opinion

Pornographic Preferences

Stephen Yagielowicz
There's an interesting discussion currently running on XBiz' popular "Speak Your Mind!" message board, entitled Who needs Internet porn when there's satellite, digital TV and recorders for that?, which has really got me thinking about our personal pornographic preferences, and the impact of these choices on the future of our marketplace. Let's take a look at the broader picture:

XBiz community member "jasonfree" began the discussion by commenting that he had visited a friend who has satellite and digital television, a DVD recorder, and many XXX channels. This allowed them to record and edit programs, then burn DVD's of their compilations. This left jasonfree wondering if "Internet porn is useless for surfers."

There was a flurry of responses to this question, along with commentary on personal television viewing habits and other anecdotal remarks. Highlights included Board Moderator edgeprod opining that "Your average Internet porn consumer doesn't have satellite TV, a Digital Video Recorder, or perhaps even a LAN and a DVD Burner." While market penetration of these items is increasing, his observation that "a lot of the consumers have families, and don't want to jack off in the living room." was dead on.

The fact that many of our customers are actively trying to hide the fact that they ARE our customers has been discussed in the past, and in context of the "multimediazation" of Internet content, with the topic of including explicit audio on adult Web pages. It's one thing to have quality audio on a video clip, and quite another to have "Welcome to Suzy's Suck Shack" unexpectedly blare from your speakers at 1am while you're "balancing your checkbook." Try to explain that one to the wife...

edgeprod went on to comment that "...it's ridiculous to say that broadcast porn is a threat to the Internet [porn] industry." This comment really connected some dots for me, as I considered the implications of segmented and homogenous industries. Porn is porn, whether it's delivered via print, Internet, video, or via any other media. While each media has developed its own segment of the industry, perhaps a more "comprehensive" approach and viewpoint is in order – but more about that later...

xxxads summed up one of the most significant differences between Internet and Broadcast porn: "Lets face it, the Internet offers on demand content you just can't get with TV" – and therein lies the 'Net's greatest strength; the ability to "narrowcast" to niche audiences on an on-demand basis.

XBiz Hostess SeeSea echoed the sentiment: "You can not compare TV to the Internet. TV is programmed; you watch what they plan for you to watch – sure you can change channels, but it is again a pre-determined program. If you are in the mood for pregnant midget boxers you might have to wait until next Tuesday at 1am and then the kids might be up sick. The Internet is spontaneous, you can find what you want when you want it."

It was Jon Adolfsson who commented "As a producer you definitely want the whole cake; Internet, DVDs and then get on VOD in whatever way you can." I had to wholeheartedly agree with this statement, which led me back to contemplating a more comprehensive approach to producing and marketing porn: Understand what the people want, and then give it to them.

sexcam and porno-addict considered the cross-promotional possibilities of advertising pay-sites and DVD downloads via satellite programming, relegating a content delivery mechanism to an advertising venue, which might work as well either way, i.e. using Web sites to promote pay-per-view satellite programming.

At this point, I offered my two cents on the subject: "From a consumer's standpoint, I'll tell you that I would much rather watch porn on my big screen than on my laptop, and find myself working on re-purposing content we've shot for the Web to be watched on TV (galleries and videos on VHS/DVD) – making a great up-sell for my wife's 'single girl' site."

This is something that I'd like to expand upon: While larger sites would require perhaps prohibitive capitalization to repurpose their libraries, and smaller sites run into prohibitive content licensing restrictions, site's who control the production – and therefore usage rights – of their own content, especially 'hobbyist' and 'real amateur' sites, have an opportunity to leverage technology in a way that allows them to provide content in whatever medium the consumer wants.

For instance, typical live Webcam shows where the talent performs 'member requests' is as "on demand" as it gets, and presents an opportunity for content leveraging. A mini-DV video camera can record the action for later streaming as well as VHS/DVD production, and licensing to cable / satellite providers. Still photos can simultaneously be shot for gallery promotion, and members area updates. Audio can be stripped for pre-recorded phone fantasies with sound bites made into cell phone 'ring tones.' Today's hot color inkjets and quality papers can be used for an inexpensive 'in house' print publication, and there's no limit to the number of calendars, mouse pads, coffee cups and T-shirts you can offer...

As you can see, my attitude isn't one of "either, or" – it's one of "having your cake and eating it too..." Adopting the strengths of each medium while mitigating their weaknesses is the way to go, and offering consumer's as much choice as possible is the key to success. Bridging the gap between the convenience and quality of television with the on-demand and content-rich nature of the Internet is the task at hand, and until this is done, both systems will have a place in the delivery of all information – not just porn.

Have something to add? Join the discussion by following the link below. Enjoy! ~ Stephen

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