Chris Kranky

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In the end, it’s really all about porn.

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

xratedRight now I’m looking at porn and you are? Reading about WebRTC (who said you weren’t interesting)? I should correct myself, I’m looking at the porn industry, or as they like to refer to themselves “the adult entertainment business.” It’s a big business. How big has been the subject of graduate theses, it’s hard to calculate but suffice it’s likely a couple of billion dollars a year. Adult movies are produced at the right of 1 minute of video every thirty nine minutes. Pornhub is the 35th most visited website according to compete.com and attracts 32m unique visitors (I, of course, have never been there).

Smirk you may, but the adult entertainment business has a long history in embracing emerging technology. Video streaming (storage, compression and play back), cookies, online payment processing, segmented content, chat, 3-D video, digital rights management, transmission to mobile devices, geo-location content and segmented content — all of these these technologies that we take for granted in other more traditional web sites got their first start in this seedy business segment. Porn, it would seem, has never been shy about adopting technology.

Years ago, talking to one of the investors in Divx (an early provider of video compression codecs and technology), he sheepishly admitted that the large Divx customers were indeed in the center of Van Nuys, CA HQ for all things adult.  This industry has been embattled in recent years as anyone as much of the technology is open source and anyone with an iphone and “close” friend can start their own business and often promoting it with loads of “free” content and need only skim a few % of those to become paying customers to warrant the relatively small investment. This raises the question – does WebRTC lower the barrier even further?

Thus it’s with no great wonder that I am patiently waiting to see what the adult entertainment industry take is on WebRTC. Like the rest of us, no one is happy with the existing Adobe Flash based solutions. Though they’re not likely to issue a joint press release with Google about their adoption of this technology. The biggest question is whether they see the specific browser requirement (for WebRTC) being a deterrent to general user adoption.

We often rush past this statement (me included), forcing the user to a specific browser, but if the “ready to try anything” adult business is not willing to endorse WebRTC, we may find the technology limited initially in it’s deployment to more closed user applications. I don’t want to rain on your parade (it’s my parade as well) but I am watching with great hope 🙂

Comments 1
  • Michael Graves
    Posted on

    Michael Graves Michael Graves

    Author

    Chris,

    You are absolutely correct about the significance of porn. In matters of technology they have a history of deciding many battles. The Beta vs VHS war was, at least in part, decided upon by the then much smaller adult video industry.

    The later battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD looked like it was going to go the same way when the adult industry fell inline with Toshiba in backing the cheaper to manufacture HD-DVD. Only a multi-billion dollar deal between Toshiba and Sony could turn the tide in favor of Blu-Ray. Toshiba agreed to withdraw their support for HD-DVD in exchange for Sony selling it a modern fab for a song.

    Technology providers with respect to streaming video have been buoyed in lean years by the dollars spent by the adult industry to move adult video online.

    In my past I have worked on numerous projects for major broadcast & entertainment concerns, some of which had secure master control rooms where adult channels were uplinked.

    The is no doubt that WebRTC will see many uses…including porn. Those willing to help that industry adopt the new technology will doubtless prosper.


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