Industry News

Vivid’s Celeb Line in the News..

NL-Vivid is in the mainstream news AGAIN. Interesting story on how it’s Celeb line is creating a new biz model. Good stuff. I”m also very curious as to who YOU guys would like to see in a celeb sex tape… (Salma Hayek and the Olsen Twins are the first to come to my horny mind)

Vivid: A new business model for porn
How adult-entertainment firm stole a page from Hollywood

By Georg Szalai from The Hollywood Reporter

NEW YORK — If the new “Date Night” DVD had sold only 25,000 copies, there would have been hell to pay for studio executives. But for Steven Hirsch — or anyone else in the adult entertainment business, for that matter — that figure represents a blockbuster.

The founder of Vivid Entertainment, the leading purveyor of pornographic videos, has built a business estimated to pull in as much as a $100 million slice of an industry that has been  estimated to bring in as much as $13 billion a year (compared to mainstream box office of $10.6 billion). The key to thriving even as free online porn services eat away at the DVD market is being nimble enough to adapt principles familiar to the rest of the showbiz world: celebrity scandal and superhero tentpoles. Laurence Fishburne’s daughter Montana’s sex tape and “Batman XXX: A Porn Parody” — both from Vivid — are vying with each other for top-selling adult DVD of the year.

“We have done celebrities for many years but have more recently acquired more than ever before as public appetite has increased,” Hirsch told The Hollywood Reporter. “The days of generic adult films are gone because there are many, many websites for stuff like that.”

Vivid was founded in 1984 and got a big kick from the Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee honeymoon tape “Pam & Tommy Lee: Hardcore & Uncensored,” which was first released in 1998 and became not just an icon of celebrity exposure but also is believed to have sold more copies than any other celebrity sex release with the possible exception of Paris Hilton’s. It also made Vivid the one to beat.

“It’s the one adult brand — besides Hustler maybe — that is most entrenched in people’s minds,” said Paul Fishbein, president of Adult Video News Media Network, which publishes industry trade AVN.

Since then, Vivid has aggressively positioned itself to acquire celebrity fare — and the reputation has made it a magnet for celebrities shopping tapes themselves.

While industry sales and financials don’t get tracked like box office or DVD sales in Hollywood do, Vivid gets more adult video shelf space than any of its peers and routinely sweeps the annual AVN Awards, the Oscars of the adult industry. Hirsch has been a leader in the mainstreaming of porn, emphasizing quality by shooting on film rather than video; introducing more tasteful packaging; and expanding the brand by stamping Vivid on makeup, intimate accessories, nightclubs and other products.

Hirsch’s business instincts continue to pay off. The man Forbes once dubbed “The Porn King” in May acquired and released “Kendra Exposed” a sex tape featuring Kendra Wilkinson of “The Girls Next Door” and “Kendra” reality TV fame that wasn’t originally shot for public consumption but is on track to become one of the best-selling adult DVDs of the year. And in August, Vivid topped things off by making a TMZ-fueled splash — the celebrity site is one of Hirsch’s favorite digital buzz engines — with its release of the “Montana Fishburne” DVD. It has reached the top of the AVN sales chart, sold out of its first pressing of 25,000 DVDs at about $45 a pop — requiring a second pressing of the same number — and also could become the year’s best-seller, according to industry watchers.

“With Montana, we felt she had a famous last name and is a beautiful girl,” Hirsch said. “And it could launch her career.”

Not every celebrity tape is of interest. When you listen to Hirsch, he uses words like “quality,” “tasteful” and “looking good” in describing what he looks for. As Vivid “greenlights” acquisitions or productions of celebrity content, key filters in mind include good looks, a recognizable name and production values.

That is why Hirsch has in recent days publicly emphasized, again via TMZ, that he wants to see footage of “The Hills” star Spencer Pratt’s tape with Heidi Montag to vet how interesting it would be for Vivid.

 There’s a lot more to this story, check it out here

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