Karl Bernard: Success Requires Agility, Forethought


Gamma Entertainment founder and President Karl Bernard

By M.Christian

YNOT EUROPE – Karl Bernard is not one of the flashy denizens of the adult online space. In fact, the president of multifaceted Canadian company Gamma Entertainment is so quiet, some people forget he exists.

But Bernard has been around the online adult industry since its early days, and unlike some of the flashier companies and individuals, he and his company are still going strong. Founded in 1996, Gamma has grown from a small home-based business into a 124-employee force with which to be reckoned … but in a very polite, understated Canadian way.

Today Gamma’s expertise includes affiliate marketing, website design and management, and technology. And still the company clings to the simple guiding principles Bernard established in the beginning: honesty, respect, reliability, all handled in a straightforward, no-nonsense way. The attitude has contributed to a string of awards for the company and its divisions, including recent YNOT, XBIZ and AVN awards in several “best of” categories.

Bernard sat down with YNOT.com to reminisce about the ups and downs of the industry and to provide a peek at what the future may hold.

YNOT: How did you get started in the adult entertainment industry?

Karl Bernard: I was in college studying to be a computer engineer, but I left to pursue my online interests full-time. What started out as a hobby has turned into a business that employs hundreds of people and holds partnerships with some of the most talented players in the industry.

Undeniably, the web has changed everything. How did the revolution affected you and your business?

Successful companies have to be forward-thinking and ready to take action quickly in our industry. To accommodate this environment, Gamma has built flexible business models and taken the appropriate steps and measures to ensure we keep ahead of the pack.

For example, we have established integrated sales and marketing teams to offer centralized services to all of our partners and subsidiaries. Rather than approaching each project individually, we place greater value on collaboration and the ways we can connect our services together to produce more effective products.

Share your thoughts about the current state of the adult entertainment world. Where do you feel it could be improved? Where do you think it has succeeded?

Like any other industry, nothing is permanent. For many years, Gamma focused the majority of our efforts on building successful affiliate programs. In today’s climate, an adult company must be multifaceted to thrive, which is why we also focus on other means of generating and converting traffic for our partners.

Optimization is central in all of our efforts. Also, having a passionate and dedicated team definitely helps lead us down the road to continued success.

Tell us something about Karl Bernard. What are your interests and hobbies? What unique moments have you experienced “in the biz?”

Our industry is at the center of my passion and hobbies. In my free time, one of the things I really enjoy doing is web development. Unfortunately, my responsibilities don’t allow me to be hands-on with the code as much as I want, and that’s something I really enjoy attacking on rare occasions during evenings and weekends.

I also currently co-own several videogame stores in Montreal and have a family venture that imports and distributes skincare products from France.

If you could pass along five quick examples of how you and your company have dealt with the changes in the industry, many other business owners would appreciate it.

[LIST=1]

  • I try to be very hands-on and work with each level of the company to build successful products and solutions in-house. The more aspects of the business we touch, the wider and more successful our reach will be.
  • Generating and monetizing traffic has always been a beast in our industry, and now it wears more faces than ever before. To be successful, we must be involved in all the different ways to build and convert traffic for ourselves and our partners.
  • Take cues from other players inside and outside of the industry. What works for mainstream companies, in terms of production or promotion, can work very well for adult, too. We use tools such as social media to reach a wider audience of fans.
  • We constantly focus on the experience of our users and have added tools to increase their ease and enjoyment of our products, including multi-format compatibility, [high-definition] content and easy-to-navigate tours and member areas.
  • All of Gamma’s teams work together to increase our collaboration, creativity and efficiency when delivering new products and services.
    [/LIST]
    Gamma has grown a lot lately. How have you and the company changed from where you began? Have you had to modify your direction and focus?

    Our core business has expanded, and we’ve always kept a finger placed on the pulse of this ever-changing industry. My constant focus is to keep growing as a company and develop lasting partnerships with reputable brand names.

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