AMSTERDAM—abbywinters.com CEO Garion Hall clearly believes that fortune favors the bold. For a company that is known for producing erotica featuring fresh-faced all-natural amateurs, abbywinters.com is growing a set of balls—literally. Hall revealed to AVN that his company now is producing boy/girl fare.
Hall issued reassurances to the fervent fan base of abbywinters.com that any boy/girl content appearing on the site would be in addition to and won't replace the all-girl and solo scenes that are the site's hallmark. The company's move into hardcore has been in the works for a number of years, Hall said.
In a decidedly abbywinters.com twist, Hall revealed that the couples performing in the site's boy/girl content are real-life partners—and that both participants are paid the same rate!
For those wishing to view abbywinters.com's boy/girl content on DVD, the company will begin releasing titles this month through its U.S. distribution partner, Wicked Pictures.
AVN interviewed Hall from the company's headquarters in Amsterdam, from where he gave us a little more insight into the company's bold new decision. While he admitted it might lose his site some members, he believes will attract a whole new audience.
Please explain the decision to shoot B/G content a little more in depth.
abbywinters.com girl/boy content is a little different than the "norm." In addition to a strong focus on the female model's experience and the passion shared between her and her partner, we're using only real-life partners. Both partners get paid the same rate.
Were members requesting boy/girl scenes with greater frequency?
We shot some scenes in 2006, and they were very popular with our member base, but we had some problems with the male models, as you might expect—erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. In line with our "natural" vision, we did not want to use Viagra or similar drugs to manage these problems. But, we also did not have a solution for these problems, and we got sidetracked on other projects, so we stopped shooting new scenes.
But, in 2010, we started planning out how we could start shooting girl/boy scenes again, while meeting our needs and ensuring both models felt comfortable.
Do you expect any pushback from members who feel you're deviating from what made the site so successful? If so, what do you tell them?
We got a lot of negative feedback from squeaky wheels, who tried to whip our community up in a frenzy—and succeeded to some extent. Girl/boy shoots were always going to be an additional feature (that is, not replacing some other update), so we decided to take the wind out of detractors' sails by adding a "No Penis" filter option to our user preferences. When activated, the site looks normal, but no mention of girl-boy shoots ever appears. This sated the naysayers, and reduced conflict.
Do you see this move as a natural evolution of the site?
Adding girl/boy content regularly is part of the natural evolution of the site. We're very rigid in some ways, but we try making a few new types of content each year. Our in-house shooters and post-production staff enjoy the challenge, and the variety it adds to the site is welcomed by members. Some fail, and some are successful.
Recently, we have been making a monthly podcast, where several models talk about a sexual issue, such as masturbation or anal sex. We started a new AW Education project, where models offer their personal opinions on questions that men might seek—obvious things like "Does penis size matter?" and more obscure things, like "Can I have sex with my girlfriend when she has her period?" These have no nudity, so we put them on YouTube as well, which is creating some good traffic we're converting.
I know you mentioned that the abbywinters.com B/G will be different than other companies—mainly that the performers are together in real life. Does this ensure that your content will be different from other companies? I.e., it's not a typical "porn scene" with people being paid to fuck each other.
Part of our reason for using real-life couples is to differentiate from our competitors, but it's also more true to our core values, showing healthy loving relationships. We also don't get the detectable feel that two people who met half an hour before and are now having sex. That can be very sexy—I'm a fan of the genre—but we're aiming for something different.
When a boyfriend has ED or PE, we weave it in as part of the scene—of course the girlfriend is supportive, and it certainly is something many men suffer from, so our customers can feel a little more comfortable if they suffer from this. And, we have captured some really erotic scenes in this way.
Is it a requirement that the couple is together in real life?
We primarily work with female models. After they have done a few shoots with us, we ask if they're interested in doing a shoot with their boyfriend. Some say they don't have a boyfriend right now, so we ask them to let us know when they do, and if he's interested in doing a shoot with her. While there's incentive for a model and her partner to lie to us about their relationship—and we do not ask for "proof" of their relationship (I am not sure what form that would take, actually!)—they all seem very legit to me.
When we see the models walking home from the shoot and they're holding hands, it seems to us they genuinely care for each other.
How do you recruit the couples? Have you already started shooting these B/G scenes? When do you expect them to debut on the site and how frequently will new scenes be posted?
We have shot around 30 girl/boy scenes to date, and around 20 have been released on the site. We have added them as a feature to our tour, and seen a little kick in sales from that. We plan to continue releasing one per month for now, but in the future, we hope to move to two per month.
We also sell our content pay-per-scene on our site, and girl-boy shoots are consistently in the top 10 most purchased scenes there.
Will there be subsequent DVD lines?
In March, we're releasing a new line of girl-boy DVD's with two of our newer girl/boy scenes on it. We're a little nervous of how the market will receive it! But, we hope it'll be successful, and we'll release one new G/B DVD per month for a while to see how it goes.
There's obviously plenty of talk in the mainstream media about porn produced for women and couples with an emphasis on authenticity. Is this intended for those viewers?
Porn has been produced for couples for a long time—at least since the '80s. No one seems to have cracked the market, really, though lots of people have ideas on what might work, put them into practice, but then they seem to fade away, or remain a small commitment to a release schedule. There will always be a small percentage of purchases by couples and women, but the majority has always been men in my experience.
However, that's online, and I cannot speak for brick-and-mortar stores.
I think the industry needs to fund real research into what women want to see (and are willing to pay for) in adult entertainment. There will be an answer, but no one has the money to find it—yet. I have proposed before to pool our resources—if we got 100 companies to donate $1,000 to a pool, and engaged a serious market research firm, we'd get some great information that's beneficial to the entire industry. (If anyone is seriously interested in this, hit me up on firstname.lastname@example.org.)
But, like everyone, we're doing it tough lately, and don't have much spare money. So, we'll continue making what we call "human-friendly porn," and people of any gender or coupling are welcome to purchase it at their whim.