I couldn't help but become a bit sad a few months ago while watching the evening news and learning that 16 Marines were killed in a roadside explosion. The fact that 16 more Marines had died for our country in Iraq for a war that has proved to be quite futile thus far was depressing enough. However, the insidious part was that the story wasn't even the top story of the evening news. What was the top story, you ask? Schoolteacher Debra Lafave had sex with her 15-year-old high school student while driving around in a car.
So why did this story lead the evening news? The Lafave story was the featured news story that night for two simple reasons: The schoolteacher was good looking, and the media, advertisers and the American public love anything having to do with a good sex scandal. Period.
I hear all the time that this Republican administration is cracking down on obscenity and is going to be the downfall of the adult industry. While I am not arguing that this industry has undergone some incredible restrictions on how we conduct our business, all under the watchful eye of Republicans, I can't help but think that the media are partly to blame for the government's mis-guidance. I wonder how many congressmen and women, senators and local politicians watch the same programming I do? I wonder if they get the majority of their information from the media, like the rest of us do these days.
Maybe I watch too much TV. I am truly addicted to news-formatted programs. I love to watch "60 Minutes," "Dateline" and "20/20." I have relationships with a lot of the producers at these shows from years of being contacted in regards to salacious stories involving the adult industry. The producers all seem to call me at certain times of the year known as "sweeps week." Sweeps, as it's commonly known, works in concert with the Nielson Ratings for television.
The Nielson Ratings involve sending out a weekly diary to TV viewers to record their viewing habits. A viewer records his or her viewing habits, generally for a week, in exchange for being advanced a nominal fee. These diaries play an especially important role during the four annual sweeps periods conducted in February, May, July and November in an attempt to measure smaller, local-market audiences in areas that are not covered by People Meter samples already. Other smaller sweeps are conducted throughout the year in the markets large enough to be measured by non-demographic meters but not large enough to be measured by the People Meter. The term "sweep" refers to how the diaries are handled by Nielsen Media. They are mailed to households and processed by starting on the East Coast and sweeping across the nation.
Sweeps favorites? Paris Hilton, of course, sex scandals, the naughty neighbor next door moonlighting in adult, the pioneering company who is saving the industry and making it easier to access porn from your phone or anywhere for that matter, and stories of ubiquitous child predators who lure their victims online.
If you paid close attention during the aforementioned months, you would have seen a ton of press relating to subjects of a sexual nature. Just recently, we went through a firestorm of news stories involving "social networking" sites like MySpace under fire for leading children into the hands of waiting pedophiles. I'll admit that I too fell victim to watching a story on "Dateline" showing older men lured to the homes of alleged children looking to hook up with them from MySpace. I found myself befuddled by the amount of people snagged in their dragnet.
I even found myself watching a rerun of the same program two nights later on MSNBC. I keep asking myself why I am so fascinated by watching these kinds of stories. Is it because I work in the online sector of the adult business? Or is it because I am a normal human being who has sympathy for innocent children and find the behavior of these cowards deplorable? I know this much: TV has pretty much broken down the final barriers, and topics covered on these shows hit home harder than ever before.
Porn's Spin On Tech
Of course, there are always the ubiquitous "porn is a pioneering $12 billion-a-year business stories," which always involve the latest technology trends in our business and usually feature Vivid Entertainment in some capacity. Great publicity firms like the one Vivid uses in New York specialize in educating the media on the latest and greatest technology and companies ingratiating themselves with mainstream companies.
Do I have any tips on how to conduct yourself should the media come calling? You bet I do. For one, please speak clearly and be articulate. Show the entire world we aren't a bunch of tattooed, greasy-haired, cigarette-smoking porn people. Get your point across, and make your answers very concise. Gratuitous plugging of your URL will never be aired, so don't go there. It will only encourage reporters and producers to make you look like a moron. Also, leave the public relations, guest appearances, bookings and the solicitation of media to the experts. Hire a real publicist who deals with adult-related material, and don't trust anyone in the media. They all lie.
I'll give you a prime example of how the media twists everything porn-related. If you have ever noticed, a woman who works in porn will always be referred to in the media as a "porn star," "adult entertainer," or a "professional call girl."
A man working in the adult business, no matter what his financial status or social class, will always be referred to as a "porn king," a "czar" or a pimp. I don't see many of us referred to as businessmen and women, and that's a real shame, but I also don't expect that to change anytime soon. This kind of nomenclature gets attention and makes people come back from stuffing their obese faces in their refrigerators in time to watch the piece. So maybe it's a little effective, but it certainly doesn't put our business in the same spotlight as big league professional sports, the Motion Picture Association of America or the video game market — and yet we bring in more revenue than all of those industries annually.
News stories on the adult business not only inform the general public, they inspire a lot of companies both in mainstream and adult to create better technologies to implement in the marketplace, and that's a good thing. I always welcome seeing a piece on the adult business that shows the cutting edge of our industry and the young visionaries who lead the way for us.
I can't even begin to tell you how many business plans I have received after one of these "packages" airs on national TV. I could wallpaper my bedroom with them. I'd do my guest room, but it's already papered in old business cards.