LOS ANGELES — With a wide range of mainstream companies taking a look at the current state of the adult entertainment industry and the overall sale of sexiness in the U.S. and beyond, adult marketers are presented with an often under-utilized resource for both better understanding their customers, and bettering their offers, products and services.
These outside views of the industry’s inner workings are an indicator of pornography’s normalization — with several recent television shows shining light on the darker corners of the digital media industry and helping to educate consumers and attract new recruits by offering an unvarnished examination of porn’s challenges and opportunities, while revealing the changing dynamics of the business of bawdiness.
For example, the Fusion network took a look at the Miami porn scene in a 2015 documentary entitled “Miami Porn: Sex Work in the Sunshine State,” which highlighted the ways that a bold new breed of performers are taking control over their own destinies. They do this in part by working hard to mitigate their revenue losses resulting from a continued decline in traditional adult productions, by becoming producers and website owners themselves.
The show explored a range of topics from a local slant. From amateur to gay for pay and beyond, Fusion provided a balanced assessment of the business, including a recognition of how family-friendly the porn biz really is (complete with “jokes” of studios needing to offer day care for performer moms and dads).
One message that came out of this show is the shift in the business from merely selling porn videos to offering deep market verticals; ranging from cams to custom content, escorting and more — with recent XBIZ Award-nominee Veronica Rodriguez discussing how she keeps the outfits she buys for her models — and is then able to sell those outfits to scent-loving fans for more than she paid to produce the shoot.
The need to protect performers from discrimination, exploitation, health and other workplace concerns was also discussed, as was the problem of piracy and the impact it has had.
Another interesting slant on the sale of sexiness comes from business reporter Darren Rovell, as he takes an in-depth look at an American cultural icon for CNBC World in “Business Model: Inside the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.”
The show details the process of sifting some 150,000+ photos down to the one that is cover-worthy for this incredibly popular issue of the monthly sports magazine, which has reportedly earned more than a billion bucks for the franchise — and that is not the most current figure.
The swimsuit issue alone is said to bring in more than $7 million annually, with a pass-along readership approaching 70 million viewers worldwide — add in the licensing, video, web and other revenues from derivative products such as calendars, and it amounts to figures that dwarf the reach and revenues of even the most successful porn purveyors.
Although originally aired in 2010, the show’s insights are as revealing today as they were five years ago, and may help to inspire creatively challenged content creators on to trying bigger and better things, while providing a nice behind-the-scenes glimpse into the big leagues of shooting sexy models and challenges of pushing the erotic envelope in a mainstream context.
The upshot for adult content creators and marketers is simple: if you’re scratching your head over sagging sales or suffering from creative doldrums, step away from the computer for a bit and explore the TV listings — the key to your success may lie within.