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There’s a buzz beginning about TLA’s slow pay/no pay of several studios, and the company has missed royalty payments to studios in its VOD program; a no-no in the online world. AEBN and National A-1 have both made prompt payment a standard feature of their programs.

The juggernaut in gay, mainstream and porn DVDs appears to have some significant cash flow issues, may be suffering significantly from the economic slow down, and the growth of other videos options from On-Demand cable to Tube sites. TLA was slow to enter the VOD market, and the company is competing against a diverse range of competitors from Netflix to Amazon, to gay porn studios themselves.
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Inching towards its inevitable future, Falcon again advertises bareback in its weekly email (Feb. 27 edition). After attempting to claim its pre-condom movies to be bareback last April in a printed mailer, they seemed to quiet down some (and, well, after the departure of Todd Montgomery, said to be the initial driving force behind the studio’s foray into raw porn). But, it’s a recession, and sales have slowed. The same email had a buy-1-get-1-for-$5 offer that was good on the studios’ latest releases, and they were price at only $44.95, making the end-viewer price a mere $25. Imagine that; Falcon’s premier line for less than half of their magic price point. Chuck Holmes must be spinning in his grave.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Almost everyone in the industry knows that the so-called “merger” of Raging Stallion and AEBN is in actuality a takeover of the studio.

Director and legend-in-his-own-mind Chris Ward has had a wild ride in the porn biz. His fast dealing ways have finally caught up with him. His outsized ego was always a problem for him, and he made decisions not based on sound business practice, but on extraneous factors such as whether he could screw a competitor. Not to be cruel, but what goes around, comes around.
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It’s that time of year again, when members of the Free Speech Coalition vote on the new board of directors. Pretty mundane stuff, to be honest, but as a member of the FSC and industry participant that sees the need for such an organization, as well as taking comfort in the protections afforded the members vis-a-vis 2257 litigation, upon receiving Diane Duke’s email regarding the elections, I clicked over to the candidates bios and statements to review the choices.

Even in an industry that does its best to eat its young, I was shocked to see Gill Sperlein, Titan Media’s in-house counsel, running for the Board. And then I was insulted by his answer to the FSC’s first question, specifically, “What is the biggest challenge facing the adult industry today?”

I believe lack of unity is the greatest threat to the industry because it affects our ability to effectively confront the other problems we face. However, it’s not surprising the industry is defragmented since it is comprised almost entirely of small businesses. We should not look to blame our members for their rebel spirit. Rather, we should acknowledge and celebrate the individuality of our members so we can move beyond the differences and focus on common threats: government intrusion, social bias, copyright infringement, the economic crises, etc.

To be succinct, what a crock of shit.

Gill, in the unlikely chance that you’re reading this, let me give you a clue: the single entity most responsible for bifurcation in this industry, at least on the gay side, is your employer. And as their legal mouthpiece, you are at the center of the divide.

Now, I think that Titan’s work stopping piracy is terrific. Go after the pirates who steal your content! Shut them down! Prosecute them out of the business! Titan’s strategy has worked, at least form them, as I read Keith Webb quoted saying that they know it has worked becuase several well-known websites have statements out front saying that no content originating with Titan Media will be allowed, period.

On the other hand, I also know porn stars whom Titan has harrased and forced to take down pictures of themselves on dating, hook-up and social sites becuase the images are owned by Titan. Nevermind that Titan owes their success to these guys who are willing to fuck on camera. Nevermind that the *free* publicity that Titan receives from these stars’ self-promotion innure directly to the sales of the films (and not to the stars themselves, who after their appearance fees see not one more dime from their work).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Titan goes overboard when it comes to whatever cause they see as important.

And that’s why I find Sperlein’s statement of unnecessary division so outrageous.

Gill, take this one to hungraw1 Webb, Cam, and everyone else at Titan: welcome the barebackers into the industry — and stop treating them like red-headed stepchildren — and maybe then you can talk about bringing the industry together, and your lament about the rebel spirit won’t sound quite so self-serving and hypocritical.

Channel 1 exclusive Cole Ryder is dead. We don’t know why, and that’s not the reason I write this. I went back to read the comments on gaypornblog to see what had been added in the last week, and was stunned to read the final comment from Bernie:

People are unnerved by gay porn stars sadly short lifespans!

Indeed.

image from gaypornblog

I don’t know whether to pity or laugh at Harker Jones. While everybody knew that GayVN couldn’t make it as a standalone publication, it wasn’t for lack of potential advertisers and content. It was because Paul Fishbein doesn’t understand the gay marketplace and let Jeremy Spencer and his cronies (specifically Chi Chi Larry) set both the editorial and advertiser policies — positioning the magazine as pro-condom.

Which means that it was cut off from the growing portion of the business. The portion that is still selling good numbers and making money. The portion that has the need and the resources to advertise.

Not that barebackers didn’t try to advertise in the publication; they just were given the ugly red-headed stepchild treatment… we’ll take your dirty money but don’t expect editorial coverage and certainly not product reviews!

Of course, this implies that GayVN actually covered relevant news, as the industry publication of record, which it did not and ultimately, lost all standing in the industry. GayVN was basically good for reading about Chi Chi Larry’s latest antics, who Titan sued, and reprinting verbatim the press releases that arrived via fax.

By the time that Fishbein realised that GayVN was a loser and gave Jeremy Spencer the boot, it was too late. The only consistent bareback advertiser in the book was New Barbary Coast Distribution which is wholly owned by Treasure Island Media’s Paul Morris. Ironic because they are the one company that can throw cash around and it truly matters not. For those that advertising effectiveness matters, GayVN not only provided little assurance that the vehicle would reach the intended audience, but actively worked against the potential advertisers’ interests by advocating what is essentially a political stand.

And now, with cocktails and gossip!