SAN FRANCISCO—There's a new player in the growing world of video on demand—and it's the product of two well-established companies who've pooled their resources and expertise to create what they hope will be the next step in online viewing: AdamandEveTV.com.
"As I'm sure you know, Gamelink has been in the online business for over 20 years, so between Magnus [Sullivan] and myself, we have upwards of 42 years of experience doing business online," said Gamelink co-owner Ilan Bunimovitz. "Gamelink was the first company to offer video on demand in 1999, and we also used our platform as a service to other companies, and we ran a lot of other companies' businesses on our platform. We made the platform very flexible so we can create, on our system, different configurations and different merchandising and even a completely different catalog, but still using all the capabilities of our system that individualizes to the different companies that we work with."
Gamelink's reputation is undeniable, and the company's prominence in the online community was sufficient to attract the attention of online retailer Adam & Eve to create a VOD site to replace the one that Adam & Eve had been operating on its own servers. About a year ago, all of Adam & Eve's VOD content was shifted over to the new AdamandEveVOD.com site that Gamelink's programmers had created for the company.
"This was the first collaboration between the companies, and it was very, very well received," Bunimovitz explained, "and traffic increased substantially from what it was before, and it continued to increase, so it's a happy story."
But that was only part of the story. As talks between the two companies continued, Bunimovitz, Sullivan and Bob Christian, head of Adam & Eve's movie division, decided that it would be a good idea to have a membership site that would showcase not only Adam & Eve Pictures' own movies, but also movies that Gamelink and Adam & Eve will create together, under a new production company label, LionReach. But perhaps the most interesting thing about AdamandEveTV.com is not the products that will be available on the site, but the philosophy behind what the companies intend to offer to consumers.
"What's fascinating about this to me, and what's great about this partnership that we have with Adam & Eve at this point, is the level of trust that has been built up over the past two years that we've been working together, and the past year that we've actually been executing specific projects together, and a common understanding that some things have to change in the way adult movies are made and marketed," Sullivan recounted. "Everybody's lost; nobody knows how to really grow, and this comes from years of Ilan and I being in the back office looking at sales on Gamelink and we know exactly how movies sell. We know their sales levels, we know why they're selling, we know how long they're selling, we know what revenues you can expect from them. So we got to apply a lot of our background to actually crafting a content strategy and then actually executing that strategy, and what we did turned into what is certainly within our network the most successful piece of content that's been released over the past five years.
"Now, fast-forward a few years, we engaged with Adam & Eve, and we kind of didn't know what to do with this strategy that Ilan and I had created," he continued. "And along comes Bob, and Bob's job is to try to figure out what's next, you know, and we began this long conversation about content that has resulted in an agreement to do something rather radical. And I think it's extraordinary that Adam & Eve, which is known primarily for taking a very mainstream, safe approach to things, is actually moving into a space that is truly innovative as far as content production goes."
For Sullivan, the problem has been that the vast majority of existing adult video production companies "don't ask really basic questions when they're making their movies, and these are really Marketing 101 questions, and those are, who is your audience? Why would they be interested in the particular production we're making, and how do we gain access to that market? Because what people are used to doing is just releasing content, and then maybe doing a press release or something, and getting distribution at online networks like Gamelink. That's been the general marketing strategy of most companies.
"We're taking a completely different approach, and that is, our movies by design are created to engage critical message-makers in the markets we're after, and that's what we did when we were at Private Media Group with An Open Invitation and that's what we're doing right now with this film we're creating together, tentatively titled Marriage 2.0," Sullivan explained. "So we are cracking the market for people that would never have heard about an adult movie coming out, would never have thought about buying an adult movie but we'll gain access to them by the messages in the movie, by the characters in the movie, and by our marketing efforts to extend far beyond the existing adult channels.
"And the reason we're doing this is, it's clear that people want erotic content," he stated affirmatively. "You see this all over on HBO. People want high-quality erotic content, and the fact is, mainstream is kicking our ass at this game right now. The only barriers of entry that we have left is showing hardcore sex because they're doing a better job with narrative, they're doing a better job with acting and they're doing a better job with context. All we do is show hardcore sex. We've got to increase and improve our game, and that's what this movie is really about. It's about re-injecting the adult market back into the space of high-quality, relevant content production, thus continuing to a market beyond the hardcore male market."
At press time, Marriage 2.0, which stars India Summer, Ryan Driller, Nina Hartley and several newcomers to adult video, is still in production, but the companies have moved ahead with AdamandEveTV.com, which went online earlier this week, carrying only movies and serials created by and for Adam & Eve Pictures—and soon LionReach.
"AdamandEveTV is a subscription-based site with a look and customer experience very different from other adult sites, and one that we feel can catapult the Adam & Eve brand into today’s evolving adult/content market," Christian stated. "For the first time ever, Adam & Eve will be releasing this compelling drama episodically on AdamandEveTV.com as part of the site launch—and there are many more details to follow around this exciting new venture for Adam & Eve and Gamelink."