Wired Takes Note of Porn Downturn

Tod Hunter
LOS ANGELES — The downturn in the adult business discussed by Variety Editor-In-Chief Peter Bart in April is the focus of an article on the Wired magazine website.

"In good times and in bad, sin sells; booze, tobacco and sex have all weathered countless economic storms over the centuries," the article said. "This recession is a little different, though. It's been extremely challenging for adult filmmakers, who are not only wrestling with anemic consumer spending, they're also competing with a nearly infinite supply of free, amateur videos from countless user-generated sites, not to mention a glut of traditional inventory."

The Wired writer spoke to Wicked Pictures president Steve Orenstein, who has not cut back on Wicked's production schedule, although the company is cutting expenses.

"We haven't laid anyone off or cut any salaries, but we're trying to be smarter — cut the things we probably should have cut 10 years ago," Orenstein told Wired.

Adult Video News founder Paul Fishbein told the writer, "At the retail level, all the store owners I've talked to say their rental sales are off 10 percent to 15 percent."

By contrast, SugarDVD vice president of business development Tony Medrano said business is growing.

"We're finding consumers don't want to pay $30 or $40 apiece for DVDs when they can subscribe and get DVDs in the mail," Medrano said.

The story also pointed out that SugarDVD started streaming video a year before mainstream DVD rental company Netflix did, and also offers a pay-per-minute service.

"We constantly have to innovate," Medrano said. "We need to get out in front of consumer demand."

The article is available here.