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Hard times for porn industry

October 27th, 2009
11:18 AM ET

From banking to manufacturing, virtually every sector of the economy has at some stage been adversely affected by the global downturn.

Many in the porn industry blame piracy, particularly online, for falling revenues.

Many in the porn industry blame piracy, particularly online, for falling revenues.

The adult entertainment industry was viewed by many in the industry as “bullet-proof” when it comes to recession, but this opinion has shifted over the past 12 months.

Mark Kernes, editor of Adult Video News, has been covering the world of porn for over 30 years. He says the industry in the United States was worth around $6 billion before the recession but now estimates filming on new productions is down by as much as 50 percent.

“"It’s the first time I am aware of that the industry has been affected by a downturn in the general economy,” he said.

"At its height I would say there were about 5,000 people employed in various positions, from warehouse people to executives. And perhaps another thousand performers."

But this has changed, he says, with staff being cut and performers now earning much less as budgets are slashed.

Leading porn producer Wicked Pictures has also pointed to the damage being done by piracy, with products being leaked to the Internet and viewed for free.

Do you think the adult industry can recover? Should we care? Send us your comments below.


Filed under:  General
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. alex

    I think there should be stimulus plan for porn industry.morality should not be used deny the industry the needed push.

    October 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  2. DR

    The porno industry itself is in more serious trouble than print media / newspaper companies. New videos are uploaded and viewed through sites like youporn almost as soon as they are released and like mainstream movies, even sometimes before they are released.

    The adult goods product service companies are in a good position because their products can not be "uploaded" for free. IF you are buying Astroglide, or a Fleshlight.. there is no digital replacement you need the item.

    So yes the pornography industry is about to go through a total reformation and change, but the adults good industry will continue to prosper and grow in my humble opinion.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  3. Andrew

    LOL, so the business people who run the porn companies are only making 40 million a year, not the 50 they made last year.

    So what

    October 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  4. Damian

    The porn industry is struggling more because of the availability of free products on the internet than from the downturn.

    It has always been a leader in innovation on the the internet and I expect that it will adapt and learn how to monetize the vast amounts of traffic that visit the 'free' sites.

    October 28, 2009 at 1:43 am | Reply
  5. Bill

    Washington might have to push through a stimulus in order to get things pumping again...

    October 28, 2009 at 6:36 am | Reply
  6. mac

    As soon as the economy gets back on track, so will the
    porn industry.....

    October 28, 2009 at 7:01 am | Reply
  7. PD

    "Hard times for porn industry". Clever.

    October 28, 2009 at 7:01 am | Reply
  8. Riaz Butt

    It is very good to know that the fall of porn industry as it is against the ethics and dignity of women in the society. Entire porn industry must be thrown outi of each society it is the evil spreading like fire. I am very sorry to read the comments of few individuals. Let us select the decent & pios path and respect for all human beings especially women.

    October 28, 2009 at 7:27 am | Reply
  9. Austin

    I pray it does not recover! Whiles most of us pretend it is good and acceptable, it has contributed largely to the spread of STDs.

    October 28, 2009 at 8:29 am | Reply
  10. Harry

    too bad for those sweet dolls and raptors who'll have to stand up or sit down and find themselves a decent job.

    October 28, 2009 at 10:19 am | Reply
  11. ps

    Wish there was away to get it off the net and preserve bandwidth. Make it like the old days where you had to go to the seedy part of town to your porn. That way you would have to really want it and it would solve their current problem.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  12. Dan

    Online piracy is the major cause of the economic downturn in the porn industry. For several years the industry has slowly moved away from conventional distribution of DVDs to online videos, because they remove the costs associated with media production and distribution. However, videos available online are easy to pirate.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  13. dong dao

    Haha... this article is informative and funny at the same time. I honestly care less about the porno industry, its a want product and not a need product. Japan has endless supplies digitally available for the US any way.

    October 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  14. Edward

    Gee, porn industry hurting and it is due to pirated copies ending up on the internet and/or in stores? Gee, kinda sounds like the recording industry.
    Dear porn execs, did you ever think it might be due to it might be that your movies are garbage? Naw, it can be that. They are always up for major awards. Could it be people, in this huge rescession, need to decide on whether to buy food and clothes or get your crappy DVD's? Naw, can't be that. It must be due to pirating rempant in your industry.
    Please!! If the "executives" (using that term very loosly here) every use their brains, they need to understand they must adapt or loose out. I do not mean ship things to China and India and produce crap from there. But adjust according to the market.

    October 28, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  15. Greene

    This article, like others on industries-in-the-recession, is laying the blame where it's easy – the recession, instead of taking an honest look at the fundamentals.

    The recession uncovers fundamental flaws, it does not create them. The changed fundamental here is not demand, since it is pretty obvious to anybody that demand for adult content is not recession-dependent. Rather the change is globalization - internet delivery of competing content from low-cost countries like Eastern Europe.

    For the first time in its history, the US adult industry has serious global comtepetion – the foreign product is cheaper (sometimes free), and the consumer seems to prefer it over the US product. Very similar to the auto-industry if you think about it. Recession has nothing to do with it.

    (But your pun regarding 5,000 people employed "in various positions" is quite wonderful though:-)

    October 28, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  16. Johnny

    The porn industry has the same basic problem that the US car business has. Too much cr*ppy product!

    When a business is in trouble, a SMART operator looks at the goods and services offered, the delivery systems and the clients. The reason people will settle for low quality movie downloads of ANY KIND is that the product itself is low quality to begin with, and not worth the retail price.

    Just look at what happened to the music business! Nobody is buying the CD's with one good track and 10 hunks of self-indulgent cr*p. They just download the ONE HIT on i-Tunes.

    Blaming the consumer is not only stupid, it's WRONG. Just ask the brain trust at GM.

    October 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  17. Matt

    The day the world stop using and seeing sex as a taboo activity for most social groups , and be seen as a normal activity between responsible people like tribes in the jungle or others more civilized groups, the sex market and others related businees will be useless to run. There won´t be any kidnapping of young people mostly girls in the world to make them work in those x3 movies.
    Other business who use sex as a boost or to get interest of viewers for their products won´t make lots of millions just for nothing. So if the product is good, it will be cost much less and useful anyway.

    Finally the world resources and money will be used for real needs in benefit of the whole world and nature.

    October 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  18. honesty nigeria

    i pray so hard that the porn industry should not recover from this problem. the porn industry has done more harm than good to humanity. making our girls to pose as animals, having sex with animals and all sort of forbidin thing. i pray for their downfall

    October 28, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  19. Kevin Richardson

    This article should be listed under "Crime" rather than "Business". It exploits and degrades women and children and its customers are sick males.

    October 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  20. Poorad

    "There were about 5,000 people employed in various positions"
    *giggity* =)

    October 28, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  21. bill

    Come on – how are we supposed to take this seriously?

    "Hard times for porn industry" was bad enough as a headline, but the to go on to "people employed in various positions" ........

    October 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  22. brad

    Austin,

    Huh? I wasn't aware you could get an STD from looking a pornography. I'll have to be more careful next time!

    October 28, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  23. Oh dear...

    female exploitation....

    GOOD ONE!

    It's porn....nuff sed.

    October 28, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  24. Andy

    This article was nothing more than excuse to use as much sexual innuendo as possible on CNN.com. That being said, as a professional computer geek with his mind firmly entrenched in the gutter... I love it. 😀

    October 29, 2009 at 12:32 am | Reply
  25. Nguyentam

    It's not a good industry

    October 29, 2009 at 11:23 am | Reply
  26. Pragmatic

    Some of the comments remind me of the old lady who called the police because their neighbor was naked in his apartment. When the police arrived all they saw was a man without a shirt. The old lady then told the police officers that they need to stand on a chair so they could see him properly. Historically there has ALWAYS been a market for sexual expression. To deny that is to deny that we are human beings. As far as exploiting women, there are a fair number of men in the films as well, but no one talks about them being exploited. Such B/S. The industry does provide a necessary outlet for those who choose to partake. If you don't like it, just don't look. As with other industries, guidelines need to be maintained for quality and legal compliance. I am certain this industry will bounce back when the economy picks up again.

    October 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  27. Brad

    I don`t understand how people think that women who choose to be in these pornos, who are paid for it and seek the work themselves are being expolited?? Give me a break, this is the USA and these women have rights and choices, and doing porn is THEIR OWN CHOICE. If they choose to do this, if they`re being expolited it`s by their own selves.
    Thinking they are expoited for something that they themselves choose to do is very ignorant, very self-important. Ow yah, that`s right, women can`t make decisions for themselves, thay have to ask men. hehehehe you jerks grow up already this isn`t some damn middle eastern country where women are controlled by men. In the USA women are free to make their own decisions you knucklehead idiots.

    November 1, 2009 at 11:55 am | Reply
  28. dan

    Yeah, and the taliban are bad and exploit women..

    I wonder what they think about porn and how we treat women.

    November 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  29. Jecho

    Business is Business ... this should not be gauged to our moral standards. If porn industry have contributed a lot to a certain country's recovery, this must also be given importance eg: stimulus package.

    It's just a matter of regulation to avoid any morality issues and exploitation rallies so to speak....

    November 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  30. ScottP

    Our ancestral leaders understood the great detriment to mankind and the world in which he lives of those things which distract man from living an introspective, purposeful life. Of course we care about the issues of purity, sanctity, and purpose of our live – issues that we are confronted with every day. This is no different. The question need not be "do we care about this industry," but rather do we care about ourselves? Our future? Our children and our children's children?

    November 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  31. scott

    people are making their own porn via social porn sites , and its free.

    November 2, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  32. mingle

    So porn degrades women? What if you're gay, can you view gay porn only?

    November 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  33. David

    What is so bad about sex that it can not be displayed? Guns, murder and torture is shown on TV at any time, but look what Jannet Jackson went through for showing her breast. I can hardly imagine what damage her breast can do. Children are given toy guns without any concern, but if a girl would found her mother's dildo in her drawer she could loose the tennance of the kid. Sometimes I think we're not so far from the Taliban.

    November 4, 2009 at 7:06 am | Reply
  34. Tomade

    My sincere and earnest desire is that not only should this industry NEVER recover but that all its sponsors, participants and consumers should have an encounter with JESUS Christ. This is an industry that has perverted to a very large extent how men view women and vice versa. Not only that, it has also caused couples to have unrealistic expectations of each other in this regard. This is, to a large extent, what makes many men and women to keep going from one partner to the other and yes Brad, that is one of the major ways STDs spread.
    It is being progressively shown that the mind is the most erogenous zone and a proper and wholesome view of sex ensures that the individual will get maximum enjoyment from it.
    However, like Andy said, I sincerely hope that CNN.com is not also gradually slipping into the league of news sites that are beginning to see sex as another way to drive people to their site.
    Pornography should be seen for the exceeding great evil that it is and that it is doing to our generations and that just coming up.

    November 4, 2009 at 7:38 am | Reply
  35. B-rye

    Are you serious Tomade and Austin?! You really get STD's from porn? Can you show me some numbers on that one? Get off the bible and get with the reality of the dollar. Wait, I'm still stuck on the how you get STD's from porn!! Wow, perhaps you need to revisit a high school science class. Wandering around outside in a rain storm doesn't give you a cold. Germs give you a cold!! Sitting in your room alone with porn doesn' give you a STD!! Back to the reality of the dollar, where there is a need, there is a dollar. Like it or not. In some form or another, it's been around as long as a person has held a dollar (bead, yen, euro, dinar, etc, etc...) in their hand and another person wanted that dollar (bead, yen, euro, dinar, etc, etc).

    November 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  36. jennie

    May porn die a deserved death!

    November 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  37. Moreno

    Good news!!
    May the industry die & never resurrect. Very evil!

    November 5, 2009 at 9:41 am | Reply
  38. Pragmatic

    My God, do any of you bible thumpers read your own drivel? Better yet, do you even read your own bible? I seem to recall that Jesus consorted with prostitutes, harlots, and the dregs of society at the time. He didn't pass judgment on them, which makes me wonder why you do, and what is your REAL motivation? If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it. Change your channel to The Brady Bunch or Little House on the Prairie, and leave the real world to those who can handle it.

    November 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  39. Michael Nettrour

    We don't have to pass judgement, God did. He consorted with them to warn them. He wants to save everyone, because he loves them. But because he is a just God, he will also condemn those who won't repent. God sends no one to hell, we send ourselves by refusing the gift of his son Jesus Christ. If you believe in heaven, you have to believe in hell. Hot water then there is cold water; night, day; male, female.... The real world, surely you jest. Pornography is an escape for those who cannot live in the real world. Real men don't need pornography to appreciate women, or to become sexually aroused, the wives they love do it for them.

    November 5, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  40. Barnarby

    I blame the business people in the porn industry for failing to innovate their business model in a rapidly changing market. Piracy is just a convenient scapegoat.

    November 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  41. Can Crusher 

    me my sister love to watch online videos specially youtube videos;.,

    October 20, 2010 at 9:15 am | Reply
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    January 9, 2013 at 4:27 am | Reply
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