Research Notes

Pornography’s next digital crusade could well be 3G

The adult entertainment industry has to be one of the most odd businesses in the world. It is all about one of the most natural things in the world between being born and dying yet practically no one wants to admit having any knowledge of ever having been near it and to top it all someone is spending 10’s of billions of Euros a year on it.

But when looking at what the adult entertainment industry has done for the Internet, it is not surprising that more and more people in the mobile sector are secretly hoping that adult entertainment can help push the mobile industry forward in the same way.

Looking at the Internet, adult entertainment has helped push the Internet forward in many different ways. For example, getting access to adult content has helped the growth in the number of PC’s in the home and been one of the reasons to connect those PC’s to the Net. The adult entertainment business has helped the development of compression technologies, especially in streaming software and optimising bandwidth capabilities, surfers have upgraded their PC’s with graphics and sound capabilities and of course embraced ADSL. Maybe one of the most important factors that the adult entertainment business should take some of the credit for is the fact that it has helped teach surfers how to install and use different software products like Real Video and given them a better understanding and knowledge of the capabilities of the PC and Internet. Although there are no statistics available, many peoples first buying experience on the Internet using their credit card could well have been for some adult content – making the next purchase for software, goods or other items much easier. Adult content has helped many other new technologies on their way including CD-ROMs, VCR’s, various types of cameras, and even cable television.

Unfortunately, asides from adult content, it has been very difficult to make money on the Internet and the lack of micro billing from the start has simply meant that most surfers will not pay for most of the online content they find – asides from the “need to have”.

It is simply this scenario that the mobile sector is now looking to, as mobile phones today really start having multimedia capability, with larger colour screens, video capability, larger memory on memory cards and processors on some of the smart phones that are faster than most PC’s 10 years ago.

One of the biggest differences is that mobile consumers have never had access to any free content on their mobile phone. All content costs at least the price of an SMS or phone call. Another huge difference between the Internet and the mobile sector is that the mobile operators are already billing customers and any new content can simply be billed on the consumers monthly phone bill.

Even if the adult entertainment business decides not to go with the mobile operators billing systems, for example by offering an Internet subscription you pay with your credit card that includes access from your mobile phone, the mobile operator will still earn money on the actual data traffic that user will generate when accessing content over the air.

Of course, an adult entertainment provider could even bypass that, by offering the user to download adult content directly from his PC to his mobile phone, but then the user has to be careful who for example borrows his phone – as it has resident adult content on it that discloses his or her sexual preferences – something many people would prefer to keep private. It is much more likely that mobile consumers will go for content that they access online through their mobile browser – or as streaming – when the need arises – so to speak and absolutely no pun intended!

Those who think that no one in their right mind would enjoy adult content on a mobile screen simply because of the screen size will have to think again. There is already a mobile adult entertainment business that is – all things considered – doing quite nicely on the very limited SMS platform. Also mobile services are being used to promote adult content on the Internet, to buy and pay for passwords to an Internet site and other innovative uses of the up till now very limited mobile terminal capabilities. Also adult content on a larger colour mobile screen will be just as good or better quality than what we saw in the early days of the Internet, where there was already lots of adult content (so I’m told :-).

Already today, some of the major adult entertainment players like and Playboy have signed their first mobile content agreements and are ready to go with media rich mobile content and there is absolutely no reason why there wont be a big uptake on those types of services on the mobile phone – both for the novelty factor and ehmmm. the other factor.

There are still challenges ahead including legislation issues and protecting minors from access. Also mobile operators both feel that mobile adult entertainment content is somewhat of a “no no” for their image and of course something that they don’t wont mobile customers to be conned by, like many have been with Internet “dialer-software” and fixed line telephony sex lines.

While no one actually knows exactly how much is being spent on adult content on the Internet, it is much easier to track adult content on the mobile platforms. According to Strand Consults latest reports “How to make money on mobile services” and “How to make money on mobile services” Facts & Figures, adult mobile content will grow from a total market value of 553 million Euro in Western Europe in 2003, to a very conservative estimate of 2.7 billion Euro by the end of 2005. Even though this figure could easily be much higher, 2.7 billion Euro is well over 10% of the total value of the mobile services market.

At the end of the day, the benefits from getting the adult industry to help teach consumers just one of the many new uses and possibilities the new generation of mobile phone offer – combined with the revenue opportunities – will just be to good for the mobile operators to overlook. Right now they probably cannot even afford to overlook it. Only time and genetic science will show whether there are any longer term side effects in having to use two hands to masturbate!

“How to make money on mobile services” is a comprehensive report about the development and value of all types of mobile services in 16 mobile markets in Europe from 2002 to 2005. The mobile services are split into type of service, network technology, service technology, country and each figure is also split up into the operators perspective and content providers perspective – not only giving a very clear picture country by country as to which types of services will have the most success on the different platforms and when it will happen – but also how big a share of the revenues from any given service in any country the content providers can expect.
More information “How to make Money”

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