October 30, 2006

The Late Great Porn Industry

If you work in the biz and you didn’t notice that 2006 sucked in ways that I’ve certainly not seen in the years I’ve been working in this industry, you’re either in denial (no, I don’t mean you’re swimming or drowning in a river in Egypt) or you’re not paying attention.

I’m not trying to sound like a doom-and-gloom-sayer but, personally, I think 2006 will be remembered as the year the traditional porn industry went South for many. At least, in terms of the way business has been done since I fist enlisted in porn’s army. With something like 13,000 releases during the year, as opposed to half that ten years ago and one-tenth of that 20 years ago, the glut of product has put wholesale prices in the toilet and collecting that money has, for many porntrepeneurs, been slow and difficult. Also, there was no bright side in foreign sales.

So where’s the business going? Futher into the toilet? For some, I’d say yes. For others, I don’t know. For a few, porn will remain a rewarding, money-making enterprise.

When I first began writing about this summer’s unprecedented production slow-down, some people claimed I was wrong. I didn’t think I was wrong then and I still don’t think I was wrong. The hoped-for return to normal production schedules hasn’t yet happened and I don’t think it will. Not after hearing what I’m hearing from people who attended the Berlin show.

“Why shoot?” a company owner was asked in Berlin. “You have a library of hundreds of titles. You can make more money not shooting and exploiting that content in new ways.” In other words, DVD revenues aren’t just stagnant, they’re on their deathbeds.

Think about it. The content in one movie can be cut into many, many 30 second clips and those clips can make some decent money licensed to the newest delivery technologies… you know, like mobil technologies. Now multiply that by hundreds of movies. Indeed, why shoot? Especially if you don’t have something really special going on with your productions or in your sales and marketing arsenal.

I read somewhere that AVN is predicting a shake-out in the industry. I think that shake-out is well underway. The days of simply putting shit on a DVD with some half-decent artwork on the outside of the packaging are over or soon will be. Ponrtrepeneurs are going to have to become cagier, more imaginative and technology-savvy, if they hope to survive. If the trend of less available cash in the production pool continues, it will eventually translate into lower performer rates and fewer quality performers coming into the business. Quality products with an eye towards the latest technologies will  be the most important part of a successful business plan. Yeah, sex sells and it always will sell. But it’s become harder to sell because so many are selling it. I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t predict the future but my gut feel is that changes are a’comin! Big changes! And it will come in negative ways for more than a few.

Posted by jimmyD under It's all the same crap. |

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