Recently award winning director Greg Lansky was featured in Forbes. The article they wrote was really in-depth and really rather extensive.
How One Pornographer Is Trying To Elevate Porn To Art
Who says there’s no money to be made in porn anymore? Greg Lansky, 33, would beg to differ. As CEO of GL Web Media, he’s figured out that if you create higher-end adult content, consumers will actually pay for it. The company’s three branded sites — Vixen.com, Tushy.com, and Blacked.com — attract some 30 million unique visitors a month, and subscribers pay $9.95 (for Vixen) or $29.95 (for Tushy and Blacked) a month for access to the site’s full library of pornographic content. “We really have the same business model as HBO,” says Lansky, who lives in Beverly Hills.
In an interview, Lansky, whose “Being Riley” and “Natural Beauties” won him Director of the Year at the AVN Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the last two years running, shared how getting into porn — he describes his aesthetic as “a mix of fashion, 80s porn, and Tom Ford” — was a lifelong dream, why porn is actually art, and what toiling in the digital porn mines taught him about desire.
“I wanted to be in the adult industry since 13?
Growing up in his native France, Lansky was fascinated by Playboy and Penthouse. Then he became fascinated by adult movies. “I just loved the fact that it wasn’t politically incorrect,” he says. “It was this aspect of society that everyone loves and worships in private, but in public it has a lot of shame. I love the paradox of it. People were absolutely obsessed with it in private and in public no one would talk about it.” Eventually, he ended up working in reality television production in Paris. In 2005, he funded his first adult movie, which he describes now as “pretty bad.” After that, he traveled to an adult convention in Berlin, intending to sell the movie. He went from booth to booth, hawking his product. Within the first hour, he’d sold it.
“Everyone told me that is the stupidest idea”
Three weeks after a Los Angeles based adult producer extended an invitation to shoot a porn movie, Lansky was on a plane. For a time, he worked for that production company. Then he worked for Reality Kings, a digital adult content producer. “It was an amazing learning experience,” he says. “These guys were really pioneers in delivering adult content online. You could see instantly how many people were clicking, how many people were not clicking, how many people were bouncing away. You could feel the temperature of the market.” Over time, he tired of churn-and-burn porn. “I wanted to create something more,” he says, something at the higher end. In 2014, he went out on his own. “At the time, everyone and their mother told me, ‘That is the stupidest [expletive] idea. You’re never going to make a dime. Porn is over.’” But he didn’t want the whole market; he only wanted part of it. “If I was able to appeal to a small percentage of these guys, and women, and couples that actually enjoy quality entertainment, I could get that market. The passionate customers. Everyone was telling me this was the worst idea ever, because of piracy and tube sites, and you had to create a product that was cheap, cheap, cheap. I created a product that was extremely expensive by adult standards and that would appeal to some.”
“It is art because you make someone feel something”
According to Lansky, he’s not just making porn, he’s making art. And those porn stars? They’re actually performance artists. “I mean, you can do porn and make art at the same time,” he says. “It’s really what you do when you are truly alive. I don’t let anyone else define what I do. I believe [adult performers] are artists. Unfortunately, they don’t get the respect for what they do. At the end of the day, to me, it’s performance art.” As he sees it, it’s not about naked people having sex on camera. It’s all about how it makes you feel. “It is art because you make someone feel something,” he says. “When you create performance art, people feel something about it. You going to tell me people don’t feel something when they watch my art? They feel something.”
“You can’t swim against the current”
“These tube sites are there,” Lansky says of the adult content video sites where pornographers’ pirated content is downloaded for free by a generation of consumers who feel entitled to free porn. “You have to embrace the times you live in.” As a result, Lansky says, “I’ve selected a few [tube sites] I decided I would do business with. I’ve uploaded very high quality, long clips. I thought, you know what, I’m going to make those clips long enough so they can be satisfying to watch. “‘If this is what I’m getting for free,’” he hoped consumers would think, “‘I can only imagine what I can get for subscription.’ This has been a really successful strategy.” That said, some months Lansky’s company sends out up to 50,000 DMCA notices to remove their pirated content.
“It’s like being a drug dealer but having to pay taxes”
Does being a pornographer in 2017 still have a stigma attached to it? You bet. “The rest of the world will look at you like you’re doing something bad,” he says. The adult content his company creates is sold on its dedicated on websites. The App Store? Forget it. Apple doesn’t really care for porn. “Everything is harder when you have the label of being in the adult industry,” he says.