In Search of "Sexual Heat"
Vivid Honcho Steven Hirsch Eyes the Future
Meet the guy who is living your life. Steven Hirsch co-founded Vivid Entertainment in 1984 and built it into a porn powerhouse with marketing savvy and a roster of A-list talent he dubbed the Vivid Girls. Celebrating 25 years of industry leadership, Hirsch says the game is changing, but the key factor remains the same: It’s all about the girl.
HUSTLER: What is the state of the adult industry right now?
STEVEN HIRSCH: We’re dealing with a perfect storm. The Internet, which started out as a friend of this industry, is now its enemy. We’re dealing with an immense amount of stolen and free content on the Web. Some of it is connecting people to other sites, like dating services, and porn clips are the bait. DVD sales are down 30% from a year ago. The downward economy has forced people to cut back on all forms of paid entertainment. You put all these things together and you see the challenge to make money in porn is immense.
Why haven’t you ventured into mainstream films with your Vivid Girls? It’s very difficult to do. There will always be a stigma attached to the adult business, both as a businessperson like myself and for the girls as performers. I’m looking out my window, and I can see Universal Studios. But realistically, it’s as close to me [in terms of making a movie there] as China. I suspect someday soon there will be an R-rated studio film about our industry, and it will be very successful.
Has creating a porn star become more difficult? In the past, when our primary needs were video and TV, it was much easier. Now with the Internet and the tens of thousands of Web sites out there, it’s difficult but not impossible to get a large audience to just focus on one girl. In the past we knew how to make that happen from advertising in AVN to creating promotions to introduce our next star to the public. Now you’re competing with amateur sites, Facebook and other easy-to-access Internet destinations featuring pretty, uninhibited women who look at that as their shot at fame.
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Does it upset you when a Vivid Girl works as an escort? I can’t control what my girls do with the rest of their lives outside of what business we ask them to do. I don’t think a porn actress working as an escort impacts the business one way or the other.
What do you look for when a new girl walks into Vivid? When she comes in the room, she has to have something, whether it’s the way she looks, how she does her makeup or the sexual heat coming from her. Then I have our photographer shoot her. She has to have the ability to act a little bit and to be able to interact with the public via promotions, Internet chats, personal appearances, etc. We get all those things out of the way, then we shoot a scene with her just to see how hot the girl really is. If the sex is good, and she oozes a pure—not fake—sexuality, we consider signing the girl. It’s a simple formula, yet you’d be surprised
how rare it is to find a girl with all these potential elements for stardom.
Photo Credit: Vivid Entertainment
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