Quick Index
 Adult Industry News
Search AINews Database
Type Keyword or Phrase Here
HardArt Films Pornography feminists unshackle their desires and celebrate their sexuality in the patriarchal world

Front Page
Film News
Media News
Business News
Clubs & Appearances
Law & Politics
Internet & Mobile News
Lifestyles Arts Health Charity
Letters to the Editor
Movie Spotlight Reviews
Pornstar Pages
AINews Staff
Ad Rates
PR 101: Press Release Service

Porn for GEEKS! Meet me & my friends!

Eva Angelina at Twistys

July 11, 2001 01:08pm
Recent Stories Perpetuate Myths About Adult Industry
Source: ManNet
by: Emmanuelle Richard

I know from experience how hard it can be to report on the porn industry. Take the time, for example, when noted French director Pierre Woodman threatened to "gouge" my eyes out. Early on, I trusted too many things people said while looking me right in the eye, not realizing until later that many porn professionals actually believe their own lies.

Still, I ended up having some great experiences with remarkable, complicated persons such as French actor-director Christophe Clark [http://www.ChristopheClark.com], who would typically wind down after a tough day of sex by watching Jeopardy with his wife and going to bed by 9. These memories have come to mind over the past few months, as mainstream publications have tripped over themselves to run a rash of stories contrasting the allegedly booming porn business to the deflated Internet economy. Some of the articles have been excellent, but many created or perpetuated the very myths that continue to obscure an already opaque industry.

Now that news organization like the Los Angeles Times [http://LATimes.com/porn] and MSNBC [http://MSNBC.com] have established new porn beats, and everyone from The Guardian UK [http://guardian.co.uk] to The New York Times [http://NYT.com] are analyzing how the adult industry has survived the Internet bust, I thought it might be useful to list the four most commonly repeated myths about the sex business.

Myth 1: Porn is a $10 billion industry

"The $4 billion that Americans spend on video pornography is larger than the annual revenue accrued by either the NFL, the NBA or Major League Baseball. But that's literally not the half of it: the porn business is estimated to total between $10 billion and $14 billion annually in the United States when you toss in porn networks and pay-per-view movies on cable and satellite, Internet Web sites, in-room hotel movies, phone sex, sex toys and that archaic medium of my own occasionally misspent youth, magazines." "Naked Capitalists: There's No Business Like Porn Business," The New York Times Magazine, May 20, 2001

Is the porn business really worth that much? This cover story by Times senior writer and former theater critic Frank Rich triggered a latent, mostly online debate about the real size of the industry. Cyber porn reporter Luke Ford [http://LukeFord.com] ("Another Brash Web Columnist," OJR, July 9, 1998) wrote that "Rich did exactly what many journalists had done before: trotting out tired and unchecked numbers from a 1998 Forrester Research study [http://www.Forrester.com] ... and video sales stats from AVN" [http://AVN.com]. Adult Video News (AVN), the porn industry "bible," estimated last December that Americans spent $4 billion on adult video rentals in 2000, and that number has been widely quoted ever since.

http://Forbes.com "Top of the News" columnist Dan Ackman [http://dackman.homestead.com], for one, says that number is "baseless and widely inflated." In a point-by-point deconstruction of Rich's figures on May 25, Ackman cobbled together an estimate for the whole industry (including video, pay-per-view, Internet and magazines) at between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion. "The idea that pornography is a $10 billion business is often credited to a study by Forrester Research. This figure gets repeated over and over. The only problem is that there is no such study," wrote Ackman, a lawyer-turned-journalist who had never previously covered porn. "In 1998, Forrester did publish a report on the online 'adult content' industry, which it pegged at $750 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. The $10 billion aggregate figure was unsourced and mentioned in passing." Ackman put the video segment at $500 million to $1.8 billion -- much less than AVN's $4 billion. "How Adult Video News gets this number is not clear. We asked Adult Video News' managing editor, Mike Ramone. 'I don't know the exact methodology,' he said, 'It's a pie chart.' Asked to break the figure down into sales versus rentals, a standard practice among those who cover the video industry, he said he didn't think it was available and suggested we call the editor-in-chief, who didn't return our calls."

In rushing to cover an interesting new subject, journalists have left their skepticism at the door, Ackman suggests: "Many have claimed [the porn industry] is large and profitable, especially on the Internet. Many of the claims are cut from whole cloth, but are accepted without question by the legitimate press. ... Certainly, self-interested statements by pornographers merit a second look." AVN executives lashed back May 31, defending their figures as "absolutely correct," and suggesting, "people who sit and throw stones and do absolutely no research ... should not be taken seriously." In an interview, AVN Editor Mike Ramone charged that Forbes.com ran a story a few days before Ackman's piece quoting an equity analyst as putting the size of the porn industry at $11 billion. "Ackman had no objectivity, and was out to do a smear piece on AVN in an attempt to save face after being scooped by a major competitor, The New York Times Magazine," Ramone said by e-mail. Ackman acknowledged Ramone was correct to point out Forbes.com's inconsistency. "I couldn't swear the number I produced there is right, because no one knows, but I think it's a reasonable estimate," he said in an interview. Ackman got the idea for his article after thinking the Rich piece "sounded kind of very phony," he said. When he saw Rich was citing Variety [http://Variety.com] as a source for the $10 billion number, he was even more suspicious. "I was surprised to learn that Variety reported on porn. ... I found out very quickly that they don't, and yet Frank Rich cited them as a source, which was nonsense because he knew that the number he used came from Adult Video News." The debate spilled over to eYada.com's Lovebytes [http://eYada.com] show, in which veteran actor and porn personality Bill Margold told Ackman: "In an industry predicated on screwing, you're going to get f*****. You honestly expect us to tell the truth about what we're making?" To which Ackman replied: "I expect people to lie to Frank Rich but I expect Frank Rich to exercise a little scrutiny and skepticism."

In an interview, Rich says he stands by his figures. "The genesis of my story is the realization that [porn] is a bigger business than what people tend to think," he explained. Rich said he worked on the story off and on for four months, and that his year of experience covering show business taught him to always be skeptical of sales numbers. "I did a tremendous amount of reporting on this," he says. "I used the Forrester Research figure, and there were larger figures that appeared in the Chicago Tribune [http://ChicagoTribune.com], the Economist [http://Economist.com]. I didn't talk to rival research outlets but I talked on background to a prominent research firm I can't name, and I went to companies involved in mass distribution of the products. I'm pretty comfortable with this figure."

Other journalists familiar with the industry say Ackman, in fact, nailed it pretty well. "It's the kind of piece I wanted to do," says David Whelan, an editor for American Demographics [http://www.Demographics.com], who once pursued putting together an infographic on the real size of the porn industry when he worked for Inside [http://Inside.com]. "When we realized we couldn't find reliable numbers we just canned the whole idea."

So, how big is porn? Tom Rhinelander, an analyst at Forrester Research, says he doesn't know whether the $10 billion figure misattributed to his company is true. "Since that study a few years ago, we just haven't revisited the numbers, we haven't updated it and we don't plan to from the supply side," he says. "I don't think anybody really knows," says Gerard Van der Leun, director of Penthouse [http://Penthouse.com]. "If you talk about the whole industry, from Penthouse.com to a small foot-fetish site - how you go around and make a real figure on that is beyond me. [Ackman] needs to smoke the clue-bong as much as anybody."

Gus Mastrapa, entertainment editor for Hustler, whose Hustler Video Guide competes with AVN, says he doesn't think sales are as high as the industry claims: "They're kind of following the example of Hollywood, that exaggerates budgets of films, grosses. It's called creative accounting, whatever they call it. It's exaggerations or downright lies." Even if reliable numbers were hard to come by, it would stand to reason that if porn were so lucrative, the industry would be crawling with rich people. Anecdotally, at least, that's not the case.

"They are not multi-zillionaires," said legendary 48-year-old actor Ron Jeremy [http://RonJeremy.com]. The owners of video companies like VCA [http://VCApictures.com], Leisure Time and Vivid [http://Vivid.com] might make seven figures, and a handful of Internet-porn queens might make a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, but the rest of the pack is merely comfortable, he said. "Maybe some girls own their own home, or bought condos and live off the rent money. Maybe their mortgage is over, maybe they got a nice car."

HardArt Films

Related Sites - WARNING! Graphic Content


New AINews Website

Top Stories

MWA: 05/08/19

2019 Club EXPO Breaks Record

Emori Pleezer: BDSM Princess

Expo 2019: A Star is Born

AEE 2019: Is Camming the New Porn?

2019 XRCO Awards Nominations Announced

MWA: 04/20/19

MWA: 04/12/19

AEE 2019: Ela Darling

AEE 2019: Sofie Marie

AEE 2019: Cindy Starfall on Swinging and Camming

MWA: 04/10/19

Stunning Summer Now Loves Models Talent Agent

AEE 2019: Christiana Cinn on Porn and Camming

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part Two

AEE 2019: Bree Mills, Part One

Alexis Fawx: A Lesson in Self-Awareness

MWA: 04/01/19

AEE 2019: Sofia Rose, BBW Sweetheart

AEE 2019: Taylor Stevens on Camming

AEE 2019: Kelley Cabbana and Camming

MWA: 03/29/19

AEE 2019: Cory Chase

MWA: 03/27/19

MWA: 03/25/19

AEE 2019: Ember Snow Talks Cam Girls

MWA: 03/16/19

MWA: 03/08/19

MWA: 03/01/19

Charlie Biggs RIP

AEE 2019: Vanna Bardot Update

Discloses Searches for Prostitutes

Elements ~ Reviewer Rated

Industry Veteran D. Wise Passes

Decline of Big Girl Market

AEE 2019: The Code and August Ames

AEE 2019: Nina at Thirty-five

Angel Marie at Lust

Sexual Harassment ~ Reviewer Rated

MWA 12/19/18

MWA: 12/12/18

Sarah Vandella: Pushing my Boundaries

MWA: 12/10/18

MWA: 12/08/18

Reagan Foxx: A Ton of Fun

MWA: 11/28/18

MWA: 11/18/18

Depression in the Industry

Vanna Bardot: The Girl with the Braces

Scarlett Mae: Making Sex Feel Natural

MWA: 11/08/18

HardArt's Sexual Harassment Trailer

MWA: 11/07/18

HardArt Announces Sexual Harassment

Love in the Digital Age ~ Reviewer Rated

Being a Pornstar

Sexual Harassment Trailer

HardArt Lauches Website

OneStone Hub

E11EVEN, Nova Win at ED Expo

HardArt Rejects Director Sally Forth

MWA: 08/19/18

Stokely Cherry OTM

August Taylor MILF PoY Nom

Phoenix Divina Hooking

ED Expo Opening Party

Vickie Jay on VNALive

HardArt 3 Pic Deal

Iron Girls 6

Carmen Valentina NightMoves Nom

Dillion Harper at Expose

Texas, Monroe, Valentien to SEXPO

The Puppeteer

Urban X Voting Open

Brooklyn Chase in Madison

HardArt's Hypersexuals a Success!

TES Affiliate Conference

Jessica Johnson Hooking

MWA: 07/27/18

Vote Olive Glass, NightMoves

Attn: Club Owners, Managers, Staff, Entertainers

2018 Inked Awards

Hard Art's Hypersexual

MWA: 07/25/18

Johnson Hosts Urban X

Dee Wallace at Horrorfest

MWA: 07/19/18 - XRCO

AirBnB Discriminates Against Sara Jay

Hard Art Shoots First

MWA: 07/21/18

Holly Hendrix at Exxxotica

Karen Fisher at Exxxotica

Carmen Valentina at Exxxotica

DomCon Registration Opens

Luna Star at Exxxotica

Elvira Receives Price Award

BSF Media Welcomes Sabrina Deep

MWA: 07/18/18

Jenevieve Hexxx Site Launch

Sex Expo NY 2018

MWA: 07/16/18

MWA: 07/15/18

Bush 7

Hard Art Signs Director

Pulse Inks Hard Art

MWA: 06/28/18

New Studio: Hard Art

XRCO Changes Venue

The Roast of April O'Neil

McCullough, Rai on Inside

Morgan, Foxxx CoHo XRCO

Big Ass Rubdown ~ Reviewer Rated

MWA: 05/03/18

MWA: 04/29/18

MWA: 04/28/18

Natasha Nice Free Agent

Holly Hendrix Self Booking

CDC: Undetectable HIV

2018 XRCO Nominees


Natasha Nice Gangbang

Amateur Introductions 26

Sex Expo NY 2018

2018 XRCO Awards Announced

Anal Violation of Bonnie Grey ~ Reviewer Rated

Eros, a Short Film

Lee Signs Victoria June

Maxine X Voted #1

Czernich Releases Heavy Rubber 37

Legal Panel: Weinstein, #MeToo

Consent Checklist

Nice Girls Swallow 10

Paradise Wins Best Condom

Paradise, Astroglide StorErotica Nom

Paradise Marketing New Website

Dennis Paradise Inducted

Stories From

Lifestyles Arts Health Charity

Charlie Biggs RIP

Discloses Searches for Prostitutes

Phoenix Divina Hooking

DomCon Registration Opens

Dee Wallace at Horrorfest

Elvira Receives Price Award

CDC: Undetectable HIV

Czernich Releases Heavy Rubber 37

Happy New Year 2018

A Season for Hope

Guild Demands New HIV Testing!

Help Heal Rhiannon

Bill Margold Memorial Fund

Take Care and Care Take

Bill Margold Memorial (UPDATED)

Bill Margold Died

TTS Discount at LV Office

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

Happy Xanukkah, Merry XXXmas

Rodney Moore Covers Glen Campbell Song

DomCon New Orleans

APAG Support Group

Elizabeth Starr May Lose Breasts

Sheri's Ranch Joint Venture

CineKink Oakland 9/8

Skirt Club Party

Sex Workers Anthem

Fetish Con Party Schedule

Nadia Ali Interview

Freedom Acres Party

Porn Star by Herschel Savage

CatalystCon Sessions, Speakers

Naughty Massage

Ocean News from Lexi Love

Happy New Year 2016!

See Jack Napier

Merry XXXmas, Happy Xanukkah

Calvert Joins Gamelink

Richelle Ryan Naked Yoga

Sheri's Ranch Views Prostitutes

Candida Royalle Passes

Cleopatra Dead

Danger Builds Darth Vibrader

Vice is Nice Event

D Wise Fights for Life

Freedom Acres Anniversary Party

Girlfriends Celebrates Caitlyn Jenner

Welcome 2015!

Actress as an Artist

Merry XXXmas, Happy Xanukkah

Pushed Into the Corner

Bright Lights, Lonely Nights

Halloween Art Show

Sex Workshop Hustler San Diego

Fake Test Results

CET Free Panel Month

TTS Welcomes Bobi & Jen

Copyright © 1998 - 2018 Adult Industry News (AINews.com)
All materials constituting text, articles, press releases, stories, columns, photographs, graphics, and code on the AINews.com domain are protected by copyright, and either owned by Adult Industry News (AINews.com), or reproduced with permission from other copyright owners. It may be downloaded and printed for personal reference, but not otherwise copied, altered in any way, or transmitted to others, without the written permission of Adult Industry News (AINews.com).