AVN recently reported that according to their numbers, new adult DVD releases (not counting compilations, box sets, and Blu-Ray releases that duplicated regular DVD titles) were down 21.3% in the first quarter of 2010 from the first quarter of 2009, and we WHACK! staphers, after grabbing our balls in terror, had to do some “real” thinking. Is this news good or bad for our beloved bang biz? What do these numbers mean for the future of our filthy fan rag? Are we doomed, along with all those leg-spreading hussies who peddle their flesh for a chance to achieve fleeting fame? Well, we’ve looked at the numbers and the reportage from AVN, and the answer seems to be a bit of both.
First of all, porn fans, don’t panic, hoof it down to your local depository of degeneracy in your Mercury, and grab up all the DVDs you can carry for fear the end times have come. It’s not that bad. Even with a 26.4% drop from last year, the month of April in 2010 still saw a whopping 741 new titles released. Even if you spent every hour of the day jerking off to a brand-new DVD full of brand-new boning sessions, you’d still never be able to watch all that as fast as it’s being released, and you’d probably die of dehydration or drown in your jizz before you realized you’d run out of time. (Unless maybe you work at the SEC—those guys are dedicated.) The first quarter of 2010, even with the 21.3% drop, still saw 2,383 new titles released, so there’s plenty of pervy material to go ‘round. Please stop hyperventilating.
That being said, though, the situation isn’t all bubbles and bunnies. One of the reasons for the slowed release schedule is—you guessed it—money. According to one of the guys AVN interviewed, lots of new studios can’t afford to produce new titles anymore, so they’ve been relegated to re-releasing material in compilations with new names, essentially repackaging old smut and trying to pass it off as new. Most consumers will never know the difference because they don’t watch enough porn to realize that Ass Busters in the Hood #74 is actually material pieced together from Ass Busters in the Hood #32, #9, and #67, but we thought we’d mention it to our randy readers because you keyboard jockeying losers might actually recognize that pop-shot where she gets her ear filled up with jizz and starts swearing before the cameraman can cut.
Anyway, yeah, things are looking kind of grim in the profit margins department for many studios. AVN reports that while lots of studios are reusing old raunch to pad their coffers, there are plenty of others that have simply stopped putting anything out, and here at WHACK! that just makes our horny hearts break. Porn studios shutting down production because of the bad economy, consumers not willing to spend as much on their smut, and internet piracy offering most of the reusable material for free, anyway? It’s a sad, sad state of affairs for serious strokers like ourselves in 2010. What’s to become of the performers now? Will they be forced to fill their aching fuck holes with the cocks of mere mortals instead of the ever-ready, rock-hard wangs of the elite few professional fuckers? And what of the cameramen, whose impeccable senses of timing and precision in angling the lens so that the splooge appears to rocket forth with unimaginable speed and power onto that ass cheek sets them light years apart from their mainstream counterparts? Will they be forced to hawk their finely honed craft to professional sports networks, filming such drivel as line drives and forward passes? And what about the fluffers? Dear god, the poor fluffers! There’s no way to turn “sucks a mean cock” into a resume-ready euphemism! What will they do? Turn tricks on the corner outside the porn store for nickels, until the porn store closes because there’s no more smut to sell? Dear god, maybe it is the end of times! 741 titles in a month could easily dwindle to 500 without anyone batting an eyelash… then 350… then 243… and then… one day… nothing.
Goddammit! We knew those dirty sons of bitches pirating pornos on the interwebz would get to us someday, and that day has arrived. Regardless of Maxxx Peter’s rant a few weeks back about how free smut is a god-given right of the American pervert and whatever other nonsense he spouted, my official WHACK! stapher stance is one of remorse for all the gratification I’ve gotten, gratis, over the years from free websites. No more! I’ll pony up the cash for my perverted pleasures from now on! Just please, please, think of the poor fluffers! And hell, if nobody pays for degenerate DVDs, after a while all the studios will have to shut down due to budget concerns, and then what will we do? Keep jerking off to the same old millions of clips we’ve seen hundreds of times before? New knob-knocking material must continue to be made, ladies and gentlemen, or we may never again know the sweet release of rubbing one out to a brand new Alexis Texas double team! Imagine it! The horror! The horror!
And really, this kind of had to happen. When online piracy first started digging into the profits of the big studios, the industry’s answer to the tidal waves of tadger-tugging material available for free online seemed to be quantity, quantity, quantity. Produce more, put more on the shelves, and provide such a wealth of material to the over-sexed consumer that he’ll virtually have to buy some. Produce so many kinds of porn that even the most seasoned of smut searchers will be able to find something on the video store shelves that he can’t find online. Despite continually dropping profits over the past several years, up until this year the numbers of new releases held pretty steady, according to AVN, as the production companies sought to flood the pirating bastards out.
Alas, that has not exactly worked. Online porn piracy is still going just as strong, although more and more paysites are popping up every day and providing quality, often performer-exclusive content for true fans and countering some of it. But most of the people I know still gasp at the concept of paying for porn—why pay when you can get anything you want for free, albeit with low production value, bad lighting, and herpes-outbreak-affected performers?
But don’t despair just yet, gentle jerk-offs: it seems that the tide has started to turn, in one very interesting and very heartening way. Here come the bunnies and butterflies, fuckers! The fact of the matter is, according to some of the buyers and distributors that AVN talked to, that it’s the big-budget, high production quality, star-studded feature films and parodies that are still raking in the cash. Fewer titles are being released because for many of the big studios, feature films are requiring more money, time, planning, crew, writing, post-production, man-hours, and music—in short, everything—to make, but they are proving that the extra work put in is well worth it. While gonzo titles are practically tailor-made for piracy, big-time feature productions with the power of studios’ finest brass behind them are harder to pick apart, harder to steal, and harder to get away with pirating. And here’s the kicker: the consumers want to see the whole movies. They’re willing to pay to see the whole movies because they’re movies and not just a bunch of POV shots by some walking dildo with a camera in his hand. They’re actual organic wholes, pieced together with lots of time, effort, and even love by the people who worked their asses off to make them, and the consumers can smell the difference. Just like Herr Schmekelstein mentioned last week, it’s in the “difference between porno as the average Joe knows, a barrage of pop-ups and NSFW links” and the “exclusive high-end porno” he is paid to write where the subject of quality comes in, and where the profit margin lies, now that anything less than instantly recognizable quality smut can be ripped off, chopped into thirty-second downloadable or streamable clips, and offered for free to any lazy jerk-off with his cock in one hand and the mouse in the other.
So, fewer titles, yes. But higher quality titles, too. Quality beating quantity? In an American market? Who knew? And in porn no less? Well slap my ass and call me Sally, the apocalypse may be on its way, after all.
…I’m running to the DVD store. Just in case. —Miss Lagsalot