Vice Squad
Monday, June 04, 2007
 
Porn Past Peak?


In Book I, Chapter 10, part 1 of The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith noted that in advanced states of society, hunting and fishing become recreations, and that people "pursue for pleasure what they once followed from necessity." As a result, it is hard for a person to make a good living as a professional hunter or fisher: "they are all very poor people who follow as a trade, what other people pursue as a pastime."

The Smithian logic seems to have been brought to bear upon the pornography industry. The New York Times on Saturday noted that in dollar terms, sales and rentals of porn movies fell some 15 percent between 2005 and 2006. The internet, which provided a great boost to the porn marketplace by easing home consumption, has progressed to the point where it has also simplified the amateur production and distribution of porn -- and many people are now pursuing porn supply as a pastime:
“People are making movies in their houses and dragging and dropping them” onto free Web sites, said Harvey Kaplan, a former maker of pornographic movies and now chief executive of GoGoBill.com, which processes payments for pornographic Web sites. “It’s killing the marketplace.”
The 'traditional' porn producers are responding, according to the Times article, both by focusing on quality and by sophisticated marketing to lure consumers. Recall also the New York Times Magazine article from a month and a half ago that suggested that niche production was another method for earning money via internet porn.

Of course, the decline of barriers to entry into the porn business might be bad for the profits of traditional professional porn suppliers, but it is good for porn consumers, who have a wide variety of free and low-cost porn products available over the web.

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