Industry News

The Colonels says ” The End is coming” For Porn

Through A Glass, Darkly

By The Colonel

 

I recently came across a new book by Ken Auletta. The book is Googled: The End of the World As We Know It. Auletta examines the outsize influence Google had on the changing media landscape. He tells the story of how Google formed and crashed into traditional media businesses, from newspapers to books, movies, TV, telephones, advertising, etc. In addition, he shows why the worlds of new and old media often communicate as if residents of different planets; and there’s so much conflict of interest at work. The book discusses the positive and negative effects of the cyberspace on the old traditional media (i.e. reading news blogs instead of buying newspapers, downloading music instead of buying CDs, streaming and sharing web sites, etc.) While reading the book, I couldn’t help but thinking about what effects the Internet had on the adult industry in the past years, how the rules of the game have permanently changed, and how things will continue to evolve beyond anybody’s expectation and speculation. So I decided to write an article and discuss that further.

Let me make one thing clear before we get to the main subject: we refer to the business of making pornographic movies as the adult industry only for lack of a better word. There is no such thing as the adult industry, neither literary nor figuratively. What we have are a number of independent producers financing their movies out of their pocket and selling them in a competitive, dog eat dog, oversaturated market.  These people have no such thing as a union, they don’t gather for annual meetings, and above all, they don’t share a same interest. They’re all small business owners, each with their unique ways of financing and distributing their product and profiting from it. So as you see, the term ‘Industry’ doesn’t exactly apply to this particular business. However, as I mentioned earlier we’re using the term ‘The Adult Industry’ for lack of a better word.

Now to the main subject:  the adult industry is like a big, complex machine with countless cogs, each with a mind, agenda and will of their own: people who shoot porn scenes in the privacy of their homes with their wives/girlfriends and sell the same scene for as low as $500 cash to 10 different companies, distributors who operate in a garage and trade recycled content instead of producing anything new, girls who travel across the country,  perform in a few scenes in Los Angeles,  get paid in cash and go back home without leaving any trace of their transactions, agents who operate from their apartment kitchens with cell phones and don’t even have a bank account. Determining the true size of the adult industry is impossible, and it’s worth is anybody’s guess, even though it’s much less than the official $4 billion a year.

Ironically, this complex, giant machine is dependent on one supply only: content. Unlike the music industry, pornographers cannot perform live shows and sell merchandise. Unlike the mainstream Hollywood, pornographers cannot display their movies in theatres worldwide.  Unlike TV stations, pornographers cannot sell advertising spots. Porn is mainly dependent on content, and once the content is being devoured for free, as it does today on infinite tube and file sharing sites, producers make less or no profit from their investment; and inevitably  there comes a day when porn as a business can no longer continue. In that inevitable day in the near future, chaos will reign: there won’t be any quality scenes shot professionally starring the adult actresses. Pornography will consist of hazy, shaky, low quality short clips featuring obscure women fucking their fat, hairy husbands/boyfriends in their crumbling apartments; and the place to find porn won’t be your local store, online vendors or even VOD sites, porn will be randomly available at tube and file sharing sites, shot at no cost, presented for the hell of it. Small time amateurs, broke free lancers, cockroaches that will continue to breed and swarm the cyberspace in the  world of tomorrow. It’s not a pretty picture, but soon it will be the reality. The world is changing, times are changing, and the best is over.  The adult industry might be able to play gimmicks and borrow more time, but the end is coming. We pornographers are part of the old media, like the music industry, newspaper publications and evening news.  Chaos will devour us, but until then, we gotta do what we gotta do.

The biggest dilemma the adult industry faces today is the content delivery. The primary method of the adult content delivery is through DVD distribution; but since tube and file sharing sites were formed, it’s been getting harder everyday to persuade consumers to pay for something that is available to them for free. As I explained in previous articles, some viable solutions are changing the primary method of content delivery from DVD distribution to cable broadcast, utilizing the potentials of VOD and clip sales,  and creating additional revenue sources by broadcasting live shows, touring, etc. The business of porn has taken serious hits during the past few years, the recovery will be a long and stressful process, and the future is more grim and uncertain than ever. Pornographers must accept the facts and focus on solution rather than problem. Speaking of solution, I keep hearing people discussing how to fight online piracy by watermarking their product, omitting streaming/download links from various tube and file sharing sites, taking legal actions against such sites, etc. Personally, I’m not convinced any of that would work. The Internet is simply too big and too vast with too many tube and file sharing sites in too many cities and countries around the globe. All it takes is a basement lurking, degenerate masturbator to shred a newly released DVD to pieces and upload every scene into as many tube sites as he can with as many different titles and tags as he can. This is not something anybody can fight; this is the 21st century technology. I don’t understand how pornographers expect to overcome online piracy while the music industry and Hollywood have failed despite their weaponry in this war has been far more advanced and greater than the adult industry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to discourage anybody. I’m just being realistic and I believe those who tend to fight online piracy are genuine in their motives and efforts. However, the cold, hard truth is that online piracy will continue to decrease producer’s profit, and it can’t be stopped. Period. So today if people choose to produce adult content, they might as well accept that online piracy as an indestructible parasite is here to stay. Producing adult content in digital age is like living with a chronic disease:  survival is difficult and restricted.

At the end of the day, it comes down to each and every consumer, how they choose to use a product, and how that makes them feel about themselves. There are always people who feel compelled to pay for the product they consume, regardless of the nature of that product, and there are always people who steal it, because they can. For example, I’m a music fan, I have the option to browse file sharing sites and download what I want, when I want for free, but I don’t do that. I pay for my favorite music and support my favorite bands instead of stealing their product and contributing to their decline. Same with porn: people have the option to either buy DVDs or go to pay per view sites and pay as little as 8 cents per minute to watch/download what they want, when they want; or they can watch stolen scenes on tube sites and download the complete movies from file sharing sites. The only question is: how that doesn’t make them feel like scumbags?

Perhaps they should try to answer this question next time they prepare the bottle of lotion and the toilet paper roll to visit their favorite tube/file sharing site. It might make them think twice before clicking the mouse.

To each his own.

 

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