The Adult Entertainment Expo sets the course of the next year for porn companies. Fans are welcome, but this is where deals get done, major releases are announced and major products \(and talent signings\) are announced. Industry insiders expect at least one major merger to be announced this year.
New Date, Familiar Faces
This year, though, for the first time, the show does not coincide with the Consumer Electronics Show. The new date is a gamble — and one that show organizers are a little nervous about.
Foot traffic from CES has always been substantial at the AEE. Last year, 23,000 people attended the porn show, with a six percent increase in fan attendance and a two percent increase in overall attendance over 2010, according to Adult Video News. Over three-quarters of the visitors were male, which isn't surprising, but 25 percent of the fan attendees were 46 or older.
The number of fans attending this year is expected to shrink, due to the date switch, but over 150 companies are slated to attend, including the biggest companies in porn, such as Vivid Entertainment, Digital Playground and Manwin(owner of the biggest online porn sites). Almost a quarter of the attending companies have gross annual sales of over $1 million.
The porn industry, as a whole, is thought to generate roughly $14 billion in revenue per year, but revenue from films has been shrinking, due to piracy and an abundance of free content on the Internet.
"The nature of the industry is we don’t make nearly as many products as we did once," says Scott Taylor, president and founder of New Sensations.
Sex toy sales, though, remain strong, particularly high-end adult novelties. Designed with medical grade silicon and often looking like something that sprung from the labs of Apple, these products are now offered by mainstream retailers such as Brookstoneand featured in publications such as "Women's Health" and "Glamour."
For the second year in a row, AEE will coincide with the AVN Novelty Expo, to present a more complete picture of the industry.