The Rise and Fall of Porn on the Internet

They say the porn industry is one step ahead of traditional content in the realm of tech. If that’s an indication of anything, I think traditional content has much to fear with the steady decline of porn on the web. Of course, there are many differences with regular movies but maybe some of the trends will hold true for Hollywood.

I think the increased availability of bandwidth and the popularity of torrents is what’s going to kill any form of original content. The really successful content will be the super successful blockbusters or simply the esoteric but high quality productions (not budget but quality).

Why Successful Content Generate Sales

Despite all the moaning by entertainment executives, good content manages to sell through traditional channels. I think executives forget that people are social creatures. Sure, you can wait a couple months or weeks for digital bootlegs but do you really want to wait around and miss the chance to chat up the latest production with your friends or coworkers? Sometimes that’s motivation enough to pay the high tax of watching films in a traditional theater (that rack up even more money with food and beverage sales). If you have a choice to watch something all by yourself or with a friend or loved one, most will choose the later. But still, you don’t want to waste your time much less money.

There’s also the good feeling you get of owning something you really like. Sure, you can burn your favorite album of movie onto a DVD from a torrent but a naked disk with the title written with a marker just isn’t the same.

Torrents give you a great choice. Just watch and delete whatever mediocre content you want or economize on the good stuff when you have to.

So, Where Does Porn Fit In?

Unless, you’re seriously into porn you definitely don’t want to dedicate any rack space to your porn collection. If you’re like most you probably don’t want to be caught dead with porn collection to start with. That’s where computers come in. You can have all the crazy stuff tucked away. Who would ever suspect that the 3.5GB movie file titled “Microsoft Word Tutorial – Advanced” is anything more than the title suggests?

Why would you want to buy porn? Do you really trust a porn company with your payment details? Do you really want to type in your name, address, and credit card info? How do you know this company wont sell your info to some seedy spammer based on the other side of the globe? This is probably one realm that people would easily prefer cash transactions.

Fresh Meat

I think digital distribution of bootlegs and competition from low budget amateurs will continue to erode porn revenues until the industry is dominated by both extremes of the spectrum. The fact is that people are constantly overwhelmed by any kind of content available on the web. We’ve become gluttonous connoisseurs and critics of any kind of media. Mainstream porn really has a tough mountain to climb against the small amateur shops.

I think it all comes down to “fresh meat”. The idea of surgically enhanced women that aren’t afraid to do anything in front of the camera is nothing short of grotesque. It easily degenerates into a game of who can shock you more. The industry definitely takes a toll on the women who make a career of it and watching them degenerate into nothing short of human toilets is far from sexy if you ask me.

It’s human nature to get tired of seeing the same old thing and we’re so jaded that we abhor things that seem overly artificial. This is a line that porn can easily cross into because there’s usually no compelling story or emotional investment. It’s all lust.

So on one end of the spectrum you may have stars that can hold an audience until they expire in this disposable industry and amateur or artificially amateur productions that are by definition “fresh”. Couple this with the fact that you can outsource production to Eastern European or other developing countries where beautiful women can be hired by the dozens thanks to economic disparities (this is where the lack of dialogue is an asset).

No More Mainstream

I think we’re approaching an era where there is no such thing as mainstream. Just look at the major blogs. A couple million page views or so right? I think Advil commercials still have a larger audience than a couple of them combined. Yet these blogs can make enough money to run a company or make someone rich.

We need smaller production houses for everything from music to movies. All we need is a distribution method that doesn’t suck and doesn’t overcharge (they need to make money after all) and traditional distribution will suffer even more.

After years of essentially steady increases, sales and rentals of pornographic videos were $3.62 billion in 2006, down from $4.28 billion in 2005, according to estimates by AVN, an industry trade publication. If the situation does not change, the overall $13 billion sex-related entertainment market may shrink this year, said Paul Fishbein, president of AVN Media Network, the magazine’s publisher. The industry’s online revenue is substantial but is not growing quickly enough to make up for the drop in video income.

For Pornographers, Internet’s Virtues Turn to Vices – New York Times

Categories: web