Ah, Twitter, you’ve already taught me so much, and it’s only been a month! You’ve reintroduced me to JRLChartsonline.net via a lovely little tweet that caught my eye regarding Titan Media pulling all content from the AEBN network.

Now, first, I have a problem with JRL. Frankly, they seem a bit too willing to give their advertisers positive coverage. Make that exclusively positive coverage. I respect their charts (as oposed to AVN’s, which are a joke), and afterall, JRL is trying to cover the dwindling wholesale market, and they have built some credibility on this front.

A couple of weeks ago, however…

…I stumbled upon a piece they’d posted about a child molester, and traded tweets and eventually emails with Paul Goldberg, questioning coverage of the subject in an industry journal. It’s not appropriate for such content, period. There is already a false link 2, 3 between homosexuals and child molesters, and given the rather delicate predicament of the gay porn industry vis-a-vis underage performers, it seems to be inviting trouble to post links to police reports simply because the accused is allegedly gay, or the crime involved a man raping a boy. Paul said they’re expanding their coverage. So much for propriety.

But back to the Titan post. What irked me here was the lack of information, as though Titan pulling their content from anywhere is worthy of Keith Witchka’s breathless reporting.

Every writer knows that the lede in any news piece should answer who, what, when, where and why, and it’s the missing why that intrigued me. I’ve received no reply to an email I sent Keith, but instead, did hear back from Titan’s director of internet activity Keith Webb, saying… “no comment.” However, AVN picked up on the news and two quotes from Webb shed quite a bit of light:

According to a studio spokesman, annual gross revenue from the severed deal amounted to “seven figures.”

Really? Titan films — an impressive 165 titles — really brought in over a million dollars a year, and they’re pulling them as though a million dollars per year to any gay porn studio is nothing?

Let’s examine this quote for a moment. AEBN is a big company, with annual revenues in the estimated range between $250 and $300 million per year (although the most recently attributable numbers I could find online was a $100 million annual sales statement from Scott Coffman in January 2008) which is mostly straight content. Assuming that gay content accounts for 20% of AEBN’s sales, Titan’s portion of that $50 to $60 million would account for about 10% if my understanding of the 20/80 split between the studio and AEBN is correct, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. AEBN would have — should have! — been fighting to keep Titan if this is actually the case.

I don’t think it is.

… We will be rolling out an innovative and completely redesigned VOD website in late spring 2010 that will surprise a lot of folks in the industry.

said Webb, and here’s the real news that JRL missed: Titan is launching a competitor to AEBN/NakedSword, and intends to go head-to-head with them. Now, this is pure speculation on my part, so let me state that for the record. But it makes sense.

When AEBN bought NakedSword, they said nothing was going to change, that the NS team was going to continue programming that site, and would be a separate entity and operation in San Francisco uninfluenced by Charlotte. We all read this to be that NS would not show any bareback content, unlike AEBN’s gay theater (which, for example at the time of this post had 9 of the 10 most-watched titles as bareback, and the remaining one was an all-oral film from Treasure Island). Well, that was then. NakedSword’s top most watched films at the time of this post were lead by Breeding Ian Jay from Treasure Island, although I don’t know how much stock to put in this presentation since the list also includes movies some of which were released more than 10 years ago. Now, I like me some Ken Ryker and even an occasional Falcon classic, but if this is among the most watched films on NakedSword, they have more problems than losing Titan!

I think the competition with bareback movies got to Titan. They haven’t been shy about proclaiming their disdain for bareback 2 3 4. But seeing their titles juxtaposed next to what Titan’ says are mere imitations of porn must have been …difficult.

NakedSword was the last holdout, at least online, that refused to include bareback films in their roster, and what with the failing economy and all, the AEBN overlords sent down the edict leaving what choice for NakedSword? What, Tim Valenti is going to buy it back?

Well, I’m not holding my breathe, and something doesn’t smell right. I guess we’ll just have to wait until late Spring.