carrying out R&D on smart sex toys and haptics – devices that let users feel a virtual environment via the sense of touch. “There’s this whole maker community out there that appear to be developing this tech themselves,” she adds. On top of this, Kink also offers several online educational resources. “We see the future as more about ecommerce and elearning, getting into the world of physical toys, experiences and sex education workshops,” she says. “People don’t all want to be treated as mass market, and if you are kinky it can be overwhelming – what restraints should you use? Why wouldn’t you use those handcuffs? How do you stay safe? As experienced folks we can help people navigate these things.”

feedzine feed.zine feedmagazine.tv

Powered by