Many labor under the delusion that almost anyone can whip up an adult film company and become a tour de porn in the industry. But Jon B, general manager of Mile High Productions/Digital Doghouse, had an edge.
“It was a natural evolution for us; we’ve been doing distribution for so long,” he says of the 2003 launch of Digital Doghouse, the content-creation arm of his Canadian-based business. “I deal with more than 1,000 retailers. I really look at my numbers, and I really do know what sells well in the stores. I’m able to put that into my own product; I build my line around what works well in the market.”
Fifteen years ago, Jon began distributing films made by other companies to adult retail stores in Canada. Two years ago, he developed Digital Doghouse, an offshoot that has been very successful since its inception. Mile High’s distribution foothold, however, remains the company’s bread and butter.
“Mile High’s a major part of my business — 80 to 90 percent [of it] is Canadian. I put out 14 titles a week in Canada and only two to three a month in the U.S,” he says.
With Digital, though, Jon has carved a space for the company in a competitive market with niche series like the popular “Black Bros,” “Girly GangBang,” a foot-fetish line and newer squirting and MILF lines.
“We offer a mixed package every week: one feature, one gonzo, one interracial, so smaller stores can buy from just me,” Jon explains. “I try to design a complete package for my customers, giving them a little bit of everything rather than just focusing on one thing.”
In addition to working with now well-known directors like Bobby Manila (who shot Digital’s popular Black Bros line) and Brett Rockman, Jon says Digital has also signed popular Internet porn star Melissa Doll to an exclusive contract.
“I haven’t done quite what I want to do with her yet,” he admits. “Eventually the plan’s going to be to send her around to various stores and chains, have her do signings, get her out there a little bit more. … She’s exclusive to me on DVD; she’s exclusive to Braincash on the Web. That’s something we do — we sign their girls exclusively.”
That partnership with Braincash — Braincash runs all of Digital’s Websites — is one Jon speaks of with a great deal of confidence and enthusiasm.
“I’ve known those guys since they first started out,” he says. “They’re at the forefront of technology as far as ipods and that stuff goes. We’re actively putting up a lot of Websites now. We’re focusing on the Web business, the VoD business.
“I know all my content is prepped and ready to go on cell phones, ipod, IPTZ, you name it,” he continues. “I already have a small amount of money coming in on the phones. It’s not a lot of money yet, but it’s money, and I only see it growing.”
Continuing to look ahead, Jon offers dire DVD predictions for the future: “My opinion is that this whole business is going to go to digital delivery eventually; DVDs have maybe 10 years left,” he predicts. “I figure in five or 10 years, most delivery is going to be through the Web and VoD and stuff like that.”
His own company’s future boils down to a multifaceted approach to one main focus: branding.
“Every month we’re going to do a foil poster and give them out to stores, [and] we’re going to give out [DVD] samplers every month. We’re probably going to be redoing the packaging with O-card sleeves,” he says. “I’m definitely focused on consistency in design and more branding. Everything we put out is going to have that similar look to it. I just want to keep pushing the brand.”
The push is likely a wise one in the dog-eat-dog world of pornography, where presentation, while not everything, is of tantamount importance.
“We were on the other end of the business for 12, 13 years before we had our own brand, and I’m proud that in two years we’re still growing strong,” he reflects.
“I’ve been pretty lucky; I’ve been working with my father for 12 years, my brother for 13. When I started this U.S company, they were like, go for it,” he says. “100 percent.”