Interview with Mike Kulich, founder of Monarchy Distribution & Stunner PR
For the past 10 years, Mike Kulich has worked in almost every area of the adult entertainment business. Beginning in 2004, he started in sales at International Video Distributors (IVD), the world’s largest adult DVD distribution company where he built up an extensive network of stores and online retailers. After 4 years, he left to start DVD Makers which quickly became the premiere company for adult studios throughout the country to replicate and manufacture their DVDs. After DVD Makers, Kulich started Monarchy Distribution with the goal of connecting talent that self-produce content with traditional DVD and broadcast distribution. Since the formation of Monarchy in 2010, the company has received over 35 industry award nominations and 5 wins. He is also the owner of Stunner PR, a full service PR agency which helps adult talent, video, and novelty companies help expand their brand.
SimplySxy: Pornography is very much available freely on the internet now than it was in the 90s. In some ways, it is easier for films and porn stars to widen their reach but a downside of it is more piracy. How do you think the industry will and should evolve towards?
Mike Kulich: The effect piracy has had on the Adult Industry has been absolutely devastating. When I started my first job in 2004 it was a completely different time. We were moving 10,000 pieces of some titles and nowadays when it comes to DVD you are very lucky if you can do 10% of that. The effects piracy have had on our industry are something that cannot be fixed. The vast majority of people will never pay for porn again. For companies to survive they have to adapt to different platforms and find new revenue streams for their content. Up until 2007, DVD was the bread and butter of every studio. Now you see studios branching out into other types of digital distribution including VOD, PPV, Broadcast, Hotels, etc. The main reason I created SkweezMe.com was to try to bring revenue back to the studios. We reinvented the VOD model. Competing sites still require you to buy packages of minutes. $1.00 on those sites will buy you about 12 minutes of streaming content. On SkweezMe.com, $1.00 gives our users 24 hours of access to stream unlimited content on our platform for that full day. I think the goal to get people to start paying for porn again is give them quality content at a price that people won’t mind paying as well as a platform which they can access anywhere and is quick and even more user friendly than the tube sites. The industry norm for paysites is $29.99 a month which comes out to the same as our platform, but with SkweezMe.com, you only pay for the days that you use our service so if you only use our platform 4 days a month you are only paying $4.00. The thing that most of the tube users don’t realize is that the majority of the clips and scenes they are watching on these tubesites are all pirated. They go to a website that has an Alexa rating right around Yahoo.com so they automatically assume since the site is so big and popular they have to be legitimate but it’s exactly the opposite. I use a company called Take Down Piracy and all they do is patrol the tube and torrent sites and send DMCA notices on my behalf to get my content that has been pirated taken down.
SimplySxy: There has been an increasing number of homemade videos from celebrities and just about any non-celebrity surfacing online ever so often. People seem to like to watch these “real and non-scripted” stuff even if the quality of the vid isn’t fantastic. Is that something porn industry will consider producing to make videos similar?
Mike: Amateur content has obviously seen an explosion in the past few years with the rise of tube sites, social media and ease with connecting with other people. I have a line called Amateur Relations which is just that, user submitted content that we pay to the couples who produce it. It does do very well, however it is still a small niche in a very large market. The amount of amateur content online is probably more than the mainstream porn that is produced and the market is very saturated so I do not see studios dumbing down the quality of their content to compete in a small niche in the business.
SimplySxy: As with every industry, it takes a lot to stay competitive and survive in business. What do you think an aspiring porn star needs to make it?
Mike: The competitiveness of the business is harsher than it has ever been. Because of the rampant piracy, a lot of studios have shut down, shoot less, or don’t shoot at all anymore. On the other side of the coin, the amount of talent has exploded. There are more active performers in the industry than ever before with 70% less work to satisfy the workforce. For a girl to really stand out and have a successful career she needs to realize that unless you are in bed sleeping, you should be promoting yourself 24/7. Twitter, Facebook, Paysites, Tumblr and having a good publicist can help you accomplish that. In an industry where busloads of new girls pull into town every day, you need to make sure that when a director or studio head opens a magazine or adult news site you are right in front of their face. It’s also really important to be professional on set, build solid friendships and make sure you are maintaining a positive reputation because the industry really is very small and tight-knit. Lastly, I would say that you have to be fully devoted to your career. If you are a girl that has one foot in the door and one foot out or are just shooting a scene to pay the most recent bill, you won’t see a lot of success and when all is said and done, that decision may come back to haunt you. It’s all about hustling. In adult it’s not easy anymore. Only the strong survive.
SimplySxy: Do you think more control is necessary to prevent children and underaged teens from having access to porn or is this up to the individual families to control?.
Mike: This is a two sided argument that goes back to the tube sites. The majority of pay sites go through a reputable billing processor. On my site SkweezMe.com, for someone to view any type of content they have to sign up and pay. Our merchant processor has built in age verification. Most paysites are like this. However, if you look at the tube sites, when you type in the address it goes straight to the front page that is covered in clips. There is no age verification and these are the sites most of the people watching porn are using. I guarantee if you ask any teenage boy between the ages of 12-17 if they have ever viewed porn they will say yes and the site they saw it on would be one of the major tubes which did nothing to prevent someone underage from accessing the content on their site.
SimplySxy: There are people who cringe and judge a person differently when they hear that they watch pornographic material. In your opinion, are there benefits from watching porn other than just using it to jack off?
Mike: I think everyone can agree that the majority of the people who utilize porn are horny guys just jacking off, but there are really big markets within the industry that prove there are benefits. If you look at New Sensations director Jacky St. James, she primarily produces romance and couples films. The majority of the people who are buying her product are couples and women. These types of movies can help enhance a couple’s sex life. Then there is also the instructional genre which can teach viewers how to better satisfy their partner. They have instructional videos for almost everything including G-Spots, Prostate Massages, Different positions, etc. We are one of the few industries in the world that gives the consumer EVERYTHING they could ever want.
SimplySxy: Where kind of scenes do you enjoy filming most?
Mike: Our MILF lines are probably our best selling titles. We have a loyal fan base that will pick up every MILF movie we put out and that genre has always been a big cornerstone of Monarchy and we have won a few awards for them as well.
SimplySxy: Are there many differences between various countries when it comes to producing porn? Say comparing those coming out from America with Japan?
Mike: The laws and outlook on filming pornography vary from country to country. Currently there is legislation in Mexico to treat all pornographic content shot in the country to be treated as sex trafficking with heavy penalties including serving upwards of 15 years in prison. Europe obviously has always been much less prude than the rest of the world. If you look at the content that comes out of Europe it is usually much harder, a lot more anal, and has sex acts that you would not see in a American movie. Because of the obscenity issues in the US, American porn compared to other countries is considered very cookie cutter.
SimplySxy: Which is your favorite porn star you have worked with?
Mike: I would say Alana Evans. I have known her for years and she has been in the business for over 17 years and she is still relevant. She is still shooting all the time, as well as pursuing big things in other industries.
SimplySxy: Do you sometimes feel weary from all the sex? With your business and line of work, and then getting it on a personal level?
Mike: I don’t get weary. The adult business for me is just like any other job. Porn is a product I sell. I will say that I am very desensitized from it though. Porn just doesn’t excite me the way it would if I worked in another industry.
SimplySxy: This is a question from one of our readers. What does it take to date a porn star?
Mike: Most of the girls I know date within the industry but I do know girls that date civilians (non industry guys). I think the key is to realize that the girls are here to do a job. Just because you see a girl on camera getting double penetrated by two huge guys doesn’t mean that’s an invitation to bring your buddy home and do the same thing to her. This is acting. It’s a job. You also have to be comfortable with the fact that this is what they do for a living. Jealousy will get you nowhere. Just be a genuinely good dude and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Mike can be followed at the following social media links as well as his website. @xxxmonarchy @skweezmedia www.skweezme.com
Images courtesy of Mike Kulich
Tomorrow, Sofie Maenhout shares her piece on why women are addicted to 50 Shades of Grey and Men to Porn.
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