Friday, August 14, 2009

The Porn Business Is Sagging






Like many businesses, porn has fallen on hard times. Sales of sexy DVDs have dropped drastically, and the porn producers aren't making it up on the internet. Big porn actresses – most of whom seem to be named Savanna or Savannah – are being paid less to have more sex. Before you jokingly suggest that the government bail out smut, "Hustler's" Larry Flynt was way ahead of you. He and "Girls Gone Wild's" Joe Francis said they were going to ask Congress for $5 billion back in January. Of course, Flynt's motives were purely altruistic. He said, "With all this economic misery and people losing all that money,... it's time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly."

So far, Congress has not responded to the suggestion. In one way, that's surprising. Over and over again, in scandal after scandal, we've seen how important sex is to our Senators and Representatives. Maybe they'd vote for a porn bailout if they could use a phony name, like when they check into a motel with someone they're not supposed to be with. If they voted on it by secret ballot, it would probably pass faster than you can say, "I'm the new delivery boy. Are you home alone, Mrs. Jones?"

Considering that we get so many spam emails about porn, how could the porn industry be losing its shirt... and pants? Almost every day, I'm invited, courtesy of the internet, to watch videos of men and women doing things that I never even thought were possible. It turns out that porn is not a recession proof business. It makes sense that some fans of the genre have decided that their money should go elsewhere these days, even if the videos are shot in High Definition.

And ironically, the internet, that porn-filled swamp, is killing the professional porn industry. People can see all kinds of porn on the internet for free. Much of the sex on the net is allegedly pirated from "legitimate" porn companies. Other offerings are videos that people take of themselves or their friends and then put them on the web. I'm not sure who these people are or why they don't worry about what their grandparents – or grandchildren – will think, but there is no shortage of folks who are willing to have video sex. Even if these home videos are not of professional quality, the porn companies can't compete with those who are giving it away for free.

There's also a theory that in recent years, the American attention span has shrunk. We are used to short snippets, rather than long stories. Steven Hirsh, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment says, "On the internet, the average attention span is three to five minutes," not an hour and a half. Even though porn was never known for its compelling storylines, people don't seem to want to have any story with their porn anymore. They just want the sex scenes. In a recent article in the "New York Times," sex actress Savanna Samson commented on this development, "I used to have dialogue," the frustrated thespian bemoaned. (Or maybe she moaned).

She's not the only porn star who is hurting these days (and not from leather whips). In a recent story in the "Los Angeles Times," Savannah Stern (see? Another Savannah) said she has had to replace her Mercedes with a used Chevy Trailblazer. She got the Trailblazer from her parents. It's nice to see them being supportive of their daughter's career choice, isn't it?

So is this the end of porn? Don't bet on it. Porn has been in the vanguard of technology before. Now the sex industry is talking about putting its product on mobile devices. Great -- as if people aren't staring at their IPhones and Blackberrys enough. The theory is that mobile devices are more personal, more intimate than regular computers. People would be able to take them anywhere they want to view porn. But is there actually an audience who will pay to watch adult movies on those itsy-bitsy screens? I guess we'll finally find out if size really doesn't matter.





2 comments:

  1. Just out of curiousity, LG, exactly how do you know that these things you don't watch are impossible? Eh??

    ReplyDelete
  2. A business model is a business model is a business model. When SONY and PHILIPS unleashed DIGITAL upon the world in 1977, no one considered the RAMIFICATIONS, just the APPLICATIONS. Before you smirk at the loss of PORN business, remember the Movie Business, the TV business, The Newspaper Business, The Magazine Business, the Music Business---virtually any CONTENT that can be digitalized is now affected.

    The Problem with PORN is that it is a timeless, generic product that doesn't BRAND very good. It is the equivilant of selling DOT 3 Brake Fluid---Yes, you could buy the brand name version but why do so when it is the exact same thing!!!

    ReplyDelete

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