Erika Lust and her production company Lustfilms have more mainstream appeal than most other companies in the porn industry. At the end of last year, the studio launched a new b2b platform, called lustfilms.com. What makes this site special is the fact that online retailers can link their shop directly to the system, meaning the customers can watch a stream of the film right after he’s bought it. But there are more appealing features to lustfilms.com as Laura Crespo explains in our interview. Meanwhile, Erika Lust herself grants us a little peek at her most recent productions, including the latest instalment in her successful XConfessions series.
With movie streaming becoming more and more popular, when do you expect to sell your last DVD?
Laura Crespo: To a lesser extent, I believe that DVD’s will never be out of the market. There will always be customers that prefer tangible merchandise, it’s the same with the book or newspaper market. I think that people who buy these kind of things are “nostalgics”! What’s clear for me is that our selling strategy for this product has changed; we have to add more value to the DVDs and that’s why we are currently designing a premium collector’s edition.
You have recently launched a new b2b platform for adult movies at lustfilms.com. Why have you chosen to create your own platform instead of using existing ones?
Laura: We wanted to offer the best download and streaming quality possible to our customers. And we found nothing that suited our quality standards. That’s why we decided to make one of our own.
Laura Crespo, Sales Manager at Lustfilms
Will new movies automatically become available for retailers if they use lustfilms.com?
Laura: Yes, we are currently adding more films to the catalog, even from other directors. In that manner, we can offer the best of the erotic film scene.
Can any retailer stream via lustfilms.com, or do you have certain requirements the shop must meet before it can use the platform? Is it up to the retailer to take care of things like age verification?
Laura: The retailer has to sing up. Then, the sales team makes the corresponding research to make sure the store really exists and that everything is completely legal.
How could a retailer benefit from your digital content in his brick and mortar store?
Laura: The retailer receives a 50% profit of the sales generated by this content.
Is there a fee for implementing lustfilms.com into a webshop? Can the customer himself set the price he charges for a movie or do you have fixed rates?
Laura: The retailer has freedom to affix selling prices although we recommend starting prices according to those that we offer in our B2B platform.
Discretion and anonymity are important topics for the consumer. Which data – if any – do you collect?
Laura: It’s really easy, we implement it with the help of an API. Erika Lust Films has NO access to the retailer’s customer information. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
What does lustfilms.com offer retailers besides the movie streams?
Laura: This platform also offers all of Erika Lust’s DVDs and merchandising products: packs, tote bags, T-shirts… It works like an easy e-commerce!
On your website, you say that “We are a successful business because we are shooting the adult films that modern audiences want to watch”. What exactly does the modern audience want?
Erika Lust: The modern audience wants intelligent, beautifully shot films that are both erotic and artistic. I’ve always thought that sex and cinema don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and luckily many people feel that way too! Mainstream adult films are in no way some sort of reflection of universal sexuality. Many people want to connect with erotic films on many levels, and not just watch close-ups of genitals – I think eventually many get bored with those sort of films.
Is producing a movie for an online audience any different from planning a DVD release? Does the customer have other expectations in regards of what is shown to her or him?
Erika: I wouldn’t say the production has changed. The shift from DVD’s to online hasn’t been that drastic – we do still sell our DVD’s. Our DVD’s are nicely designed by our graphic designer, and they come with beautiful postcards with stills from the shootings – people like to have them on show at home, they’re not like the old cassettes you’d hide under your bed! Like Laura said, some people like to have that physical product, even when there’s digital options available. I think that’s a very human thing, we’re tactile beings. So we always make sure our physical products are carefully designed and pleasing to the eye, just like the website.
In 2013, you started the XConfessions series, the first crowdfunded adult movie and still an ongoing project of yours. How would you describe the concept of this series to someone who has never seen it?
Erika: With the XConfessions project, I get to make the fantasies and memories of people from all over the world a reality, by turning their stories into erotic short films. It works like this: people confess on my website xconfessions.com and I then pick two stories each month and turn them into short films.
It’s a great community, and the confessions on the site always amaze me. It’s such a rich mix of sexual fantasies and desires. Sometimes you can read something hilarious on there, other times it’s a bit sad or poetic, or maybe it’s crafted like an erotic novel from the previous century – I never know what I’m going to find on the site. I urge everyone to come and confess there anonymously. It’s free to confess and read, and you can become a full member if you want full access.
You released the latest instalment of the series at the beginning of December. What can you tell us about this one?
Erika: Volume 6 has played a lot with new territory, we brought in music and dancing with two films, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
We had a choreographed striptease to Finnish tango and then our very own magic mike style dancing session, complete with assless chaps. We also made “Try My Boyfriend” which was an explosion of colors and more of a funny film – the idea is like an AirBnB style website for a boyfriend who is very good at a certain skill…. We did a short about how sexy wine-tasting can be in “Wine is The Best Lubricant.” I shot my first anal scene as well. It’s an exciting new collection of films, and I feel proud of all of them.
With over 100,000 active members and more than 500 confessions, you have gathered a huge and loyal audience for XConfessions. How important is communication with the viewers for your work? Do you feel like you are working on a movie together with them or is it more important for you to stay independent and present something of your own?
Erika: I feel really close to the audience and the XConfessions community, and I definitely feel like it’s a joint effort! Even though my direction style is always going to be me, I can’t take credit for all the amazing ideas that people come up with. The XConfession community spur me to keep going. I wouldn’t have the energy to keep doing this if I didn’t feel like the audience was on board with me and engaging with the project.
You produce a new XConfessions every six months and want to continue to do so. That sounds like a lot of pressure to be creative…
Erika: We actually shoot a new bunch every three months! So the production output is very heavy, yes. It’s been full on from the start, but filming is what I love to do and I have an amazing team so it’s worth the crazy hours. I would like to look at doing new projects as well, so I have to find a way to keep it all going at once. XConfessions is my baby and I never want to abandon it, but things might change slightly as I take on other projects I want to pursue within adult cinema. Watch this space!