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How the internet killed porn | Culture | The Guardian


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Talk about disruption... Wow.

Teh Internets really have changed everything:

"These questions underpin a much bigger dilemma being faced by all media: how do you sustain an industry that provides a certain standard of product – be it journalism, music, or mainstream movies, or X-rated movies – when more and more consumers are in the habit of downloading content for free?"

To me it seems pretty clear that paywalls do not work. Trying to force people to pay to see anything, or to see anything other than a very limited preview of the content (be it a news article or porn video) results in them just going without the content, or perhaps trying to steal it through p2p or malware-ridden .ru sites.

The success of iTunes and pay-per-view "on demand" services shows that people are willing to pay for online content so long as:

  1. your content is good
  2. paying money to see it right now is cheaper than spending the time to get it for free elsewhere

To me, this suggests that it's not the end of porn -- it's only the end being able to charge for low-quality porn. People will still pay money to see the latest content right here, right now from big names like Asa Akira since it means they won't have to wait for someone to rip the flash vid and post it on BitTorrent. I think many people actually want to pay for music and tv programming, but are willing to get it illegally if the price is too high, or if it's otherwise too difficult to mess with given the quality of the programming.

So companies trying to sell media should focus on making lower quantities of higher quality content, and making sure that the price is such that it's not really worth the time to screw around with other (potentially illegal) methods.

Unfortunately, as Theroux points out, there is a large number of actors looking for work:

At one of the top LA agencies for performers, LA Direct, the accountant Francine Amidor laments the "devastating" impact of piracy. "There's less work, and there's an abundance – because of the economy – of performers. There aren't enough people shooting to give everybody a day's work."

I think that what will ultimately happen is that these struggling actors will be forced out of the business, and the industry will contract until there are just a few tech-savvy companies left who employ the actresses that people are willing to pay to see (yes, people only care about the actresses in pornos -- at least in straight porn).

The model just needs to evolve to thrive in a post-Tumblr world.

Next to no one will pay to watch actors and actresses have sex in this new era.

But there are a LOT of people who would pay hourly to play videogames with actors and actresses: http://gamecrush.com/

It's just a matter of time before AirTime employs actors and actresses too, I believe: http://airtime.com/

And then there are virtual worlds and virtual realities. Those will need actors and actresses, too.

True, very few people are willing to pay for pornography post-Tumblr. If you want Playboy pics of Jessica Burciaga or Vida Guerra, you can easily find that on Tumblr for free.

But if Playboy et al. go out of business, no new (professional quality) content will get created.

GameCrush and Airtime are interesting ideas, but not exactly substitutes for porn.

Are you saying that the people's demand for porn will be satisfied by hobbyists willing to produce it for free? Or perhaps that the entire industry will eventually go bankrupt and people will be happy with whatever porn is already in existence?

It's not clear to me that the demand curve is such that no one is willing to pay for porn, at any price. To me it just seems to be a matter of price equilibrium. The industry is clearly contracting, but I think there's likely room on the web for a smaller porn industry.

People's demand for porn will for the most part be satisfied by the hobbyists. A few people will pay, but not enough to sustain much of an industry.

So the professionals will have to find other lines of work that make use of their skills.

I read this and mentally substituted "the news industry" every time they said porn.

You probably read news for the pictures. ;)

I do. In fact, back in my paycloud days, I launched an all picture news site "suppakool", like seppuku for slicing through all the news to get to what's core to you. I had a bunch of sites threaten to sue it for "using" their images--even with linkbacks. Usage wasn't much different than what Pinterest is doing now. How times have changed.

Why there is no Netflix for Porn: http://gigaom.com/video/netflix-for-porn/

That's an interesting article.

I'd never thought about the viral/social media aspect before but it makes so much sense. In a world where traditional marketing is getting less effective (and is frequently closed to pornography anyway) and online sharing is how people hear about things, being in an arena that nobody wants to talk about publically can make life really really difficult.

I also think it's quite safe to assume that the reason porn piracy has been so crippling is because it gets ignored by authorities and newsmedia in a way that would never be the case for the music industry or mainstream film industry. Everyone agrees that piracy is wrong but no one wants to be the white knight saving porn.

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