opinion

The Content Scene

Stephen Yagielowicz
The world of adult content production and distribution is in a tremendous state of flux these days no matter how you slice it — with some long established studios and content providers closing their doors — just as new entrepreneurs attempt to take their place.

While a return to the glory days of new adult content production may never return due to a wide variety of factors including the overall economy; the glut of free porn currently available online; piracy; and continually shifting consumer preferences, the breadth, depth and overall quality of Internet porn has never been better.

That may be good news for consumers and free porn surfers in particular, but for the industry, it is not a signal for a well-deserved pat on the back, but an indication of the overall devaluing of traditional pre-recorded content — to a point where its producers are dumping it at fire sale prices. This allows webmasters to offer much higher quantities of high quality video to their paysite members — or even on free sites.

There was so much of this material made available in 2009 that even the most popular of porn stars may have a hard time finding work in 2010 — or even 2011. Indeed, it may take a major technological revolution in content presentation or consumer avoidance of the increasingly dated appearance of this material for substantial levels of new production to get back up to speed. This situation does not only affect talent, but also everyone else within the production and distribution food chain.

There are some technologically influenced bright spots in the world of adult content production and delivery, however, including a rapidly growing number of application-specific content needs, such as small-screen shooting for mobile devices; specially encoded performances that enable haptic devices; and forays into the emerging world of augmented reality. Combine these needs together and producers from small boutique shops to the largest of adult powerhouses may find a big demand for new content.

Do not dismiss the consumer appeal of augmented reality, either. At a recent trip to the grocery store, a large display of Hallmark greeting cards caught my eye. Part of the company's new augmented reality line, the cards allow recipients to log in to its website and by holding their greeting card up to their webcam for identification purposes, receive additional, enhanced content via the Internet.

This is how the next generation of consumers uses Internet content today, bridging the real and virtual worlds — does your offering stack up, both today and for tomorrow?

Another bright spot is the world of live content in its many forms. While some operators limit their thoughts on the subject to mean "webcams," live content can also be audio-based or entail custom postings to social networks, for example, as marketing and communications venues that appeal to the next-generation of surfers. I would include in this segment highly interactive environments, such as virtual reality worlds.

The bottom line: While 2010 is seeing relatively little traditional content production, the more innovative uses of content, including those that are not yet prevalent, will drive new production efforts. Amateur producers using Smartphones and other devices also play an increasing role in production, but their output tends to serve different audiences than do the more mainstream adult producers. Of course, that "different audience" still includes paying customers — something that mainstream porn audiences are lacking in, as consumers express their preference for free porn via tube sites.

Regardless of the challenges, creative erotic artists can still find lucrative markets — they just won't be falling into your lap anymore.

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