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What is next for mobile adult entertainment?

September 8, 2011

Julia Dimambro is founder and managing director of Cherry Media

By Julia Dimambro

One of things I love most about working in new media is that the playing field is constantly changing and there is never an opportunity to get complacent, because you always have to learn something new and adjust your business accordingly to stay in the game.

Mobile entertainment tends to be at the epicenter of this concept with its mind-blowingly rapid and constantly changing landscape that affects day-to-day business.

Dialing up
The launch of the iPhone is one of the best examples of this. Everything we knew, the way we worked, the way we structured deals and the entire value chain altered with the release of this single phone. Amazing.

On the flip-side, for self-funded, smaller businesses – as pertains to much of the adult industry – this can be quite a challenge.

How on earth do you know which areas of opportunity to focus on if you are assessing uncharted territory?

In many cases, it has not been done before, so how do you identify which areas to spend your valuable time, finances and resources on? It can make your head spin.

So, having been 100 percent focused on one specific area of mobile entertainment for the last eight years, what do we think are going to be the hot areas to watch in the next few years? Which are hype and which are the genuine revenue opportunities for adult mobile entertainment?

Direct to consumer
The iPhone brought about a shift in the way people use their phones in their search for content and entertainment. This, without a doubt, has caused a global decline in on-portal content sales.

The mobile network carrier portals and decks are no longer the best way to reach customers and this has resulted in a surge of off-portal, or direct-to-consumer services, especially for adult, which let us face it, was never popular with carriers to start with.

We predicted that mobile Web would become the main marketplace for many years. The question was when – and it is now.

However, this in turn has created a very crowded marketplace for adult services very quickly. Long gone are the days where you could simply build it and they would come.

There are three crucial elements to successfully mobilize adult business:

1. Localized, one-click billing wherever possible

2. An expert, tried and tested marketing strategy with local knowledge

3. A constantly evolving service in line with local customer trends and technology

Will 3D develop into a new revenue stream for the adult industry or is it just a fad? From our experience so far, it will be the latter.

If you have money to burn – which not many have these days – there is a marketing opportunity here, but you are targeting early adopters who have invested in their 3D TV.

You then need to consider that only a small number of these will be potential adult consumers – it is a small percentage of a small percentage.

In addition, to get any kind of reasonable 3D effect, you really do need to shoot content specifically.

Yes, there are services available where you can adapt your existing portfolio, but from what we have seen, it very rarely works well, so what is the point?

Even in the mainstream movie business with films that are ideal for 3D such as animation or special effects, the first couple of times have a wow factor, but after that you notice it less and less during the movie viewing.

Put simply, the novelty wears off very quickly.

In summary, you need a lot of money and resources for a limited market that has a limited shelf-life, because as early adopters, they will tire of the lack of difference that 3D brings and focus on the next new thing as soon as it comes out.

Augmented reality
Here is an area that really does have the potential to change the landscape of adult entertainment.

I am totally sold on the huge scope of this technology and how you can leverage it for earning money with adult entertainment.

The underlying concept in all adult entertainment is fantasy.

Our revenue comes from immersing the customer in his fantasy – the better we do that, the more money he is likely to spend with us.

Well, augmented reality by its very nature blurs the line between reality and fantasy, by having both in the same experience. It is ideal for the adult industry.

To give just one example of the unlimited possibilities of this technology, the user will no longer have to watch a lap-dance on his computer or mobile screens and imagine she is there with him.

No, he will be able to select his favorite porn star and have her do the lap dance – on his lap. Now that is an immersive fantasy.

Live mobile video chat
This is already an established business model, of course, and has already made huge waves in mobile, achieving an average revenue per user of more than $50 per month, blowing away other digital adult entertainment figures and with top users on our platforms spending more than $100,000 a year.

The amazing ARPU and sticky factor that makes video chat so commercially successful is that many guys really do believe they are in some kind of relationship with these girls and therefore have regular contact with them.

This mobile- anytime-anywhere factor here only increases time and money spent when you have a single account for both mobile and Web.

Based on all of our own figures and those from industry analysts, mobile video chat is definitely here to stay and will be one of the major revenue drivers for adult mobile entertainment moving forward.

Content trends
There are two trend shifts we are seeing here:

1) Hardcore: It does not cut it anymore. This is actually a little worrying in the context of society, but the truth is we are seeing many top-name producers focusing more and more on extreme and bizarre hardcore production.

It was not that long ago that just showing a heterosexual couple copulating was considered totally hardcore.

Nowadays, all basic fantasies and perversions do not cut the mustard from a commercial perspective, probably because there is so much of it already about.

“Something new” in the hardcore sense is going extreme – it is not for the faint hearted.

2) Parodies: The rise of online tube sites – many illegal – and oversaturation of content distribution has resulted in many of the largest adult entertainment producers looking to corner a big-selling niche, rather than continuing with mainstream porn categories and getting lost in the noise.

One of the biggest appears to be parodies.

Obviously parody is something that has been around for quite a while, but with major adult brands now focusing their production schedules on this, it is definitely going to be something we see as a growing trend in the future.

Let us face it – porn has never been known for its movie plotlines, but comical and humorous porn is something that has a huge following and parodies cashes in on that audience.

Just a quick word on mobile apps because there is so much information already out there.

Our advice is approach with caution.

You really need to think about your business and commercial objectives for creating an app.

If you work with a good partner for apps, you will almost certainly get great download numbers for a free app, which makes it a really effective marketing tool. But if your objective is to make money, tread carefully.

This really is all hype right now.

The market is truly struggling to monetize on apps and many elements still need to fall into place before this is possible for the average adult business.

Julia Dimambro is founder and managing director of Cherry Media, Barcelona, Spain. Reach her at

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