Vivid's Hirsch Calls For Stronger Online Protection For Kids

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Vivid Entertainment co-chairman Steven Hirsch will tell MBA candidates at the Yale School of Management that Yahoo! and Google need to erect stronger barriers to keep adult material from being accessed by children.

Hirsch will make his request during a lecture to the graduate business school on Saturday during Sex Week at Yale, an event dedicated to discussions about "love, sex, intimacy, and relationships."

"Responsible companies in the adult industry such as ours have done a great deal to deter minors from accessing adult material," said Hirsch. "None of the search engines and portals, but particularly Yahoo! and Google, has taken any significant steps in this direction."

Hirsch vowed that Vivid "will work with any company that is ready to make it much more difficult for children to be exposed, even inadvertently, to material intended only for adults. This is not about First Amendment rights, it is about protecting children."

Underscoring his commitment to this goal, Hirsch pledged that Vivid is prepared to work with major Internet service providers to stimulate the development of programs that will prevent minors from being able to purchase adult content online.

"The ISPs, as well as payment systems and adult producers, all need to be more responsible with regard to allowing X-rated material to be obtained by non-adults," he said.

The Vivid co-chairman noted that his concern also extends to the performers who make up his company's contract roster.

"I do interview all of the Vivid Girls personally before we sign them to exclusive contracts," said Hirsch, "But, guess what? I spend as much time trying to talk a new girl out of becoming a porn star as I do discussing the deal points of her contract once she's convinced me that she really does want to go down that path."

Hirsch stressed that Vivid became the top adult studio in the world by appealing to the mainstream and by capitalizing on advances in technology.

"We always believed it was important to stay on top of all new technologies, but we were also the first adult studio to sign talent to exclusive contracts; the first to change adult video packaging to make it more appealing to consumers and retailers; the first to really capitalize on the Internet for branding; the first to own a cable TV network; the first to shoot movies in Hi Def and to go after the wireless market in an effective way; the first to diversify with special interest labels such as Vivid-Alt, Vivid-Ed, Vivid-Celeb and even Vivid-Plus for those who like to watch women of notable stature; and the first to license our name with a professionally managed program that has included book publishing, comics, condoms, vodka, shoes, apparel and other merchandise. In publishing, How to Have a XXX Sex Life by the Vivid Girls, and published by HarperCollins, became a best seller and recently went into paperback," Hirsch said.

Quite an impressive list of innovations, indeed. And while the adult industry faces huge challenges in the years ahead, Hirsch is confident that Vivid will continue to thrive.

Essaying the company's plans for the times ahead, Hirsch indicated a desire for "strong cross-over marketing such as billboards in Times Square and other high-traffic areas, aggressive promotional programs, licensing deals that promote our name while also making us money, protecting our intellectual property and staying ahead of the pack by seizing new technologies."

Other plans also include what Hirsch described as a "more aggressive and clever use of the Internet."