TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: For Pornographers, Internet's Virtues Turn to Vices

For Pornographers, Internet's Virtues Turn to Vices

Monty Solomon (
Sat, 2 Jun 2007 13:43:11 -0400

June 2, 2007

The Internet was supposed to be a tremendous boon for the pornography
industry, creating a global market of images and videos accessible
from the privacy of a home computer. For a time it worked, with wider
distribution and social acceptance driving a steady increase in sales.

But now the established pornography business is in decline - and the
Internet is being held responsible.

The online availability of free or low-cost photos and videos has
begun to take a fierce toll on sales of X-rated DVDs. Inexpensive
digital technology has paved the way for aspiring amateur
pornographers, who are flooding the market, while everyone in the
industry is giving away more material to lure paying customers.

And unlike consumers looking for music and other media, viewers of
pornography do not seem to mind giving up brand-name producers and
performers for anonymous ones, or a well-lighted movie set for a ratty
couch at an amateur videographer's house.

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.

Older companies in the industry are responding with better production
values and more sophisticated Web offerings. But to their chagrin,
making and distributing pornography have become a lot easier.

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