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Thread: 10 Reasons Free Porn Does Not Threaten the Adult Industry

  1. #1
    WHiKWiRE's Avatar MooPhEuS
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    Note: Some links in this story lead to adult material and are not suitable for viewing at work. All links of this nature will be noted with "NSFW" after them.

    The internet, once hailed for augmenting pornographers' profits, is now blamed for reducing them.

    An article in last weekend's New York Times
    asserts that giving the milk away for free is no longer enticing consumers to buy the cow, and that the adult industry needs to come up with a better strategy.

    The reporter notes that a $3.4 million rise in internet-related revenue from 2005 to 2006 does not balance the $6.6 million drop in DVD sales and rental revenue for the same period, according to numbers compiled by the AVN Media Network. His sources bemoan the glut of amateur content online and express the hope that consumers will soon tire of it and shell out for higher quality material.

    I'm not convinced.

    On the surface, I can see how one might conclude that too much of a free thing is bad for business. But one might also note that no industry has a god-given right to exist, whether porn or music or journalism or television, all of which feel threatened by consumers taking content into our own hands and setting it free online.

    Yet I can still give you 10 better reasons than "free porn" for why adult DVD revenue is dropping faster than internet revenue is rising. Whether that's a bad thing for "the adult industry" is open to debate.

    1. Porn is more socially acceptable than ever, yet remains oddly expensive.

    Most people under 30 seem to take for granted that they can look at porn whenever they feel like it -- and consequently aren't terribly worked up about it. It's just another item in a long list of entertainment options.

    And when we think of smut as simply another layer of entertainment rather than a shameful vice to satiate in secret, we balk at paying a premium, even for "the good stuff."

    While average-quality porn DVDs list for $20 to $25 and you can take a chance on the $10 bin at the local mom-and-pop, several of the DVDs at
    Good Vibrations (NSFW) -- which selects higher end products -- sell for $40 or more. Amazon lists Digital Playground's Pirates for $47. By contrast, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is $14.

    If you're going to spend the price of a sushi dinner on one video, you want that video to be something special.

    2. American consumers aren't limited to domestic porn.

    AVN only tracks U.S. revenue, but Americans are as free to spend our porn money internationally as we are to keep it at home. In 2006, I subscribed to the Australia-based
    For the Girls (NSFW) for a couple of months; a dear friend and neighbor of mine joined Canada-based Seska4Lovers (NSFW). That's about $300 not included in AVN's totals, and I know we aren't the only ones sending our money across the border.

    3. Sisters are doin' it for themselves.

    As adult entertainment becomes more accepted in the mainstream, more women see it as an increasingly legitimate career path, one they don't have to hide from friends and possibly not even family. Gone are the big hats and sunglasses of the early '80s -- these days, a porn star's business partners may well be her
    parents.

    And not all of these women choose to move to the San Fernando Valley and work in movie mills. They set up on their own, performing live on the internet, selling monthly memberships that include real-time shows and archives of past performances. They blog, they chat, they give sex advice, they sell their panties and custom t-shirts, and their annual revenue target is a drop in the lube bottle compared with what even a small production house needs to hit.

    Yet for consumers, the end result is the same: content that turns them on and (hopefully) gets them off.

    4. Some consumers prefer porn with relationships. Shhhh.

    Part of porn's appeal is the absence of a relationship. You have nothing invested, no work to do, no feelings to consider. You just start watching when you're ready and stop when you're done.

    Yet now that we have the opportunity to form relationships with entertainers and fans, we often do. People subscribe to independent cam-girl websites for months and years on end; traditional porn actresses interact with fans on their websites.

    You might join initially because you like her looks and her style, but you stay because you develop a relationship. And once you get used to the personal attention, a DVD sometimes seems, well, dull.

    5. Porn works well in small doses.

    Think about how we watch porn. It's a quick break in the day, an indulgence for an evening alone, a nudge in the right direction for a tired couple, a defense against loneliness, a dash of novelty and fantasy.

    The thrill of the quest for good free content works just as well as an expensive DVD for a solo evening or a hankerin' for something new. Webcam communities and 3-D worlds are less lonely than a DVD collection; cam girls offer a blend of variety and consistency for a monthly fee that's often less than the cost of one DVD.

    Meanwhile, couples have to find porn that turns both people on. They aren't going to drop $40 on just any ol' DVD and hope it works, now that they have other options.

    6. The internet makes small guys big and big guys small.

    As we become more porn-savvy, we also become more particular about what we want to see. This is great for independent, niche content producers like
    Kink.com (NSFW) and Comstock Films (NSFW) who offer something special you can't get elsewhere.

    It's not so great for large studios trying to appeal to an "average" consumer by churning out the same old boring stuff.

    7. Anonymity is so last century.

    The Times notes that the internet gave porn an enormous boost because it made it possible to access pornography anonymously.

    Ten years later, the anonymity is not nearly as important. We joke about our porn collections and feel no need to hide that we have one. (Not that we trot it out at a garden party or anything.)

    Although if you do need discretion, downloaded files trump physical media, so the anonymity argument works both ways and still results in less interest in DVDs.

    8. Porn can't always compete with sex.

    Enabling people to connect sexually across all kinds of obstacles -- time, distance, marital status -- is not conducive to maintaining a passive, force-fed consumer base for adult content. When non-pros post sexy pictures of themselves and when baby boomers discover their inner ingénues, people find all kinds of ways to have sex (cyber and otherwise) in their spare time.

    Given that we only get 24 hours each day and we have to sleep sometime, it's hard to keep up that pace and still have time to curate our DVD libraries.

    9. Free porn expanded the industry so fast, we forgot growth has to slow at some point.

    Maybe this is a stretch. I know porn predates the internet by thousands of years. And yet, without the internet, the changes listed here would not have happened.

    Certainly fewer women would be spending their mad money on adult products had the internet not broken down the barriers between us and smut. As it is, women now account for about 25 percent of adult industry revenue, says AVN editor-at-large Kathee Brewer.

    The novelty side -- toys, lube, games -- would not be growing so fast without the internet, either. You can't now claim that porn sales are threatened just because they have evened out a little bit.

    10. A 15 percent drop in revenue doesn't mean a 15 percent drop in profits.

    No one is saying whether profits are up or by how much. But as technology continues to make porn production and distribution cheaper, it's possible for profits to grow even while revenue shrinks.

    When you add up all categories of the AVN Media Network numbers, including exotic dance clubs and cable TV along with the internet and DVD segments cited in the Times, you find an overall revenue growth of 2.4 percent between 2005 and 2006.

    The internet does not seem to be hurting pornographers' pocketbooks at all.


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  2. Lounge   -   #2
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    Moved: News section.



    -bd

  3. Lounge   -   #3
    Hairbautt's Avatar *haircut
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    Coulda showed us some 'baps' there Whick.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Last edited by Alien5; Jun 6th, 2006 at
    06:36 PM..

  4. Lounge   -   #4
    brotherdoobie's Avatar Long live Hissyfit BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hairbautt View Post
    Coulda showed us some 'baps' there Whick.

    Fair point, Harrison. (that's what I was getting at) If you're going to post
    about porn; in the lounge. (make sure there's some baps or arse)



    -bd

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