IPod May Need Porn to Survive

Porn Studies > Porn in the News

ECT News Network, 10/21/05 - "The degree to which the adult industry adopts iPod or PSP content is going to be an important factor in how the market grows for mobile video," Yankee Group senior analyst Mike Goodman told MacNewsWorld. "The porn industry makes new markets -- entirely new markets, time and time again. When they adopt it, that market grows."

While industry analysts and consumers seemed impressed with the rollout of Apple's new, video-capable iPod and iTunes service last week, there was some skepticism over the lack of content for the device, which is limited to music videos and some major television shows.

However, it appears pornographers are ready to supply sexier content for the portable media players, and fill the void in programming the same way they rose to rule the Internet and fuel DVDs -- with smut.

Analysts observed that, while it may be inevitable that porn will make its way to iPods, as it has with Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) and more so-called "podcasting," it is too soon to tell whether dirty videos will help Apple's or other players sweep the market.

There was agreement, however, on the importance of porn for the new market.

"The degree to which the adult industry adopts iPod or PSP content is going to be an important factor in how the market grows for mobile video," Yankee Group senior analyst Mike Goodman told MacNewsWorld. "The porn industry makes new markets -- entirely new markets, time and time again. When they adopt it, that market grows."

Less than a week after Apple's official unveiling of the video iPod, considered a gamble largely because of little content and an unproven market, companies began offering adult video for the device, which can play music videos, episodes of "Desparate Housewives," "Lost," and other television and podcast programming through iTunes for about US$2 each.

At sites such as povpod.com, users are told they can "automatically download adult videos specially made for your iPod with video support."

"We film all our videos to take advantage of the portable porn experience that the iPod offers," said the site, which features explicit images after an adults-only warning.

Other sites offer similar adult video content, made possible with iPod-supported video formats H.264 and MPEG-4.

Adult content and technology have been linked before with the battle between Beta and VHS videocassettes, and, more recently, CD-ROMs and DVDs, which have been driven in large part by pornographic video.

Pornography has also blossomed on the Internet, with adult images and video readily available for download.

Anywhere video can be made available seems ripe for adult content, and such programming for the iPod or PSP is basically inevitable, Gartner research Vice President Mike McGuire told MacNewsWorld.

Jupiter Media research Vice President Michael Gartenberg told MacNewsWorld that, although adult content has helped fuel new formats in the past, it is not yet clear whether iPod porn will have a major effect on the devices.

The analyst added that it was interesting to see how soon after the video iPod unveiling that porn purveyors began their efforts for the players. And although Apple may be watching the situation to ensure its name or endorsement is not misused by iPod porn providers, there is little the technology company can do about it, Gartenberg said.

"I don't think Apple can do all that much," he said. "If a company wants to sell adult entertainment, there's not much Apple can do."

Yankee Group's Goodman said Apple and Sony may not publicly support the adult content for their devices, but they will certainly not hinder an industry that could provide huge payouts for their mobile device gambles.

"This is one of those markets that is black and white," Goodman said of mobile video. "It is either going to be very successful, or it's going to die, but it will take two to three years to figure out where it's going to go."

"Porn is going to be a very important factor, because porn makes markets," he added.

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Pornographers Aren't Rushing to Put Porn on iPod

Wired News, 10/26/05 - There's a widespread notion that pornographers eagerly jump on new technology long before it goes mainstream, but with Apple Computer's new video-playing iPod, the adult industry is largely staying away.

With a couple of exceptions, porno producers are in no hurry to provide stag movies for the iPod, thanks to fears of a public outcry and a government crackdown.

"We can't blindly walk into this," said L.R. Clinton Fayling, president of Brickhouse Mobile, a Denver company that is licensing adult material for mobile phones.

"We want to be conservative in investigating the opportunity of the iPod, to see how we can make money, what are the specifications, and what kind of safeguards are in place," he said.

When it comes to the iPod, Fayling said there are few rewards and many risks. Fayling emphasized the pitfalls of combining a device designed for younger audiences with content they are prohibited from viewing.

"There's already a public perception that we (in the industry) are preying on youth," he said. "Without safeguards you open yourself up to more scrutiny from government and parents' groups."

To avoid such scrutiny, and litigation or legislation, Fayling said the industry will likely follow three guidelines regarding porn for the iPod: Customers will be age-verified through a credit card, no content will be offered for free and the material will be copy-protected so it can't be shared.

All of those measures are being studied now, Fayling said, but he declined to speculate on when the companies Brickhouse deals with -- including Wicked Pictures and some of the biggest names in American porn -- would be ready to release product for the iPod.

In the past, the porn producers have not been so shy about embracing new technology. VCRs, DVDs and the internet were all targeted early on by the industry. But the industry's skittishness about adapting to the iPod suggests that porn may follow, rather than lead, the video iPod revolution -- despite the device's obvious suitability for watching racy content.

Regardless, some smaller companies are jumping right in.

Last week, povPod.com started offering several downloadable videos "shot from the male porn star's point of view."

And a racy but less explicit site, Suicide Girls, is offering a weekly video podcast of "sexy short-form entertainment" for the video iPod.

"We see technology as a way for our community to be early adapters," said the co-founder of SuicideGirls, who goes by the name Missy Suicide. "We are excited by this technology and we see it as revolutionary."

Porn on the go presents land mines for viewers as well as producers. Although there is no federal law prohibiting public viewing of adult content, some state and local governments have banned displays of pornographic films in automobiles.

In February, a man was arrested in Schenectady, New York, for viewing an adult movie in his vehicle. Also this year, Tennessee outlawed the display of obscene movies from a car. The City Council in Flint, Michigan, passed a measure imposing a $500 fine upon drivers who play pornographic movies in their cars.

Eugene Volokh, a University of California at Los Angeles law professor and an expert in First Amendment and cyberspace law, suggested that public viewing of porn -- even if it's accidental -- will probably not result in new federal legislation, but could bring binding legal precedent.

"With the widespread use of these devices, it will increase the number of incidents and the number of times courts will have to confront this," he said. "And these lower-court cases may work their way up to the Supreme Court."

Despite the industry's caution, self-imposed safeguards might not keep parents' groups and conservative organizations at bay indefinitely, said Tom Hymes, a spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition.

"I think it's possible these groups will advocate for laws such as filtering software like DRM (digital rights management) tools on the actual device," Hymes said. "That could act like a V-chip for the iPod."

Apple did not respond to requests for information about parental controls on the video iPod.

According to Free Speech Coalition chairman Jeffrey Douglas, the challenges the video iPod presents are the same that have been faced by the adult film industry for years.

"The real problem is, there is a small group of people who believe that any sexually oriented material is an offense to God, and they have a great sway with Congress, which is already hostile to the material," he said. "Unfortunately, citizens who like to watch people have sex -- and there are many more of them -- do not flood city hall and say, 'I don't want to make it harder to access that material.'"

Volokh said it will be interesting to see who opposes porn on the iPod if a protest eventually crystallizes. He suggested they may make stranger bedfellows than the usual anti-porn crusaders of the past.

"You may see different groups opposing this, such as ordinary, nonreligious groups who are afraid of confronting it in a public place," Volokh said. "Or feminists may oppose porn on the iPod because it may constitute a hostile public environment for women. We just don't know yet."

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Porn on the Pod

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