Porn: the money’s shot

The pornography industry hasn’t done too badly out of the internet – until now, that is. The smut business is in trouble, according to Conde Nast’s Portfolio.com:

Three years ago, 80 percent of Vivid’s income came from DVD sales. Today, Hirsch puts that number at about 30 percent, with the rest coming from a fragmented range of sources: subscriptions to Vivid.com, pay-per-view TV, internet video-on-demand, merchandising, and mobile-phone deals. Domestic DVD sales are down 35 percent this year alone. His revenue is flat, he says, but that’s mainly because he’s been cutting costs. Within five years, he claims, DVD sales will be close to zero.

…Few industries, if any, figured out e-commerce faster than the adult-entertainment business, and online DVD sales soared as a result. But Web 2.0, the catchall term for the crush of user-driven startups that have emerged in the past few years, has left the porn industry’s biggest players scrambling to keep up. For the first time, technology is hurting Big Porn. “Everyone was excited because they thought the internet was going to affect our business in a positive way, and it’s been the opposite,” says David Joseph, the founder of Red Light District. “It’s been a little scary.”

Worth reading (and smut-free).

[Via Metafilter]

3 thoughts on “Porn: the money’s shot”

  1. Worth reading AND smut-free? Make up your mind!

    Still, it’s interesting that there are probably hundreds of millions of business people who thought the Internet would affect their business positively, only for the opposite to happen. Why would you assume that change is positive?

  2. Change is often positive, but what usually happens is that people either are complacent and try to ignore it or think they’ve adapted but have actually been quite blinkered and are taken by surprise when it all goes in a direction that they haven’t anticipated. Look at the record industry as a case study.

  3. I think you’re both right. I think maybe the adult industry did get complacent, because for years it’s been expert at exploiting whatever new technology came along – from video to webcams. But the technology has continued to change, so the broadband that made high quality (picture wise, I mean) video possible has gone on to enable bittorrent; the cheap kit that made lower budget productions possible has got so cheap that anyone can make their own content, etc. It’s quite fascinating, I think.

    Why would you assume that change is positive?

    Indeed. I think there’s an element of – change has always been good news for us, so any future changes will therefore be good for us too.

    Look at the record industry as a case study.

    Yeah, there are strong parallels between the record industry and porn (there are some really obvious jokes to be made here, but I’ll refrain). Technology destroying barriers to entry, digital making it ridiculously easy to copy and pirate their content, offline sales dwindling, artists going the DIY route, etc etc etc etc.

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