Love to shoot content, but don’t know how to sell it? Want a paysite and don’t know where to begin — or perhaps you have a very established paysite and want to make it pay in the ultra-competitive modern marketplace? Maybe you just need some experienced team member assistance without the hassles or expense of hiring and training an in-house staff? The good news is that you’re not alone and help is available.
Many readers may have seen television commercials depicting mainstream brands that outgrow their core competencies, and as a result, they “call BDO” or another massive consulting firm a la McKinsey to revive flagging sales. Likewise, fast-growing adult entertainment brands also have a mystical source of business development and marketing skill that they can rely on to leverage their own internal efforts: New Media Group (NMG) Management.
Known for giving its clients the same care it gives its own brand, NMG offers new biz dev and brand expansion programs for content producers and studios, targeting opportunities in the DVD, broadcast, foreign licensing, mobile, IPTV, web and video-on-demand verticals, along with emerging distribution channels.
To gain a better understanding of New Media Group’s strategies for success, XBIZ turned to co-founder Megan Stokes for her insights. Here’s what she confided:
Before the launch of NMG, Stokes and her future business partner worked together at Reality Kings, where their division was responsible for all of the ancillary revenue streams and business development from its content. In addition to traditional streams such as DVD and VOD, and one-off licensing deals, the team launched RKTV, a linear TV Channel on DIRECTV and DISH Network, as well as a worldwide VOD offering, paving the way for what they currently do at NMG, but in-house for one company.
“I started on the internet side of the business as an affiliate and had many friends in the paysite game,” Stokes told XBIZ. “This resulted in friends asking my advice when they received random licensing deals or DVD distribution offers as this was not a space that they knew much about and did not know if it was a fair offering, or where their content would end up, and so on, because a few of them had been burned more than once before.”
One day, one of these friends called and asked if she and her partner could do this for them as well.
“That is when my partner and I realized how many companies could use someone in their corner to protect their rights and source new ways to maximize the revenue from every piece of content they shot and so on,” Stokes added. “That company was Porn Pros. They were the first studio we signed, and they are still with us.”
NMG’s client roster grew, building upon personal relationships and word-of-mouth — keys to growing in as close-knit a business as adult entertainment, where at the end of the day, Stokes said, “your word is all you have. Not just in business but in life.”
“I consider myself incredibly lucky to be at a place in my career where I can choose the people I want to work with,” she added. “We have some of the biggest and best brands around like Paper Street Cash, SexArt, Property Sex, Bang! and many more — but we also get to work with incredibly creative boutique brands like Bare Maidens, Missionary Boyz, Karups and True X. We get a real sense of pride from looking at our roster — every single person on our team treats all of the brands as if they were their own.”
As for the types of companies that can benefit most from NMG’s services, Stokes said, “It’s anybody that creates, needs or has adult content! If you’re a studio or model, we can help maximize the monetization of all your content in every vertical; if you are a broadcaster, we can supply any genre of content fast and efficiently; if you are a new platform looking to launch with some of the most diverse and best content out there, we are a one-stop-shop; if you want to buy content and have no idea where to start … we’ve got you covered, too!
“We have done everything from sell images to magazines, car companies and sex toy manufacturers; to purchasing TV commercial air time; to helping our partners source new acquisitions — and even helping two clients operate a partnership together. Ultimately, we are a business intelligence services company,” she explained. “We help every partner to maximize their revenue everywhere that is typically not in their core business so that they can free up resources to pursue even more growth.”
Generating revenue for brand partners is a source of pride for the team at NMG, which boasts more than 100 years of combined industry knowledge spanning a multitude of different sectors.
“Some of us remember the VHS and AVS site days and some of our tube team that grew up on the internet didn’t even know that porn came on DVDs!” Stokes said. “As you can imagine this provides a solid balance and perspective in our brainstorming sessions. While our knowledge and experience are priceless, what I find more valuable than that is a team that is not afraid of industry changes.”
One of the strengths of NMG is that staffers learn about each team’s core focus so they can chip in and offer possible collaborations, listening and bridging the gap between content creators and customers.
For example, the company set up a system that allows studios, directors and models to upload a scene and then NMG takes it from there, monetizing that content across every platform, from DVD to TV to internet to VOD to OTT and more, including a cam channel that broadcasts live models directly to TV.
In 2018 it launched a viewshare department, which is growing rapidly and manages most of NMG’s clients’ premium tube channels. This service was requested by NMG’s studio partners and allows them to focus on their core business while NMG uses its in-house team, relationships and data to optimize the results.
NMG’s wide range of verticals gives the company a broad view of the market, providing insights into the overall health of the industry and the direction it is headed. This is important information for clients, since adult, much like every tech-based industry, is everchanging with its ups and downs, or as Stokes noted, with so many opportunities available, another often opens when there is a struggle in one sector.
“That’s what’s made NMG successful,” Stokes revealed. “We are always looking for that next wave that could help benefit our partners, while really honing in on our strengths and analyzing the data to try to spot that growth in the early phases.”
NMG’s approach of meeting consumers where they want to consume is a boon to clients, and although it is hard to be everywhere and do everything, the company is able to do it at scale, making it effective.
For example, Stokes said that much to everyone’s surprise, DVDs are not going away as fast as expected and the “movie format” that DVDs deliver is still highly consumable.
“Quality content that targets its market thoughtfully will always be in demand,” Stokes illumined. “Technology is obviously taking over with more and more cord-cutting options and new ways to consume content, but our goal is to make sure our partners are getting a chance to put their best foot forward wherever that consumer is.”
That “wherever” isn’t merely a matter of media format, but of physical location as well, and includes the challenges and opportunities presented by international markets, with a current challenge that NMG sees being broadcast and DVD companies that have been slower to adjust to our tech-forward future — especially on a global scale.
“There are a lot of legacy sectors of this industry that do things a certain way just because that’s the way it has always been done, without truly analyzing if that is really the best path today,” Stokes revealed. “We are constantly studying data. The streamlining of our production line allows us to change direction on a dime and to be able to follow trends while still occupying a strong foothold in ‘old school’ streams. This has helped us to be able to effectively navigate each territory.”
As far as these opportunities go, NMG has been excited to see the growth of “The Model as the Brand,” and the boom of newer ways to distribute content such as viewshare, clips and more.
“Although these are not new by any means, these opportunities have really exploded globally in the last few years,” Stokes explained. “In addition to that, we have partnered with a few new platforms that are really focused on the customer experience and curating content that is always refreshing.”
In response to all of the international opportunities across so many different areas, Stokes revealed that NMG invested heavily last year in systems that allow it to deliver content across the world in minutes. This added to the ways it helps companies in one region navigate other regions; relying on relationships it has built globally to make it easy for a European or other international company to enter the domestic U.S. market and vice versa.
“We have a broad view of the types of deals and revenue opportunities that exist and understand how a single deal in one territory can nullify a more lucrative opportunity,” Stokes said. “We then use that data to maximize results globally. We look at the goals of each of our partners and work together to plan and execute that strategy to deliver the results. We often joke we are playing a large-scale, very competitive game of Jenga!”
As for the future, Stokes is absolutely optimistic because the next generation is much more sexually empowered as evidenced by Pornhub’s demographics, which in part reveal how many women are continuing to increase their presence as educated adult consumers.
“I see how many models are really owning their brands and expanding their business strategies and that’s exciting for us!” Stokes exclaims, noting that digital platforms are continuing to pave the way in monetizing content outside traditional avenues. “At NMG we strive to be innovative, offering solutions for the ways the industry is moving and hopefully making it easier for these new avenues to be able to offer premium content.”
The company is also working on new initiatives and partnerships while deploying new technology and focusing on data collection and analytics. Additionally, its improved workflow for the very fast delivery of content worldwide is sure to please partners, but it’s still the personal touches that matter the most.
“We always enjoy having a conversation to evaluate how we can help and add value,” Stokes concluded. “Sometimes, it’s that late-night show conversation that ends up being the real start of a partnership years later.”
For the company’s clients, those conversations can be highly profitable and problem-solving ones. To learn more about NMG, visit NMGManagement.com