PVV – Dr. Chauntelle Goes Home for a Week (or XBiz LA & the XBiz Awards, 2011)

Last week was all about XBiz, and XBiz is in LA… so I got to go home for a week – yay!!

This year, the XBiz LA show was held on Monday – Wednesday, February 7 – 9 and the XBiz Awards were on Wednesday evening. The XBiz Retail show overlapped XBiz LA on the 9th and lasted through Friday the 11th.

(pictured: an artsy shot of the event hotel)

According to event organizers, XBiz LA explores the impact of digital media and e-commerce technologies on the rapidly evolving online adult entertainment industry. XBIZ Retail brings together all segments of the adult retail marketplace for seminars, keynote presentations, and product showcases.

So in other words, XBiz LA is all about online digital virtual stuff, and XBiz Retail is all about tangible hands on real-world stuff.

Now, the “real” and the “virtual” worlds of adult are not oppositional.  In fact, they’re not even all that distinct. These worlds are deeply interconnected and have evolved together, but that’s probably why the folks at XBiz structured the show that way they did – genius!!

I have an understanding of the stigma and marginalization put upon adult businesses in the virtual world (read: “We’re not hosting your site/handling your billing/etc etc because you’re porn!!”), but I’m not exactly well-versed in the particulars of online business (hosting and billing work how?)… and how does adult get around the mainstream’s virtual ghettoization? No idea.

…which is why I opted to focus on the XBiz LA portion of the show this year.

So, without further ado, I give you Dr. Chauntelle Goes Home for a Week (or XBizLA & the XBiz Awards), 2011!! And, true to form, I did a pretty crappy job of taking pictures – sorry. Enjoy!!

The pre-XBiz LA Weekend Warm Up!!

I admit it – I went to LA early!! But it was my best friend’s birthday and there was a fun Super Bowl party and the opportunity for an awesome interview and lots of people to catch up with and ummm… yeeaah. You can see how this was a week-long trip.

Monday

Monday morning involved getting to the event hotel (the Sofitel, Los Angeles), registering, and whatnot.

Right away, I could tell the XBiz show was going to be bit different from other conferences, industry-related and other wise… The program was compact and well-organized; there were learning-centered panels addressing relevant topics and structured networking opportunities scheduled; food – good food – was provided, and there were two event-sponsored happy hours; and there were all sorts of extracurricular events scheduled (like golf and mixers and things – don’t get any ideas!!)

I got tired just perusing all the awesome learning opportunities, so I had to get some lunch (event sponsored at Simon LA – classy)…

I was very excited to attend the “Adult Law: Today’s Legal Landscape” panel after lunch.  Five of the industry’s most influential attorney’s were on hand to weigh in on .xxx, 2257, and piracy among other things. My amateur adult legal scholar-self wanted to learn about each of these issues from every angle possible…

…but this one was a little ehhh.  Attorneys, as we all may well know, can go on and on sometimes. They can also be a little vague. This can cause panels to go way over, which then doesn’t allow for any Q&A. It was kind of a bummer.

After a little break, I attended the “Digital Adult: Profitable Channels & Platforms” panel.  This was reeeeally interesting. Five representatives from various areas of the global industry discussed VOD, mobile, live shows, and other platforms for distributing adult content.

It was an interesting lesson in adult’s negotiations of available technology and available distribution. For example, mobile works well in Europe where not everyone and their mother has an iPhone and phone companies aren’t so uptight about providing adult content. This is not the case in the US, at least not to the same degree. And although I did get stuck on some of the tech-y elements, I found presumed socio-cultural dictates shaping what’s available to consumers and how in terms of adult content fascinating.

The evening was rounded out by a really lovely outdoor happy hour, dinner, and great conversation with new friends. XBiz Day 1 was great!!

(pictured: XBiz LA attendees waiting for a panel to begin)

Tuesday

Tuesday started out with… lunch!! (don’t judge ;)) and then I attended the “State of the Industry: Challenges, Consolidations, and Corporations” panel.

Five industry experts discussed what they saw as the biggest challenges and greatest opportunities for 2011.  Predictions for opportunity included the “total package” of 3D content paired with real touch (as in watching Hustler’s This Isn’t Avatar XXX with your Misty Stone Fleshlight in hand) and further negotiation of various mobile platforms. Potential pitfalls included various approaches to handling piracy (FYI to all you peeps who steal your porn: they’re totally on to you) and the ongoing struggle with .xxx

This panel was truly interesting and informative (and moderated masterfully by XBiz bossman Alec Helmey), but I was most impressed by the immediately following keynote presentation from Pink Visual President and “accidental” Entrepreneur of the Year Allison Vivas.

I have been familiar with Vivas’ work for years now, but I have never had the opportunity to hear her speak… She was delightful – casual and almost effortlessly on top of her game. She was a little nervous seeming, but she still told a couple dorky jokes and threw in some four-letter words for spice now and again. A woman after my own heart!!

The bulk of her presentation consisted of retracing the rise and fall of an adult company – her own!!  She showed attendees very clearly when and why Pink Visuals was doing well (and not so well). But rather than end with the decline many members of the industry are currently dealing with, she went on to talk about the rebirth of adult. According to Vivas, now is the time for adult, including Pink Visual, to reinvent itself. It was a great talk (full write-up in XBiz here) followed by some really excellent Q&A.

Tuesday evening was rounded out with dinner, drinks, and more great conversation with friends. XBiz Day 2 was fantastic!!

(picture: Dr. Chauntelle looking scholarly during the keynote; picture by Nalem.com)

Wednesday

I actually opted out of attending the conference during the day on Wednesday for two reasons.

The first: I had to opportunity to “help” (read: observe and get in the way) a friend with some extremely interesting and significant work, which was too great to pass up – hey, I’m a researcher you know?? And the second: the XBiz Awards show was being held on Wednesday night, and I needed to rest up!!

The 9th Annual XBiz Awards were held at the Hollywood Palladium, with doors scheduled at 8, red carpet at 8:30, and the show to begin at 9. Knowing what I know about “Porn Standard Time,” which is not too unlike “Gay Standard Time,” I planned to arrive around 8:30.

And as I cruised my rental Camry down Sunset and prepared to turn left on Argyle, I was greeted with this:

Protesters!! I parked as fast as I could in the hopes of snapping my own picture, but 10 minutes later they were gone – rats!! (I pulled this one from the LA Weekly)

This little demonstration didn’t get much press at all from what I can tell, and it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as this photo makes it seem. Two large vans and a handful of people with signs were completely separated from the awards show attendees entering at the front of the venue.

I really really hustled my parking, as I wanted to attempt to speak to whomever I could; but, like I said, the protesters were gone by the time I got to the (almost) front.  Maybe they got bored… or tired… or cold (it was a little chilly)? I wondered how long they had been there… I mean, it was about 8:45 PM at that point and the red carpet was still going strong – why leave then? I guess the organizers didn’t understand Porn Standard Time, which I found pretty ironic considering AHF’s roots.

The awards show was great. Host Jesse Jane did her Jesse Jane thing, there were all kinds of acrobatic intermission dancey-type performances, and Dan O’Connell of Girlfriends Films gave a really touching speech when he presented the Executive Leadership Award (Video) to his associate Moose. (complete list of winners here)

And although there were myriad fun things going on after the awards, my 9 AM flight the next day ushered me home “early.” Sigh…

I really enjoyed XBiz LA, and I left wishing I had opted to stay for the entire show. Oh well, there’s always next year – it’ll be a 10-day epic in 2012, bebes!!

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Questions? Comments? Email me!!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

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