Streaming HD porn on your flat screen: can it revitalize the adult industry?

Mike Kulich wants to make SkweezMe.com the Netflix of HD porn.

Posted by Shawn Alff on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 8:24 AM

SKWEEZME.COM
  • SkweezMe.com

Porn is a symbol of this nation's freedom. The freedom to view, create, and share responsible sexual content is at a high watermark because of the internet. However, the ease of access created by the web has also fostered the misconception that the public has an unalienable right to free porn. Pirate tube sites and bit torrent sites have made it increasingly difficult for adult studios to make an honest living. The companies that have survived are constantly searching for new technologies that will allow them to repackage their content in ways that appeal to paying consumers.

One promising technologic trend is the shift away from cable and satellite TV. More and more people are choosing to stream their favorite shows, movies, and internet content on their HD TVs through media centers like AppleTV and Roku. While viewers now have increased freedom in when and what they view, these televisions have also cultivated a demand for HD quality content.

Enter SkweezeMe.com, an adult internet television network that offers 24-hour access to an ever expanding library of HD porn for less than a dollar. The network was co-founded by adult industry maverick, Mike Kulich, who envisions SkweezeMe as the pornofied lovechild of iTunes and Netflix—two mainstream companies that have convinced consumers to pay for content that is all too often pirated. As more people stream porn on their flat screens, the low quality of videos from adult tube sites and bit torrent sites will become undeniable. When these consumers start searching for cheap, easy ways to stream HD porn, Kulich hopes they will find SkweezMe.com.

How do you expect our porn viewing habits to change in the near future and what plans do you have for capitalizing off these changes?

Consumers are starting to move towards more quality types of porn. The same thing happened with Netflix. Everyone that I know who has Netflix are "binge watchers." Breaking Bad, Orange Is The New Black, Arrested Development, etc. They log on and they watch these shows all the way through for hours. Episodic porn is the future and we have already began tackling that fad. We made a deal with BDSM studio Wasteland.com and have already uploaded our first full series "Into The Mist," which is a nine part series. Almost like a soap opera with hardcore sex, bondage and BDSM mixed in. We plan on producing our own fourteen part series for our viewers. It is quality over quantity, and at 99 cents a day, people are willing to pay that for the experience over five minute, less than SD, grainy clips filled with pop-up ads and malware.

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Is SkweezMe’s VOD program targeting viewers who want to stream porn on their HD TVs? Do you think the low quality of porn clips on tube sites will show people the value in paying for HD porn?

Absolutely, our goal is to push SkweezMe.com onto as many platforms as possible. Our site is mobile optimized and easily accessed on any Smartphone (android or apple). It also works with AppleTV through Airplay and we have our own Roku channel where the quality is impeccable and streams in HD. I myself have a projector setup at home and when I stream an HD title on my Roku it is the same quality as popping in a Blu-Ray DVD, and my screen is 170 inches.

CNBC described SkweezMe as “the iTunes of porn.” One main difference between the two is that iTunes allows consumers to keep the songs they download. What was the business strategy behind allowing consumers to rent access to a library of porn films as opposed to paying a nominal fee to permanently download individual HD porn clips?

One of our main goals is to keep SkweezMe.com a piracy free platform. Many sites offer download options where you can buy a clip or a movie. Unfortunately, the sad reality is once they pay that $9.99 for the movie, there is no system in place like iTunes has to keep that film on a specific player and prevent it from being pirated. They are sent a download link and the file is now on their computer where they can easily send it to other people or upload it to one of the many tube sites. We have always been adamant about creating an all streaming format to prevent these things from happening. It is impossible to avoid piracy. Someone could easily come to our site and use a screen capturing software, watch a movie in full and record it, but with our business model, at 99 cents who is going to bother? If they do, we have Nate Glass at Take Down Piracy who patrols the tube and torrent sites looking for content ripped off of our site and sends DMCA notices to take that content down.

What was the reasoning behind giving consumers access to entire porn films as opposed to chopping these films up into individual scenes to create the illusion of more content and allowing for increased searchability?

We don't want an illusion of more content. We want full movies. Netflix is our model. If you look at SkweezMe.com, it is all full movies. You find the box covers just like Amazon Instant Video or Netflix, click what you want and can watch the full movie. Chopping them up makes us just another tube site that charges for membership which is absolutely the opposite of what we want to be.

What was the thinking behind the choice to allow users access to 24-hour blocks of porn as opposed to paying for a monthly membership like Netflix?

Recurring billing is something that in my opinion has plagued the porn industry for some time. There have been lots of sites that have been accused of double billing. In addition, we are in a down economy. $29.99 recurring every month is a lot for most Americans. Enough to where, when that transaction hits their bank account, it could bounce a rent check or a bill. Another reason for that is usage. I subscribe to DirecTV and I pay about $900 a year for that service. I really don't watch TV. The only reason I have it is so I can utilize the NFL Sunday Ticket package and watch all the games during football season. $900 a year for a couple months of usage. I do that because it is my only option to watch my team play every week. Per-day billing enables those consumers who may not be able to afford a recurring monthly membership to access a superior video on demand site. iTunes made billions using this model because at the end of the day, not a lot of people care about shelling out 99 cents for a soda. That is $4.00 less than their daily cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Are most people getting pirated porn from bit torrent sites or from adult tube sites?

BitTorrent sites in my opinion are the worst. A story came out the other day saying that the 10 millionth thing had been uploaded to the Pirate Bay which is the holy grail of piracy. Guess what it was? A porn video. The tube sites may be less but they are just as bad.

MindGeek—which owns major adult studios like Digital Playground and Brazzers and some of the biggest adult tube sites—recently launched a VOD platform similar to SkweezMe. How do you expect to compete with such a huge company that owns tube sites that are seemingly part of the piracy problem?

Content and variety. Mindgeek has a ton of traffic and a ton of content, but their content is from the properties they own. Reality Kings, Digital Playground, Brazzers. While those are all quality brand names, they are still all the same girls. SkweezMe.com licenses content right now from over 50 different production companies and that is growing every day. We offer full movies from studios like Exquisite Multimedia which has the same girls that Mindgeek shoots. We have top AVN & XBIZ award winning Transsexual titles from Devils Film. We have amazing European hardcore footage from studios like Harmony Films, we even have Queer Porn from Feminist Porn Award winning studios like Courtney Trouble's Trouble Films. We even have huge classics from VCX/Cal Vista. Movies that people in the 70's used to line up in Times Square to see in theaters. Our library is superior which diversifies us to such a larger customer base.

Do you think there will be a single winner in the war over which SmartTV media consul dominates the market, or, like cell phones, will there be countless options? If AppleTV becomes the consul of choice, will this impact your business strategy as Apple is aggressively anti-porn?

I think eventually it will come down to a few. Right now for SmartTV and Streaming boxes there are a few options. AppleTV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. At the end of the day, I think that Roku will be the one that prevails because of their open platform and allowance for other companies to develop their own channels. The same happened with iPhone. They had the majority of the market share but when Android developed their open platform that market share for Apple slowly started to decrease because Android allowed anyone to create their own apps and software to use on their devices. Americans love a free market and Roku is the only streaming box that allows that.

Why do you think people are less willing to pay for porn as opposed to a Netflix membership or a song on iTunes?

Don't they say the best things in life are free. That's true, but the majority of the people on these tube sites don't realize that even though it's free, it's still illegal. A brand name like PornHub is a trusted name to a porn consumer and they assume everything on there is either owned by them or legally licensed. Truth of the matter is "User Uploaded Content" means it's pirated. A guy sitting in his basement who has no 2257 releases, never paid a model or shot a scene, has no rights to the content that he is uploading to these sites. With micro payments, we hope to change that mentality.

Porn tube sites generally add dozens of videos a day. Can SkweezMe compete with this volume?

At the moment, we are adding 10 FULL streaming movies a day to SkweezMe.com, each movie ranges from 4-7 individual scenes with the exception of a feature or parody, which are full movies that aren't separated by scenes. We intend to ramp that up in the coming months, so the answer is yes, we can definitely compete.


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