Site not look beautiful? Click here

Porn convention closes with business down but spirits up

Image
What was once the burgeoning B2B trade area at the Sands has been broken down.
Photo: John Katsilometes
Johnny "Monty Oakwood" Katsilometes

As the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo gathers its videos, toys and attire following the money shot of its 2009 convention in Las Vegas, one theme prevails: Slightly down is the new up.

AEE spokesman Sean Devlin, who heads up (no pun intended) the convention’s media operation, arrived at that conclusion in two ways: Someone in the industry said that to him, and it stuck. And, he was running on a treadmill at Canyon Ranch Spa at Palazzo while watching an MSNBC report of the North American International Auto show in Detroit. “They were interviewing this guy in Detroit and saying, ‘So, we understand there are a lot of celebrities at the show this year,’ and the guy says, ‘No! There’s hardly anyone here at all!’ ”

2009 AVN Red Carpet

Comparatively, the 2009 AVN AEE show was down but hardly out. Fan attendance from a year ago is down anywhere between 10 and 20 percent, with the raw numbers likely to be between 20,000 and 25,000. The AEE staff was only slightly encouraged by a spike in early registration, as the early registration accounts for just 10 percent of the expo's total business. Business at the trade booths, located downstairs in the B2B area, was down only slightly, and there were 267 exhibitors this year compared with 301 last year, an 11-percent dip. Not bad, considering the economic climate, is Devlin’s take.

Final day at AVN

“Given the economy, given where every other trade show is now, we feel pretty good,” he said. “We did have a number of exhibitors who are here who took smaller booths and brought fewer people. Giveaways were down, but the exhibitors decided that they have to be here. The show still has value as a showcase for products and services, has value as a place to conduct networking, and has value as a place to reach out to your fan base.”

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority spokesman Vince Alberta said earlier today that the city’s governing marketing and convention booking agency is fine with any business coming to Vegas.

“I think we would be the envy of any city to bring in not just the (AVN) but CES conventions, two major conventions, at the same time,” Alberta said, effectively presenting the silver lining provided by the dual expos. “This has been a very successful week for the city. There’s a reason we’ve been the No. 1 convention destination in the world for the past 14 years. We have three of the 10 largest convention centers, with the Sands, Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas Convention Center, and have the hotel room inventory to accommodate everyone who wants to come here.”

Longtime fans did say that foot traffic at the Sands Convention Center was lighter than in years past, and there were other, shall we say, nuanced observations.

“My girlfriend is Czech, so I really like European women, and because it has become so expensive to fly internationally, you don’t have nearly as many international women here,” said Dan Kartz of San Jose, Calif., who has been a regular conference attendee since 2002. “Before, you could fly women over from the Czech Republic, from Germany, England, Spain, but it has gotten so expensive that it’s mostly an American crowd. There are a lot less foreigners, a lot less foreign companies, too.” Kartz also said that the freebies were somewhat limp this year. “There used to be a lot more free DVDs and free publications, but they’ve gotten pretty stingy. There are not a lot of quality giveaways this year.”

Julie Russell, the chief compliance officer for Wicked Pictures (she ensures that all talent is of age, as one of her many duties with the company) said that, despite a relatively low turnout, fans were still willing to spend money. “Friday was our busiest night ever, in terms of sales and foot traffic,” said Russell, who has attended every AVN show since 2001. "I was expecting it to be worse, actually.”

Industry vet and Wicked Pictures star Stephanie Swift, who left adult films for a brief period a few years ago only to return to specialize in girl-on-girl scenes, has taken part in every show since 1996. This year she said, simply, “This is the smallest and least-crowded (expo) ever. I don’t know if it’s the recession or what,” she said, “but the fans themselves have been very kind.”

Hey, thanks.

Share

Commenting Policy

Previous Discussion:

  • Lynn Comella's favorite quotes from the sexed-up week that was.

  • How do you document an X-rated world for a family newspaper?

  • Vibrating outfits, 3D porn and more.

  • Get More Porno Blog Stories
Top of Story