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Are adult b2c shows outdated?

There are events in every industry where the latest products and innovations are presented to the public with great fanfare – be it TVs at CES, cars at the Geneva motor show, or the latest video games at E3. The masses shuffle through the aisles and stand in line to take a look at the new products before they hit the market. However, if you look at the b2c events in the adult industry, you will find that none of those shows have managed to mobilise big consumer crowds lately.

matze_pc_webMatthias Poehl

Let’s get this out of the way first: I don’t have much enthusiasm for b2c adult shows, no matter which concept they pursue. I don’t have the fondest memories of these events or my time there. However, you don’t have to be a fan of b2c shows to see that they serve a purpose in our industry. There can be no doubt that many people are interested in the world of erotica, and of course, the companies in our industry need ways to target their potential audience. Seems simple enough, but there is a problem: There is only a very limited number of channels to directly approach the consumers. For various reasons that we all know, there aren’t a ton of opportunities for establishing contact.

While everybody is talking about how the adult market is getting closer and closer to the mainstream, we mustn’t forget that there are still quite a few restrictions when it comes to advertising, promotions, publicity work, etc. We can’t bombard the consumers with adult products the way other industries are bombarding them with consumer goods. Therefore, adult b2c shows represent one of the few tools in the industry’s arsenal that actually allow it to present adult products directly to the masses. At these shows, we can leave our niche and maybe win over new consumer groups. Some say that most of the visitors at these shows are already dyed-in-the-wool fans and aficionados, but that argument only really applies to shows that cater to a male audience and put the emphasis on live shows with lots of bare skin. However, this group is not the key audience of the adult industry anymore, as everybody will confirm. Now, if a b2c show managed to get the attention of the modern clientele, you’d probably see lots of new customers among the visitors. Therefore, it all comes down to how you present such a show.

It is obvious that adult shows for consumers are not as relevant as they once were because the consumers have access to other, easier sources of information than they had 20 years ago – not to mention access to new formats of ‘erotic entertainment’. But I wonder, is that development really the sole reason why long-standing and once well-established shows have shrunken in size or have disappeared altogether? Or could it be that certain topics and attractions can’t draw big crowds from the woodwork anymore? Is the format of b2c shows outdated in the eyes of the modern consumer, or is it just the concept most of them stick to? The truth is probably somewhere in between, and as we all know, exceptions prove the rule.