Montreal is a cornerstone of the porn empire

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Porn industry

“Montreal is the third largest porn-producing city in the world after Los Angeles and Amsterdam.”

This stat surfaces on a semi-regular basis, and no one ever challenges it; maybe because third worldwide seems so plausible. After all, historically, Montreal has that whole Sin City thing locked down – so it can’t be wrong. Right?

“Yes, Montreal is prolific… [but] that’s just superficial journalism,” says Concordia professor Thomas Waugh, who teaches film studies courses and has published widely on sexual representation in film and video. “What does it matter to establish a size or pecking order among the cities, all of which are certainly different in their activities, when we probably don’t have a shared definition of what porn and the porn industry is?”

For our purposes, let’s restrict porn to the production and dissemination of images of people having consensual sex, and the various sectors that support this, such as website hosting.

So what exactly is going on in Montreal that makes everyone so certain we’re on par with L.A. (porn capital of the known universe) and Amsterdam (no explanation required)?
 

All roads lead to MindGeek

 
Formerly known as Manwin, MindGeek is the apex of our local porn pyramid. On paper they’re an IT company that provides content delivery, streaming media and online advertising. In reality MindGeek is a porn empire. It’s a hosting platform and production line for sites owned by a private group of investors, headquartered in Luxembourg with offices in Montreal, Cyprus, Dublin, Miami and L.A. According to a 2011 Toronto Star article, the Montreal office employs over 325 people.

MindGeek owns Brazzers, a porn production company founded in 2005 by two Concordia students. Brazzers was part of a holding group called Mansef, which was acquired in 2010 and re-branded as Manwin, then again in 2013 as MindGeek.

The Brazzers Network comprises over 30 websites that cater to every niche and taste, from Real Wife Stories to Big Tits in Uniform. And while their sites are managed from Montreal, most of the scenes are shot in Las Vegas, L.A. and Miami. MindGeek also owns Digital Playground, Reality Kings and Twistys, three of the most popular adult film studios in the world.

MindGeek also owns a variety of porn aggregator tube sites (free porn videos funded by ads), including Pornhub and the Pornhub Network (Redtube, YouPorn, Xtube etc). Combined, Mindgeek controls about 30 per cent of tube traffic worldwide (approximately 65 million unique visitors per day, give or take). Across the board, MindGeek sees around 110 million daily visitors. Pornhub leads the charge with approximately 50 million daily.

Lower down the food chain — but no less significant — are companies like Braincash (elegantangel.com, lexsteele.com, bigwetasses.com), who sponsor adult websites and pay webmasters that drive traffic to them. Gamma Entertainment (openlife.com, lanesisters.com, flashybabes.com) does the same, specializing in IT for the adult entertainment industry.

(Read more about working at MindGeek on p. 3.)
 

The webcam revolution

 

Melody Kush on the cover of Cult MTL, Feb. 2015

Melody Kush on the cover of Cult MTL, Feb. 2015

Montreal is a harsh mistress. Opportunities don’t fall in your lap here – you create them. Webcam models like Melody Kush — who perform via live webcam for money — are the Martha Stewarts of DIY adult entertainment. “Porn” feels a bit too black-and-white to describe what she does, which is more along the lines of “erotic modelling.” Melody runs with the Rebels, a small but very successful erotic entertainment crew managed by Ariel Rebel, who discovered Melody way back when she worked at a skate shop. Their niche is primarily tease:  solo stuff, girl-on-girl, no hardcore sex with men.

And like any savvy entrepreneur, she works her ass off to be successful. In a recent interview with Vice, Kush revealed that she generally makes at least $200 in the few hours of each day she cams, roughly four days per week. She has over 100,000 followers on Chaturbate, a U.S.-based webcam platform, and over 1,000 people are watching at any given time.

When she’s not live, Kush’s waking hours are dedicated to getting her own domain up and running. Her soon-to-be-launched site is like Suicide Girls, she says, but with more smut — think of Kush as a Hustler model in a Playboy pin-up world. Her photo sets and cam shows are fun and creative (you’ll never look at a glow stick the same way again), and she clearly loves what she does. It’s ambitious, independent and it pays the rent. The future of porn is here now, and it’s women like Kush who are calling the shots.
 

CONTINUE TO PAGE 2: Montreal’s porn production companies and porn stars

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