Author Archive

What goes on in Vegas, Gets onto VideoBox

It’s the start of a new year, which means it’s time for our annual trek to Vegas for the Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE.) This is the biggest porn convention of the year, complete with red carpet AVN awards show. It’s also where we meet with content producers and put together our content plan for the year. From the comments in my last blog post, I know that some of you have very strong feelings about what movies should and should not be on the site, so I wanted to open up a forum for input and discussion.

To illustrate the challenges and nuances of licensing content, I want to point out a site that has the exact opposite licensing approach to VideoBox: AEBN.com. For those of you who aren’t familiar, AEBN was the first adult pay-per-view website. They now have over 70,000 movies from virtually every studio.

Sounds great, right? Here’s the catch: it’s really expensive. $20 per month gets you 200 minutes of viewing time—about 2 DVDs. And, that’s for streaming only. If you want to download and own a movie forever, it will cost you an additional $20 per DVD! But on VideoBox, if you download only one of the five new daily DVDs, you get 30 DVDs per month for about $15. To download the same amount from AEBN, you would have to spend $600. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS!?!? That’s the price of a new computer!

We made a decision a long time ago to honor the fact that our customers liked a good deal, don’t want to be nickel and dimed per minute, hate DRM, and want to be able to download and archive their own movie collections. However, this model limits the studios that we license from, and that list changes every year. For example, we used to be able to license titles from Elegant Angel, but they changed their mind. There are some studios that we’ve been close to inking deals with—like Hustler and Devil’s Film— but that have never gone through. We want to give you the best content that $10 bucks a month can buy, but it’s challenging and we’re continually working to get new deals.

The good news is that because of the porn recession, studios are more aggressively looking for additional revenue streams and thus more open to licensing to VideoBox—I look forward to 2011 being an exciting year in content! As we prepare to head to Vegas, we’d like to get your input on where we should focus our efforts: If you have studios you’d like to see on the site, please post a comment. If there’s any particular DVD title that you’d like to see from any studio, please post that, too.

Lastly, something to consider: it would be possible for us to integrate the AEBN catalog into VideoBox, so that you could easily browse all 70,000 DVDs in the VB interface; with a one-click option, you’d be able to stream or download any movie. It would cost extra and it would be expensive (though maybe we could negotiate a special price for VB members). I’d like to get your feedback on this possibility, too: Let me know whether or not you’d like to see the AEBN catalog integrated into VideoBox by posting a comment. The core reason that we’ve haven’t built this feature in the past is to avoid the perception that “VideoBox has gone downhill and all the updates will be complete and utter crap forever more.” You might’ve read some of comments that claim that this has already happened at VideoBox, so we don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

I’d love to hear all of your thoughts and, as always, you can e-mail me at david@videobox.com. Just like the Hair Club for Men, I’m not only the president, I’m also a client.

5 DVDs at once! Why? Why? Why?

This is David, and I’m one of the two founders of VideoBox (Josh is the other). As the CEO of the company, I personally made the recent decision to change our DVD release schedule.

First and foremost, I want you all to know that I hear your complaints and that every member of our team cares about what you have to say. The uproar over the release schedule change and what to do about it has been the talk of the office for the past two days, and it’s prompted this posting—something that I’ve never done before.

Because of your concerns, starting today, we’ve changed the release time of the five daily DVDs from 7 PM to 5 AM (PDT), this way you don’t have to wait around for each day’s new releases. Also, although we planned to make the release schedule change permanent, because of the response, our new plan is to collect data over the next month and then make a decision about our future policies.

To put things in context, the reason that we made this change is so that we can collect better streaming/download information to use for purchasing content that you’ll like better. In particular, releasing all the day’s content at once allows users to choose what content to view; in essence, we’ve given you the ability to directly cast a vote for what you like more, as opposed to watching a movie just because it’s the only new update, or just happens to be the most recent one, or is displayed front and center on the site.

Nevertheless, I apologize for breaking the routine of those of you who check the site every few hours for the latest update. I assure you that we didn’t make this change to cause you distress, but rather as an effort to make every update on VideoBox—regardless of when it happens—of a higher quality and more in tune with your desires and preferences.

Though not directly related to the release schedule, I also want to address concerns on our content quality. My vision is to have the best content available on VideoBox at the absolute lowest price, and we’re in the process of making several changes that I hope will make everyone happier:

1) We spent more money on content licensing in 2010 than in the history of the company, and we’ve increased our content budget for the coming year by 15 percent. In 2011, our annual licensing budget will surpass two million dollars. We’re well aware that the quality of content varies by the day. However, taking a longer term view, it’s clear that our content quality has dramatically improved in the past several years (does anyone remember the days of the pink Cherry Box releases?). On average, every new DVD released onto the site cost members a dime. For the cost of a McDonald’s extra value meal, you get seventy-five new movies—I think that this is an incredible value, and we hope you agree.

2) We’ve changed the way we license content for 2011. In the past, we’ve had issues with receiving DVDs in giant batches from studios and subsequently releasing them onto the site in clumps. In 2011, releases from studios will be more evenly spaced and less grouped together, offering you more variety each day.

3) We’re getting ready to introduce HD titles, so each day will have one new HD update. We’ll be the only site where some studios’ content is available in HD, as we get source files (not DVDs, since they aren’t HD) from the studios. This content will be from some of our best studios, and will be at no extra cost.

4) We’ve signed on two new channel partners, Reality Kings and Kink. Both are recognized leaders in their niches, and VideoBox is the only place on the web where this content is available (other than the RK and Kink sites). While this does cost extra, it’s at a discounted price compared to their normal offers.

These and other changes are being made as a direct result of feedback from users. Again, I want to stress that I—and everyone else at the company—values your feedback and appreciates your business. Our goal has always been to build the best adult site on the web, and we’re constantly striving to achieve this.

Please feel free to email me at david@videobox.com if you have questions, concerns, or comments. I’m also currently moderating the VB3 forum at http://vb3forum.videobox.com and welcome your feedback about our new site, too.