New Technologies for Mature Audiences

Vivid entertainment is looking to bring its adult television entertainment offerings into the world of new digital technology. Currently in discussions with distributors about launching a companion linear channel to its VividTV service, the company is also looking to expand the brand with a proposed VividTV Virtual Reality site to launch later this fall.

VividTV president Michael Klein talked about the company’s strategy to tap into the excitement and potential of new technologies with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead. An edited excerpt of their conversation follows.

NTV: As you look to expand the brand, how much does the advancement of new technologies play into that expansion?

Michael Klein: Obviously, we’re trying to stay ahead of all the new technologies. For a while, a lot of people figured that we didn’t need to go to high-definition, but now more and more people are recognizing that even for adult content, you need to have more HD content, and that’s doing well for us. Everything we shoot now and license is available in HD. We still have distributors that offer us in SD, but a lot of operators are taking our HD on demand packages. We’re also looking to develop some apps for the service as well.

NTV: There’s a lot of talk these days about virtual reality. Is that a viable technology for the adult genre?

MK: We’re actually preparing to launch a VR site, Vivid Virtual, that will offer our viewers adult content in VR. If you have a virtual reality player — whether you have the Oculus [Rift headsets], the Samsung [Gear VR] or virtually any VR equipment you have — you’ll be able to subscribe to access the site and see our content. We’re getting our production up and running and new VR content is being shot now. We’re also planning to offer a virtual feel to some of our bigger content, so you’ll have a virtual feel to our Kim Kardashian sex video, as well as new content that’s being exclusively shot for VR viewing.

NTV: Have you seen a clamoring from viewers for VR adult programming?

MK: It’s a new avenue for all of us, but it definitely seems to be an interest based on that alone. There are others that have already launched adult virtual-reality sites. It’s definitely in the early stages, but it’s something worth exploring to see how it does with consumers. Hopefully, it’s a better play than 3D, which didn’t seem to take off at all. There seems to be a lot of interest in VR.

NTV: Does 4K factor into your content strategy at all?

MK: We’re still exploring that. We have some operators who have inquired about that and we are exploring it, but to be honest, we want to make sure that 4K is not another 3D that ultimately doesn’t work best for our viewers. You don’t want to get into one thing and find out the next day that it’s something else. But it’s something we’re definitely exploring and keeping our eyes on.

NTV: So what is driving the adult business today?

MK: For Vivid, it’s still the linear channels — that seems to be what’s really growing for us. We also have the websites. Everything took a hit for a while when all the free stuff began to appear on the Web, but it’s starting to grow again because more people are recognizing where the better content is, whether it’s on the premium sites or the TV channels. For us, it’s about getting quality programming channels launched in the U.S. and expanding internationally.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.