AVN rates adult films and tracks news developments in the industry. An AVN issue can feature over 500 movie reviews. The magazine is about 80% ads and is targeted at adult-video retailers. David Foster Wallace has described AVN articles to be more like infomercials than articles.
Paul Fishbein, Irv Slifkin, and Barry Rosenblatt founded AVN in 1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Slifkin left in 1984; having lost interest in reviewing adult movies due to the industry's transition from film to videos. Rosenblatt and Fishbein had a falling out in 1987. Eventually, Fishbein moved the magazine to the San Fernando Valley where it operates to this day.
AVN is widely quoted for various figures about the adult industry and its revenues. AVN estimated that the sales and rentals of adult videos topped four billion dollars in 2000 and 2002. Forbes has called this figure "baseless and wildly inflated". When Forbes asked AVN how it arrived at this figure, the managing editor responded, "I don't know the exact methodology... It's a pie chart." When asked to separate the figures for sales versus rentals, a standard practice among those who cover the video industry, the editor did not think those figures were available. Adams Media Research noted that no one tracked the adult video business with rigor or precision and that the most generous estimate of sales and rentals combined was $1.8 billion. AVN estimated that adult industry revenue in 2005 was $12.6 billion with $2.5 billion of that coming from the Internet. However, ABC News reported that this figure could not be independently verified.
In October 2007, AVN, through the leadership and development of CEO Darren Roberts, launched the first ever pan-European, English-language adult industry trade-magazine, AVN Europe, with editorial offices based in Budapest, Hungary. For about two years, AVN Europe published monthly issues with reviews and news items as well as in-depth background articles on such topics as historical development, distribution patterns and women's erotica, mainly written by feature editor Lydia Gall. By mid-2009, following a change of editorial staff, the publication lowered its ambitions somewhat, focusing more on photos from trade shows and other light-weight content. It folded soon after; the last issue was June 2009.
Adult Entertainment Expo
AVN Adult Movie Awards
AVN also hosts an award show for the adult industry modeled after the Oscars. The awards feature over 100 categories and has an attendance of over 3500 people. David Foster Wallace skeptically noted that AVN, in 1997, reviewed over 4,000 new releases in every category in comparison to the 375 films that the Academy Awards were required to see for the Oscars. This number increased to 8,000 for the 2008 Awards and Paul Fishbein comments that it is "a very long, horrible process". The New York Times describe the "precise criteria for winning an AVN are not, well, explicit". Awards often go to consistent advertisers in AVN.
Sports columnist Bill Simmons commented that the Awards were "the most secretly captivating telecasts on TV" alongside the National Spelling Bee and Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Violet Blue, the sex writer, describes the Awards as "big backslapping event where the same companies and same names win year after year... To think of the 'porn Oscars' as a true representation of porn's very best is like having sex with a Jenna Jameson love doll and telling your friends you had sex with the porn star". Even Tyla Winn, an award winner, had trouble remembering one of her sex scenes that was nominated.
AVN also sponsors the GAYVN Awards which are presented annually to honor work done in the gay pornography industry. Awards for gay adult video were a part of the AVN awards from 1988 to 1998. In 1999, AVN decided to separately host the GayVN Awards.
AVN produces a publication dedicated to online adult business trends. In print and on the web, AVN Online publishes articles devoted to the diverse adult internet experience, such as a story about the Village TV Gay News with Johnathon Weeks and Leo Buck.
- AVN Adult Entertainment Expo
- AVN Awards
- AVN Rewards
- AVN Mobile
- AVN Industry News
- AVN Media Network