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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Even the so-called countercyclical 

The Clarion Content has heard repeatedly in the midst of this nasty economic storm that certain vice industries are countercyclical. Alcohol is the most often cited example. We also hear that the lottery and gambling, in general, do well. While we haven't had time to do an extensive survey, we did run across an article in the LA Times about one big vice industry that is not doing so well, porn.

That's right, its tough times in the porn business amidst this nasty recession. Talking to the ladies at Hustler's 35th anniversary party the Times reports that fees performers are receiving per scene are down 30%. The actors and actresses are getting less because there is less competition for their services, naturally. The Times says, "Industry insiders estimate that since 2007, revenue for most adult production and distribution companies has declined 30% to 50%." They also report a sharp decline in the number of new productions.

The porn biz is getting nailed in more ways than one, its not just the economy, but the technology. There is so much free porn on the internet that who needs to pay for it? The Times says, "Sites like Pornhub, YouPorn and RedTube attract more users than TMZ and the Huffington Post." And they go on to quote the president Vivid Entertainment, he says, "The death of the DVD business has been more accelerated in the adult business than mainstream." Unfortunately for the industry, porn on the internet generates lots of traffic, but very little revenue.

The porn industry at its peak has been estimated to be as big as $13 billion annually. While on one level it will be interesting to evaluate the way it comes through these turbulent times, on another level, it is a reminder of just how wide ranging the implications of a bad economy can be. Because, no doubt, as the Times notes, performers are being pressured to more for less (as always in the porn biz, particularly women).

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