MARTIJN BROERSMA, FOUNDER OF DUSK TV — “The number one fantasy for both men and women is having a threesome!”

Over here at WHACK! we heard about Dusk! TV in Holland a while back, and our ears perked up at the sound of a Dutch-run television channel showing porn made for women. We also liked it that they always punctuate with a question mark, like we do at WHACK! Our ears perked up again when we discovered that the channel’s top brass had named their content “porna”—the feminine version of “porno.” The channel is doing so well in Europe and getting so much media attention that we felt we had to see what was up over there in the Netherlands (our favorite country, by the way, because pot and prostitution are legal, and because it’s called the Netherlands) and what we here in the US of A could learn. Miss Lagsalot gave cofounder Martijn Broersma a call with the aim of writing an article about Dusk! TV and porna, but the interview itself was so fantastic and so filled with unintentional double entendres that she decided to run it in its entirety instead of picking it apart. (Martijn, if you’re reading this, please note that your English is superb. You just say some funny things with connotations you might not know about. A lot of them.) Have fun, ladies and gents — but mostly ladies!

WHACK! MAGAZINE I really wanted to talk to you about Dusk! So can you tell me a little bit about what made you decide a few years ago that you wanted to try Dusk! TV?

MARTIJN BROERSMA Well actually this is not something that we came up with ourselves. Back about three years ago I was actually given the question for the Dusk! TV channel, an erotic TV channel for women, by one of the cable companies. And they asked me if I know what this is. I said, “No, I actually have no idea, but it sounds interesting. So let me find out.” So there was someone else that I had met within my network, who had the same question as well. So we sat down together with a cup of coffee, and first we started doing some research here in Holland, nationwide research, to see if there was actually a market for such a TV channel. And basically what we found out was quite interesting. The first question we asked that we asked was, “Do you watch porn?” And about 55% percent of the women said, “Yes, I watch porn.” And the interesting part, actually, was the part that says, “No, I don’t watch porn.” Because they don’t fill out the second and third questions because they don’t think it’s relevant. They think it’s still male-oriented and with no respect for women, etc. But, basically, in the end of the survey we asked all the women, “How would you respond if there would come [sic! This guy is great!] a female-oriented porn channel?” And 78% of all the women said, “We are open and positive to watch the arrival of such a channel.”

W! Wow.

MB And that was such news to hear about! So we immediately started to, well, to start. Then we came up with the second problem, well, the first problem. And that was, if you have two guys who have to say, what do women like most. It’s not going to work. We immediately came up with the idea that we needed to ask the audience what they wanted to see. So we introduced the panel, which is now online so every woman can become an anonymous and free panel member. They are presented with scenes, and they decide whether or not it’s arousing, and if they want to watch it, and if it’s actually female-oriented. And based on that, we decide what to air on the channel.

And the second problem that we faced by doing this was actually creating a new category of films. Because there was no right word for it. If you call it “porn,” it has the same atmosphere. It’s the same response for being respectless and filthy. If you call it “erotic,” it gives a glance of being soft [sic!], which is clearly not the case because if you ask women, they want to see hardcore as well. So that’s why we came up with the word “porna,” and gave it a feminine side. And we felt the obligation to get the word “porna” in the dictionary within three years. So we’re now, two and a half years later, and this year it will come in the dictionary [sic!]! We have almost succeeded on that. I think it will work.

W! Really?

MB Yeah, we’ve had a lot of media attention over the last six months, not only in Holland but worldwide. So it has actually gone crazy. The word porna itself has a large-spread [sic!] awareness.

W! I’ve seen a lot of media coverage about here in the US, and I’m really excited about it. Especially here, we have a long legacy of very male-dominated porn, and I know a lot of women who are terrified to even try to watch it because they think they’re going to end up watching the worst of the worst of what they imagine. So based on what you found from the panel responses, do you think that at some point if porna becomes a large enough idea, and more people start making female-oriented porn, that there will end up being a crossover between the male versus the female sectors?

MB I think that’s already starting to happen right now. The funny thing is that, you know, when we started about 99% of all the films that were produced in the adult film business were male-oriented porn films, and always with cumshots in the face. Nevertheless there were, of course, Candida Royale for instance, who was making these kinds of films for sixteen or eighteen years already. So there were pioneers in this field, in making female-oriented porn films. There was already a diversion in that sense, but there was no mature market for it yet. So the distribution for this kind of film was not there yet. And I can fairly say that when the opportunity developed, these producers, which are mainly independent producers, now had a distribution market, so they now are actually making enough money to make more films. And what you’re also seeing now is that some of the major labels in the traditional porn industry are seeing this new revolution coming up and they also are starting to make female-oriented porn. So it’s becoming more of the next thing. So I think it’s clear that we have a big say in this.

W! So what is the distribution looking like? How many people are you reaching right now?

MB We are now with the major three cable companies in Holland, which means that we have coverage of about 90% of the cable households. About 1.2 million households are able to watch the channel.

W! So that’s at least, what, 3 million people?

MB Something like that. Our goal, our aim is to grow ourselves all over Europe and the US, wherever we can. We want to make this as big as possible [sic!] Of course that is our aim, and we can fairly say that we will launch in several countries this year.

W! So right now you’re only in Holland, but you’re expanding?

MB Yeah.

W! Is most of the content that you show from European filmmakers?

MB No. No, there’s also content of course from Candida Royale, which is from the US. But we also have content from outside of Europe. I think 50% out of the US market and 50% out of Europe, which is from Germany, or Italian or French. It’s quite diverse. And don’t forget also the UK.

W! I actually just spoke to Erika Lust in Barcelona, and she said that you also show her films, too. I love her films.

MB She’s actually one of the best that we have. She makes wonderful films, and we’re a big promoter of her.

W! And Blue Artichoke Films in Holland, from Jennifer Lyon Bell, is also involved?

MB Yeah.

W! Have your panel discussions given you a unified sense of what women want to see, or is it spread out and diverse?

MB You mean, what is the definition of porna?

W! Yeah, what do women like?

MB The thing is, if you ask fifty women their opinions, you get fifty answers. But in general, there are some aspects that you still need to have in order for it to be interesting to women. You have to see actually normal people. Attractive-looking people, but normal people, who actually like being together. They have to like having sex together. And the enjoyment you can actually see from the film. If you compare it to traditional porn, where you see a high blond girl [sic!—how right he is!] with silicone breasts, and some sort of bodybuilder, you can see in the face of the girl that she’s not enjoying it, that she’s actually thinking about something else that she needs to do afterwards. And that’s not something that happens in normal life. You want to relate to what is happening. Or maybe it has to do with a fantasy that’s being stimulated. So it has to be realistic in general.

And also the sex itself needs to be in some sort of context. I don’t say that it’s necessary to have a big storyline. Like Matinee, for example, from Jennifer Lyon Bell, has a large storyline. The first twenty minutes there is no sex at all. It comes [sic!] after fifteen minutes. In general that is considered to be long. As mentioned, it is a TV channel, and so people are snapping. If they see a long storyline they just move to another channel. But it should be normal that the sex is happening, instead of the traditional storyline where the pizza guy has already dropped his pants before the door is open. So that’s one of the things.

Also, respect for the women is important. For example, the cumshot in the face. I don’t know a lot of women who actually like that. Most women find that degrading.

And also important is the quality of the film itself on aesthetic base. It has to be beautifully made, it is important that the music is well done. If you look at the films from Erika Lust, for instance: there’s always excellent music behind it. It’s wonderful footage with beautiful lighting, and normal-looking people who actually have fun. You can see that they’re enjoying themselves. The orgasms that you see are real, they’re not fake. It’s just like peeking at someone else.

These are aspects in general that actually come out, although I have to say that there’s also a large variety of content.

The funny thing is actually that when we did the research in Holland, we also asked about lesbian scenes. And it came out [sic!] that only 3% of the women liked to see the lesbian scenes. And I thought that was extremely low because I would have thought it would be much, much higher. But you see that there is a demand for lesbian scenes, but the majority wants to see heterosexual scenes. And because Dusk! is aiming for all women, we do broadcast lesbian scenes, but it’s not out there as much as heterosexual scenes.

W! I wonder if it’s because most women are so used to seeing lesbian scenes that are made for men and by men. And those don’t look satisfying at all. So much that’s made in LA has the word “lesbian” in the title, but you can tell that the women don’t want to be near each other.

MB Exactly. Then, you go into lesbian SM, if you look at Maria Beatty, she is quite into the lesbian S&M kind of films, but they are all very well made. They are all pieces of art. There is a small group that really like these kinds of films, but again, the majority wants to see straight sex.

W! Do you show different programming depending on the time of day to fulfill everybody’s, um, needs?

MB It depends on the channel itself. Because in Holland we’re quite liberal, so we actually have the number one and number two cable companies, and we also have one in the mainstream package combined with all sorts of other channels. It’s actually the only adult channel within this package. In this channel, we take over during the nighttime, at 9:00, and we air until 1:00 or half past 12:00. And the sense of this channel is actually to show a bigger audience what Dusk! is all about, and if you want to see more, you have to go to the erotic premium package. So what we air there is also some soft series, like in the US, I don’t know if you watch HBO often, but there was a show which aired on HBO in November, I think. We showed that this year on Dusk! At 10:00 or 11:00 we move up to harder scenes to show what Dusk is all about.

W! I read in an article somewhere that you’re getting a larger-than-expected male audience for Dusk. Do you think that men are watching because they want to know what women like or because they’re getting off to it, as well?

MB Both. Actually both. This is my belief. It’s not stated, but this is my belief. I get e-mails from male watchers that say that they are quite happy that there is another type of porn because they are also quite fed up with this traditional porn. And they want their imaginations to be stimulated as well. And if you look at traditional porn, it has nothing to do with any fantasy or imagination. It’s just as plain as it gets. So there’s a demand for straight porn, and it will always be there because the majority of men are watching porn as a snack. It has to be done within five minutes. And if you look at women, it’s all about getting into the right mood. It takes a little bit longer to actually relate to what’s happening. So I think it’s both. Men are always interested in what women would really like to see, what really makes them tick. And there are a lot of men who also read female magazines just to find this out. And the second thing is that they also want to see something else than the traditional porn.

Also, in porna, it’s now actually possible for couples to watch together. Because in traditional porn, many times the girl is feeling ashamed, and it’s nothing to do with what she would like to do or see. But with porna, they are both wanting to watch and maybe have fun afterwards.

W! That’s very promising. I like that idea. So what I’m wondering is: are you collecting the information you’re getting from the panels to share with the scientific community or the sociological community? I feel like the information you’re getting is probably extremely valuable for study.

MB Ummm. No. We don’t share what is happening after you login because it basically gives us an idea of the direction we need to go in with the channel, so we are not sharing that. However, on the homepage, we constantly have surveys that men and women can answer to. And we generate really funny facts, which help us in making a new press release and directing media attention.
For example, a few weeks ago we had a press announcement based on the sexual fantasies of both men and women. The funny thing is that they are quite alike. The number one fantasy for both men and women is having a threesome, although for women it’s with two guys and for men it’s more with two women. But the funny thing is that it’s the same fantasy that they share.

So all these kinds of facts, the media loves. The top ten lists. If it’s about sex they love it. It was on the front cover of all the newspapers and on a radio station, etc. So every few months we generate a new press release with funny facts that come from our website.

W! That’s really interesting. I’m kind of happy to hear that.

MB The most funny press announcement we had was about half a year ago. We asked the audience, “What do you really think is important in the bedroom?” And the funny thing is that men said that attention for each other is the number one. And rough sex, for instance, was one of the lowest in the ranking. If you look at women, rough sex was the absolute number one.

W! Really!  Laughing.

MB And attention for each other was the last one. So I made a press announcement that men are getting weak, and wimps, and that we need to have some sort of liberation to get men where we were. Laughing.

W! Now that’s really interesting. I’d never have expected that.

MB And so going into the other direction, I wouldn’t be surprised if we launch a male-oriented channel in a few years.

W! And maybe that’ll be all the softcore stuff. I would love to get some of these press releases.

MB Yeah, I will send some over!

W! I think people here would be really interested to hear what people over there are doing because I bet it’s about the same. On a more personal note, what was your experience with porn before all of this? Did you work with this kind of content before?

MB Yeah, yeah. I had a company that makes mobile content. I started that about ten years ago. Back then it was quite new that you can actually see an image on your mobile phone, or maybe a small video. And obviously, if you look at the new media, all types of media, when they started, the erotic industry was the first to move into new types of media and was also the first to earn some money. So I was already working with adult market and was quite used to this type of content.

W! My last question is: At the helm of Dusk TV, where you are giving women what they want… Has this gotten you laid?

MB Laughing. I have a very stable relationship, so I have no idea. I have to ask my girlfriend. I’m actually engaged, so it might have stimulated that somewhat.

W! If you know so much about what women want, I bet your girlfriend is benefitting a lot.

MB I haven’t heard any complaints.

W! Congratulations!

MB However funny this may sound, it’s not really for my personal life. I see so much porn during the day that I don’t watch the porn channels in general all that often. Although I have to look, of course, at what the other channels are doing and make sure that my channel is airing without any problems, so I do watch it. And I have to also mention that traditional porn doesn’t do it for me any longer, and that the porna sometimes does. So maybe I’m not a normal guy in that term, because I’ve seen so much.

W! I know how you feel. I have, too.

MBI can imagine.

W! This is really interesting stuff. I’m glad we managed to get together to talk!

MB Thank you!

Check out DuskTV.com for more information, and to take their fun surveys!

—Interview conducted by the queen of cooze coverage, Miss Lagsalot.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. JENNIFER LYON BELL — “Some lesbian films have given me the feeling that lovemaking is OK but fucking isn’t!” « WHACK! Magazine

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