The XBIZ 2021 Day 1 (Jan. 11, 2021) panels that rocked my world – and one that didn’t
Day 1 of the XBIZ 2021 virtual event went off with a few hitches, but was mostly smooth sailing. I (Katy Churchill) attended three panels on January 11, specifically the “Premium Paysites” tech track session as well as “Clips in Context” and “Setting Your Stage” from the talent track. Let me give you a quick and dirty rundown of how I think Day 1 went. I also got input from other people who went to things I didn’t (like Speed Networking) to give you a bit more. All of the XBIZ 2021 sessions will eventually be available for streaming and download on XBIZ.tv so don’t worry if you missed out on something you wanted to see!
Boy, when you get a good, strong moderator with a plan and add the right mix of performers at different career stages with different niches, some magic can happen! The “Clips in Context” panel was really inspiring, with a variety of panelists that all approach clips and content creation in different ways. The moderator had a list of questions for each person to answer, but also monitored the chat for viewer questions. It was a very inspiring panel, too, with lots of advice for filming great videos without buying a camera. The “Setting Your Stage” talent-track panel was similar in content, but also featured lots of talk about shooting locations, decorating your set, and choosing outfits. Both panels agreed that most of the tech stuff is an upgrade that might appeal to you, but likely won’t make a difference to your customers. Aesthetic matters, but performance overshadows all. I left these back-to-back sessions excited for my next shooting day (coincidentally the day after these panels), and the inspiration high carried me through a ton of content. This is what I am here for: solid tips and tricks, helpful advice, a bit of personal experience and validation, and inspiration for my own creative work.
Not every panel was as enjoyable, of course. I was disappointed by the “Premium Paysites” panel, which is unfortunate because it is one of the sessions I was most excited about. It started late, and the first 20 minutes or so (taking us to the 26 minute mark including delayed start) was mostly a hype session about how Pornhub struggling could be great for paysites, and how paysites in general are great. That may very well be the case, but I was there to “[gain] insight into how paysite operators have rapidly evolved their business model to maximize conversions and member retention.” While the panel did make it there in the end, there wasn’t as much time for them to discuss it as I would have hoped. There was some great information, though, and I just wish they’d had more time to get into the kind of detailed discussion that they had at the end. Unfortunately, this panel also had a rather disorganized moderator. It was clear that he planned for a free-form discussion, but that left things a bit of a free-for-all. He also had a Zoom greenscreen background that was an image of a bombed and burning Capitol building (from a movie or video game, I assume), which seemed extremely unprofessional and inappropriate, especially as he was wearing XBIZ clothing and is a representative of the company. All was not lost, though, as I also connected with someone in the chat who I am now going back and forth with about my own paysite ambitions!
As we’ve seen with so many of the online events this year, tech issues were a pretty big factor. From panelists with echoes to panelists who couldn’t even get into their sessions, it’s clear that there was no dry run for any of the groups. You could tell the cam models from their lighting and great camera quality, but many streams had panelists with dark rooms, echoes or background noise, or people who couldn’t figure out how to unmute themselves. As each content track was run in a continuous Zoom meeting, there wasn’t any time for moderators or tech people to get everyone set up ahead of time, so the first few minutes of sessions were often used trying to get panelists into the event and set up to speak. I assume that panelists are unpaid, and so the organizers don’t want to put a larger burden on their time, but after the first XBIZ virtual event it should have been clear that technology issues were going to be a problem and should be dealt with in advance.
Tech trouble was not limited to panelists and moderators, unfortunately. Speed Networking had several hiccups as well, leading to some participants being matched with themselves several times. Additionally, many people struggled to login to the platform with the credentials that were sent to them via email, leading to some of the first panels being missed.