The world has changed a lot in the last two decades so what next for one of the oldest and biggest B2C fairs in Europe as it “comes of age”?
This year the Venus fair in Berlin is 18 years old. So in one respect it’s finally old enough to do all the things it’s been doing in the previous 18 years. But how has the world changed since Venus began and what has that meant for the fair and others across Europe and the world?
Each country has its own character and that dictates the type of fairs that can be held in a territory, as well as the type of attendance an event will have. Germany has always been renowned as a place that accepts what many in the mainstream would see as unusual and extreme sexual predilections. The Netherlands has a laid back reputation and a thriving gay scene. The UK has swingers and Erotica.
Over time what is acceptable in a country isn’t static. The optimistic amongst us would presume that as society becomes more educated and open the range of sexual activities and fetishes the freedom to express them would increase. Correspondingly the awareness of sexual exploitation would increase and tolerance for such abuse be eliminated. However that is not necessarily the case as the recent changes to the law in the UK are proving.
Under the cloak of protecting the population recent amendments to laws on Internet content and the legality of possessing “violent” pornography mean that sexual expression may be stifled in a rush to prove that the government is serious about protecting the vulnerable in society. Driving the real perpetrators of sexual exploitation and violence underground, and criminalising otherwise law-abiding citizens may not have been the intention but there is a danger that will become the eventual outcome.
Other factors play a part in which events are successful and which are not. Changes to the economy and particularly reductions in disposable income will reduce spending for any non-essential items. Or indeed the willingness to travel to events!
What can’t be underestimated is that at one time fairs gave producers and distributors of toys, equipment, movies and other merchandise a unique chance to reach out directly to customers and make direct contact with them. Now the web gives anyone selling anything the opportunity to contact customers easily and cheaply via websites, email, Skype, chat and social network sites.
Where the product can be distributed and viewed online as easily, or more easily than in physical form we’ve seen a decline in its representation at fairs in general. To be precise I am talking about pornography, both still photos and movies where trading conditions are tough because of free content both legitimate clips provided to entice subscribers and pirated scenes. Venus does still buck that trend whereas other fairs don’t see the number of studios and publishers they once did.
Yet all that technology cannot replace the atmosphere and personal touch of an erotic fair. So what will the 18 year old Venus fair offer?
The Venus organisers recently sent out a press release stating “After some changes last year, we are ready to take off in 2014. Our new testimonial will leave you speechless…and will impress both journalists and fans. Be surprised!”
They went on to state that “Under the new direction of Sven Hurum, Carsten Borgmeier and Beatrix Jaenicke many ideas were developed – also thanks to your support. Following the 17th VENUS some smaller and greater changes have already been implemented. Further improvements are coming for the 18th VENUS.”
The team in Germany are asking for suggestions as to what the world would like to see in what they describe as the “fascinating event” that will be Venus 2014.
You can find out more here at the Official Venus Website.