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Cable providers owning up to porn, but is Netflix the cause?

11 Aug

Well, well, well, if it isn’t porn coming out into the sunlight.

That was my thoroughly surprised reaction to seeing a recent Wall Street Journal story about how television providers are blaming lower pay-per-view revenue on the fact that fewer people are ordering porn.

According to the story, both satellite provider DirecTV and cable company Time Warner cited “lower adult buys” for shrinkage in their latest quarterly PPV revenue. People are, of course, getting their smut on the internet so they’re not buying nearly as much of it as they used to.

“There’s been a fairly steady trend over some time period now for adult to go down largely because there’s that kind of material available on the internet for free,” said Time Warner Cable’s CEO Glenn Britt on a recent conference call.

To say that TV executives talking openly about how porn affects their business would be an understatement. Porn has, of course, been a massive generator of revenue for as long as cable has been around (it’s covered in Sex, Bombs and Burgers). But for the better part of 50 years, it has also been the industry’s dirty little secret. Just like the hotel chains, who have historically also made a pile of money from porn, nobody was supposed to talk about the “goose that laid the golden egg.” My, how the times they are a-changin.’

The clue as to why TV providers are opening up about this can be found in the WSJ story. “This should be a cautionary tale for the larger content community,” one unnamed cable executive told the newspaper. “This content is devalued to our customers because of the alternative models.”

In other words: content creators better start taking steps to ensure that their shows and movies aren’t being given away too cheaply online because it will hit the cable and satellite providers, which will ultimately come back to bite the creators themselves.

That can be taken as a thoroughly veiled swipe at Netflix, which is proving to be a significant thorn in the side of the old TV guard. It’s a tune the likes of Time Warner and HBO have sung openly before, but it’s pretty incredible that porn is now being added to chorus.

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3 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2011 in netflix, sex

 

3 responses to “Cable providers owning up to porn, but is Netflix the cause?

  1. Marc Venot

    August 11, 2011 at 3:19 am

    As you show in your book the porn industry has contributed greatly to enlarge (;) the technical boundaries. Their actual revenues are down but they can rebound with a more immersive experience, probably better than the rest of the mass medias.

     
  2. Torontoworker

    August 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

    “People are of course, getting their smut, on the internet…”

    And now we know why Bell, Rogers, Shaw etc. are all up in arms over torrent use. It’s ALL about protecting their PPV operations – it has nothing to do with over use of bandwidth. If we would all just stop downloading porn and buy porn from THEM, then the world as they know it would be normal again and we would be ‘allowed’ to have as much internet as we want.

    Porn Content Producers upset: Bloody husbands and wives fooling around and uploading their sex fun onto websites for FREE? What the hell gives? Do they not understand that if it isn’t ‘pron for profit’ it can’t be good for society? 🙂

    Both the porn for profit people and the cable cabal groups don’t get the part about people have created their own sandbox’s and don’t need the old tired, well used sandbox’s. Even John Travolta has moved on from Saturday Night Fever – so should these two industries. “It’s over Johnny…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qizdy9rw-uo

     
  3. randifer

    August 11, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I seriously don’t believe the comment was directed at Netflix. In the US context, it is far more likely aimed at the free or almost free internet where you can get all the porn you want in 30 seconds or less, and the “other” content providers more likely point to bootleg movies, torrents, P2P exchange and the major thorn in the side of US studios and cable companies… Wait for it…

    REDBOX. Where movies are $1 a night on DVD, $1.50 on Blueray. And when the studios tried to stop selling them the disks for 30 days after initial release, they basically cut a deal to buy them from Walmart for less than the original studio price.

    This little startup has rewritten the rules, rent anywhere, return anywhere… I have 15+ kiosks within 4 miles of my place, and there are thousands of them throughout the US.

    Netflix is a gnat compared to Redbox and the copycats that are springing up throughout the country.

     
 
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