Off the record and very hush-hush.
Who will compile the compilers?
If you've purchased an adult DVD in the past year, chances are you bought a compilation title. You did it and you probably didn't even know it. These days, it's really hard to tell. Studios are not really upfront with telling you if a title is a compilation or not. I feel our industry is walking on thin ice with this business practice.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't entirely dislike comps. I think a well-done compilation is great for fans. It's a great concept, so like all things in our industry we take a great concept and bastardize it until it's a far cry from it's original form. We've got to get this aspect back under control.
I would submit that there are 2 different kinds of comps. The "New Release" comp, and the "Catalog" comp.
New Release comps are titles released as part of that studio's regular new release schedule at their standard New Release pricing. You see, most brick and mortar stores are on budgets, so they can only order a certain amount of new releases each week. When studios increase the number of titles they release, someone else gets dropped. This results in the decline in the selection that store can offer. As stores reduce the # of titles they buy, studios then begin to reduce their price so that they don't get squeezed out. The problem with that is that the studios willing to slash their prices aren't always the best quality releases. This is why the store you shop at ends up with a bunch of crap from studios like Pandemonium, and very little from studios like Shane's World, Jules Jordan and Digital Playground. Those price slashing studios will then notice that they aren't making very much profit on their titles, so what do they do? Release more titles of course. They would rather make a small profit on 10 titles, than to make a great profit on 5 titles. When the profit comes down, the number of comps they put out will then increase because comps are almost pure profit for the studio. On paper that seems great, the problem is that not everyone wants the comp, which by nature is narrow in it's scope or target audience. So a shitty company like Futureworks will monopolize space in your store. What the store doesn't realize is that you, the customer, know that all those Futureworks titles are absolute shit, so you stop shopping there. The store's sales go down, then what do they do? Buy more cheap titles of course! So your local store's shelves fill up with cheap crap, and comps. When you only buy the cheaper option, you often get what you pay for. I can tell you from experience. I've had numerous adult store buyers give me the line of "Why would I want to pay $xx for Shane's World, when I can buy so-and-so for $4 less?" There are numerous problems with that line of thinking, but none more important than this:
As a buyer, you must keep in mind that you aren't buying for YOURSELF, you are buying for YOUR CUSTOMERS. This concept will be lost on a lot of adult store buyers, because often times, these are hard working people that are put into that position without a real understanding of what the job entails. I don't think that these folks would really be that upset if you, the customer, helped them out a bit. Give them feedback, tell them to stop carrying crappy Leisure Time product. Tell them that you want NEW titles in addition to the onslaught of comps. Tell them that their buying strategy is costing them customers. This should resonate with them, as it affects their bottom line. If they truly want to be successful, they will listen.
Catalog comps are those titles that studios put out at a significantly reduced price. These should be the titles you find in the bargain or discount sections of your stores. These are usually the titles you find with 4hour runtimes or longer. These titles have historically had a few problems. The main problem being putting pictures on the cover of scenes not actually in the movie. I refer to this as "Leisure Time Scam #1". The next problem is that the content is often times unrelated to the theme of the compilation. This is "Leisure Time Scam #2". The last major problem is that the stores have overpriced these titles to unreasonable levels. I have been to stores that are marking up their catalog comps sometimes up to 15x what they paid for it. A $2 comp being priced at $30 is just ridiculous. That's greed, and greedy pricing will alienate your customers. No store is paying more than $5 for any true catalog comp. These titles should absolutely never be priced more than $20, and even then I think it's too high.
So hopefully you have a better understanding of the Compilation market now. I'm proud to say that the 2 companies I represent are not part of the compilation flood. Shane's World has released ONE compilation in 10 years. Hush Hush Entertainment has released 5 compilations in their entire history. We have well over 100 titles, and 5 comps. I'll gladly tell you that Best Of Blackzilla 1 & 2, Shane vs. Boz, Splittin That Shitter and Best of Hush Hush Sasha Grey are all compilations. Our 1 Shane's World compilation was offered to distributors and stores at LESS than our regular New Release price, and featured previously unseen scenes. All our Hush Hush compilations were 2 disc sets and we did not charge ANY extra for those titles versus our single disc titles. There are other studios out there that release compilations responsibly and for the benefit of the consumer. There are stores out there that select and price their compilations responsibly. As far as the other guys, and I can only hope that they wake up and keep the consumer's best interest in mind, and not just the bottom line, because if they don't, one day they may wake up and realize they have no consumers left.