DVD sales are in free fall. Audiences are flocking to pornographic knockoffs of YouTube, especially a secretive site called YouPorn. And the amateurs are taking over. What’s happening to the adult-entertainment industry is exactly what’s happening to its Hollywood counterpart—only worse.
From there Ms. Hoffman chronicles the adult entertainment film industry’s seemingly generic (or, shall we say, mainstream) struggle with the Information Age:
As the portion of Americans with broadband connections (47 percent and growing) continues to rise, consumers are becoming increasingly addicted to the immediate gratification of Web video. But suddenly, there’s a chasm between porn consumption and porn sales. While sales of internet-based adult entertainment grew 14 percent last year, to $2.8 billion, that figure would be substantially higher if there wasn’t so much free competition, especially from the user-generated adult sites.
Much like the TV networks, movie studios, and record labels on the other side of town, porn companies are also engaged in a frantic attempt to diversify their offerings, filleting their films into smaller pieces that can be easily sold via an ever-shifting variety of digital distribution channels. From the pay-by-the-minute model on video-on-demand sites such as Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network and Hotmovies.com, to the four- to six-minute clips edited for mobile devices, the industry is looking to take the 90-minute sex videos from its old business strategy and carve them into bite-size moneymakers.
This is ‘crazy talk’ for a recession-proof business, right? It seems the AE industry’s plight for mainstream acceptance has achieved — or is coming closer to achieving — mainstream access. (Is that what they carefully wished for?) From the ‘brick & mortar‘ side of AE, and whether AE operators will admit it, limiting ports of consumer access (i.e., supply) has been the business of adult business. From the intellectual property side, it’s been assumed that only producers could afford to distribute AE videos. So, if one can both access and distribute adult entertainment from their own port, what’s to happen to producers and participants in adult entertainment? That’s been the fear of musicians and actors since the dawn of copyright. And they’re doing just fine.
The New Age might raise the quality of productions, or it might constrict the chosen distribution channels (Internet). Or it might do both.