Although The Body Politic and Xtra are the original heart and soul of Pink Triangle Press, there are myriad other projects that exist either to pay the bills or take us into the future.
Squirt.org was launched in 2000, but it was not until it became a member-paid site that it really came into its own, blowing gold all over Pink Triangle Press.
“It is the money-maker of the operation,” says Liam O’Reilly, Squirt’s marketing manager. “It brings money from advertising and memberships to help fuel the rest of the Press’s projects.”
Which explains how Press publications are resistant to economic downturns, changing media landscapes and any other disruptions of print advertising revenues.
Squirt does a lot of things, but the secret to its success is the way it acts as a conduit through which gay men can hook up with one another for sex.
“Squirt tends to be the sure bet,” O’Reilly says. “If you come onto Squirt, you’re going to find somebody serious about hooking up wherever you may be.”
The future of Squirt?
“We’re always innovating, but I think we’re going down the road for social networking rather than simply a person-to-person site,” O’Reilly says. “We’re also developing some interesting ways to enhance personal profiles.”
When the first season of the gay travel television show Bump! aired in 2002 on what was then called PrideVision, it was among the very first of its kind.
“The whole area of gay travel was pretty new,” says Andrew Chang, co-executive producer of Bump! and Pink Triangle Press’s chief operating officer. “For us to get sponsorship was really, really hard work; there is not a lot of money in gay television.”
Fast-forward more than 110 episodes: Bump! is currently seen on television stations around the world, including OUTtv in Canada, OUTtv The Netherlands and Logo in the US.
“My own personal experience when travelling around the world was that I had to search for the things that I related to as a gay traveller,” says Chang. “We knew that taking a search like that to television would be of huge interest to people. Plus, we just wanted to show how much fun gay life can be around the world.”
Bump! has changed with the shifting media landscape. Last year, a series of applications for mobile devices was introduced, including practical tools for travellers and video clips from the TV show.
“Our whole focus has been going multimedia,” says Chang. “That’s where we’re going and that’s where we need to keep moving. Mobile is the way to go right now.”
For more information and upcoming episodes, visit bumptv.com.
Pink Triangle Press purchased long-running US journal of sexual liberation The Guide in 2006. Since then The Guide has undergone a huge transformation. In 2010 it emerged from its chrysalis a comprehensive online resource for gay and lesbian travellers, of both the actual and armchair varieties.
“Our tagline is ‘A world of gay adventure,’” says Ken Hickling, director of advertising sales for Pink Triangle Press. “There is something fabulous to see, feel and do as a gay person in just about every city in the world, and we’re going to find it and we’re going to give it to you.”
“We’re in the planning process for the next stage of a total rebuild of the website,” Hickling says. “We have more than 200 cities up and running. We have a lot of detailed information on events, places, things to do. We’re continuing in that vein and building on that theme.”
Toronto’s gay scene magazine, fab, has been in print since 1994 and was purchased by Pink Triangle Press in 2008. Although it loves its best girlfriends, fab is mostly by, for and about gay men.
“It’s an enduring brand with a long and fabulous history,” says Pink Triangle Press editorial director Matt Mills. “It’s got its own voice and engages its audience in a unique way.”
Early this year, a new and improved website, fabmagazine.com, went live to coincide with the release of fab’s annual gay sex survey. It was a great success with fab readers, and Mills says a redesigned print edition can be expected sometime over the next few months.
The newest of Xtra’s little sisters is Queeriesmag, an online magazine and community for women at queeriesmag.com.
“I wanted to develop some women’s products specifically for lesbian and queer women,” says Suzy Malik, publishing editor of Queeriesmag and advertising art director for Pink Triangle Press’s connectivity department. “I had a lot of people coming up to me asking when there was going to be a queer women’s fab.”
Malik says that though Queeriesmag soft-launched just over a year ago, “we haven’t done the official launch of the product yet.” She’s hopeful that the brand will grow to include a print component. Queeriesmag is also beginning to experiment with online video.
“Every straight Canadian has several television channels available to them for straight porn,” says HARDtv general manager Brett Drysdale. “We offer the gay community a similar service with gay adult erotica.”
HARDtv’s genesis came in 2006 through a kind of binary fission, in which OUTtv was born and PrideVision spun off as the gay-porn-all-the-time channel, soon to be rebranded as HARDtv. Pink Triangle Press was a minority shareholder in both channels; in 2010 the Press purchased a controlling share in HARDtv.
Drysdale says he’s working on a new show, a sort of Entertainment Tonight for the gay porn business. Also branded HARDtv, the show represents his effort to build a library of new programming on the channel.