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Porn in Your Pocket

Porn in Your Pocket

August 15, 2008
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" As technology and hopefully the political climate improves, I expect this market will blossom domestically and continue to flourish abroad, we have to be prepared for different forms of digital delivery as a production studio. "

The promise of cellphone porn has been a pipedream in the U.S. — until the iPhone came along. Usually behind the times in adopting new technology, American consumers have flocked to Apple’s mobile device like a horny teenager to a brothel offering freebies.

It’s no coincidence the iPhone is poised to be a breakthrough handset for adult content producers. When the phone launched in June 2007, many techies referred to it as form and function in one slick package.

With the ability to create a home screen icon from favorite web pages, porn on the iPhone is literally a fingertip away.

Smartphones (phones that offer advanced features and PC-like functionality) have traditionally been encumbered by the lumbering operating systems, making porn viewing a test of patience. Painfully slow data networks in the U.S also have choked mobile content distribution. But the iPhone’s full-featured Safari browser, combined with its brilliant screen, enables users to have a full-on adult video experience on their mobile handset.

Since U.S. cellphone carriers like AT&T and Verizon shun adult content, WAP sites (sites optimized for mobile browsers) have been the preferred “off deck” solution for users seeking adult content. Such sites are optimized for a handheld experience, usually stripped of feature rich graphics and video, but with the aforementioned robust Safari browser, iPhone users can enjoy a mini desktop experience in the palm of their hand.

The iPhone also presents a new workaround for business travelers. Increasingly wary of accessing porn on their company issued laptops or purchasing blue movies through the hotel’s on-demand service that would show up on the bill, business travelers are increasingly looking to the iPhone to satiate their porn fix while on the road.

Crisp Wireless, one of the major players in mobile web publishing, released a report in June that put the words “sex” and “porno” at the top of a list of search terms on mobile web browsers.

The company publishes mobile websites for the likes of Time Warner, Paramount Pictures and USA Today. They looked at the search patterns of more than 14 million mobile web users and found that those words were the eighth and ninth most searched terms during the first quarter of 2008.

Accurately described as half phone, half mobile media player, with 8 or 16 gigabytes of storage, many adult producers are on the iPhone bandwagon and have designed optimized mobile sites, created podcasts, and specially encoded trailers and video clips in MPEG-2 specifically for a streamlined downloading experience.

Companies such as Digital Playground and Pink Visual have been servicing the iPhone crowd since the device’s launch, offering custom content and innovative services to meet the needs of cutting-edge consumers.

Digital Playground, for example, auto-detects a user’s connection capability, allowing for the best quality user experience whether access is via Wi-Fi or EDGE networks; while Pink Visual launched a site specifically geared to iPhone users.

According to Kate Sylvan, marketing and PR coordinator for Pink Visual, the high quality graphics enabled by the iPhone provide a great opportunity for extending a company’s brand; allowing iPinkVisual.com to serve as a marketing venue in addition to being a site that sells content directly.

XTube.com, a site featuring user-generated content, is also developing a mobile site that targets the iPhone among other platforms.

“We offer our clips for the iPhone and for some other platforms of mobile distribution,” Matrix Content President Stephen Bugbee told XBIZ. “We also offer a mobile membership to all of our subscription clients to help with member retention. I use my iPhone regularly to showcase new commercials as well as new scenes for potential clients.”

Others, like HellHouse Media CEO Ty Gonty, sees the real breakthrough as being the delivery method the iPhone represents, not solely the device itself.

“We’ve been supporting iPod, iPhone, and mobile content since the beginning,” Gonty said. “I think the smart approach, at least for a company like ours, is to look at the delivery method as opposed to the new ‘fad’ device. Technology is changing so fast that there will always be revolutionary devices coming out, but many of them are starting to conform to specific methods of delivery, which is the real revolution in my opinion. I think the new methods of delivering content to these devices open up a ton of new opportunity for content producers of all kinds.”

Leading adult studios Elegant Angel and Evil Angel supply iPhone compatible trailers for download on their respective websites. Elegant Angel has a mobile content distribution deal with Waat Media.

“As technology and hopefully the political climate improves, I expect this market will blossom domestically and continue to flourish abroad,” said Graham Travis, Elegant Angel’s general manager. “We have to be prepared for different forms of digital delivery as a production studio, and that is why we’re very excited about our partnership with Waat Media to represent our content on wireless devices. They are experts in the field and well positioned to maximize the distribution potential of our content worldwide.”

The unveiling of new specs for the 3G iPhone on June 9 by Apple founder Steve Jobs makes the phone even more porn friendly. The swift 3G network, which approaches Wi-Fi speeds, enables users to download email attachments and access web pages more than two times faster than clunky EDGE.

“The new 3G technology is really going to propel the iPhone to new heights,” LFP President Michael Klein told XBIZ. “It’s like going from a dial-up modem to broadband. As a content provider, you want users to access the material as quickly and easily as possible; 3G does that. Anything that leads to faster delivery increases customer satisfaction.”

All adult content through U.S cellular networks is considered “off deck,” that is, accessed through the mobile web and not the carrier, due to the lack of age verification. The iPhone 3G comes with parental controls enabling parents to block explicit content and even specific URLs.

One thing is for sure: smartphone users love the mobile Internet. Fifty-eight percent of U.S. smartphone owners use the web on their phones, versus 13 percent of other mobile users, according to research firm M:Metrics. On average, smartphone owners use the web on their phones for almost five hours a month.

The sheer economics of purchasing an iPhone for hundreds of dollars lends itself to a consumer base that is willing to pay more for entertainment. With phone and data charges topping $100 each month, 75 percent of the iPhone customer base are men with above average incomes.

The standard unlimited data plan offered by AT&T for the iPhone eliminates worries converted smartphone owners had about being charged by the kilobyte to access the mobile web.

“I know that there is great revenue available from mobile distribution,” Matrix’s Bugbee said. “We have been doing well for years with international mobile licensing deals. We also own and operate MatrixHDMobile.com, an end-user site that is off-deck and takes credit card payments through the browser.”

According to a study from Nielsen Mobile, close to a third of iPhone owners watch video on the device – nearly 10 times the number that watch video on other phones.

“As a publicist, the iPhone provides me with a fantastic promotional platform for my clients,” The Star Factory’s Alexander “Monstar” Raymond told XBIZ. “Because of the iPhone’s great media capabilities, I can access photos and video clips anywhere. The Safari browser is speedy, the screen resolution is supersharp and having a phone that functions as a portable media center too has been beneficial for my business.”

Eva Angelina, a Star Factory client, was an early iPhone proponent. The star, who won a 2008 XBIZ Award for Performer of the Year, made webisodes of “Fun with Eva Angelina” compatible with the iPhone. The series previously was available only on YouTube.com and has received more than 300,000 hits online.

The gay adult industry has hopped on the iPhone bandwagon, too. COLTStudio Group rolled out COLTMobile.com in February, a download-tomobile service that offers users exclusive COLT content for $9.95 a week.

“We have been working on this for about nine months and are seeing great results as more people use their mobile devices for other than just phone calls and text messages,” COLT Online Marketing Director Sean O’Brien told XBIZ. “This has been a bit slower to take off in the U.S. but with the changes brought about recently, especially with products like the iPhone, we are seeing more customers looking to their phones for content.”

According to O’Brien, for a weekly fee, users can access photo and video content, from solo scenes to hardcore video clips.

The toy and novelty sector showcases its creativity with the iPhone’s capabilities through products such as LoveHoney’s VibraExciter Mobile Phone Sex Toy for Men, which transforms the iPhone in to a sex toy for men and their partners; while OhMiBod is now offering an iPhone-connected vibrator called the “NaughtiNano,” which vibrates to the beat of music tracks playing on the device as well as to a caller’s vocal tones.

Still, iPhone porn has its skeptics.

“For most end users, it’s still best to view the content on a screen bigger than three inches,” Anabolic Video Sales Manager Dan M said.

While that may be true, don’t tell that to the projected 40 million iPhone users in more than 60 countries by the end of next year.

Just as the adult industry has proven to be a leader in technology adoption and adaption through decades, across devices and on different platforms, the iPhone represents a bold new frontier.


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