Once per month, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.
Regardless of the business, friendly (“friendly”) contests between intra-industry folks who do similar things are pretty commonplace. And in the adult business, trade publications AVN and XBIZ regularly engage one of the most well-known, ongoing competitions.
AVN (Adult Video News) covers adult business plus community/political news, whereas XBIZ is more strict B2B (business-to-business). And though I don’t personally see an excess of overlap in their work, these two are pit against one another quite regularly. Oftentimes, they even do it to themselves. Case in point…
Both AVN and XBIZ hold a yearly awards show, events that are each respective big deals. Consequently, being chosen as either event’s annual host is also a big deal. AVN announced the hosts of their 2015 awards event last month – Alexis Texas (pictured) and Tommy Pistol. Savvy readers might immediately notice the rare inclusion of a guy, as it’s been over twenty years since any kinda dude hosted the “Oscars of Porn.” And in my opinion, excellent actor/super funny super ham Tommy Pistol is a great choice (as is Alexis). Then, on June 9, in a move that showcased both their markedly different trade approaches and the not-so-subtle tit for tat that occurs regularly, XBIZ announced boy-next-door sex juggernaut James Deen will host their 2015 awards program.
I find these host-casting decisions interesting on multiple levels. First and foremost, I hope these choices have something to do with recognizing the appeal men performers also hold, both for members of the adult community and for consumers. Desire comes in many forms, and many people – including women – desire themselves some Tommy or James, etc. Women performers have long since been held up as *the* porno draw; however, though I feel they’ve always been there, women fans of men performers have been getting way more visible lately. Perhaps these casting decisions have something to do with recognizing that?
But I also wonder about the actual host choices themselves. Whereas AVN’s selections seem fairly transparent, XBIZ’s decision to go with the uber-popular yet notoriously anxious about public speaking James Deen seems… interesting. Maybe this is an(other) effort to break out of the total B2B mode with enhanced crossover appeal? Regardless, both shows promise to be very interesting.
And speaking of interesting, let’s talk about the #PayForYourPorn campaign!
Even though news entities and “experts” continue to cite that ridiculous $12 billion industry “statistic,” that ship has long since sailed (if it was ever even a reality). Just ask the adult companies that have closed in recent years and/or the performers who have left the industry due to lack of work. Oh wait…
Anyway, it’s an oft-mentioned fact that online piracy is partially-to-mostly responsible for the adult industry’s long deep fiscal nosedive. Tube sites populated with stolen content have effectively shifted the way we as a culture think about porn. Namely, via tube sites, we’ve devalued adult content such that we no longer think of it as a product we must purchase. Because why in the world would we buy something that’s so readily available for free?
The adult industry’s dealings with piracy have a fairly complex and storied history, about which I have many opinions. I’ll spare you. Instead, let’s think about the adult community’s most recent outreach campaign, one that attempts to engage fans, consumers, and moral righteousness – PayForYourPorn.org.
According to some press material, PayForYourPorn encourages fans to fight piracy and theft by seeking out paid content. Allegedly, and I agree with this, purchasing content helps make sure it’s better produced (e.g. safer, more ethical, etc) and delivered in higher quality formats. It also fosters the creation of new adult content… because if people don’t pay for their porn then how in the world will pornographers be able to make more of it?
Lots of adult performers have gotten really involved with the PayForYourPorn campaign, which I love. Wicked Pictures’ jessica drake said in a press release: “I can speak first hand about the very real effects of piracy on the entertainment industry and the economy… People don’t realize illegal downloading of copyrighted digital content results in a loss of jobs, lower wages, higher unemployment rates, and higher taxes.”
PayForYourPorn is just a little thing, but it’s also a visible thing, which makes it big. I’ve been following the campaign on Twitter at @PayForYourPorn for a few weeks now, and it’s pretty amazing to see fans tweeting about buying their favorite content with the hashtags #PayForYourPorn and #P4YP. It’s also really disconcerting to see things like this:
#payforyourporn is fighting a loosing battle. Porn is free. The internet said so.
— Typing_with_1_hand (@1_handed_typer) June 10, 2014
What do you think?
Chauntelle Tibbals is an embedded public sociologist. Her research has been published in numerous scholarly journals, and she has been quoted and cited extensively by cultural and news media outlets including CNN, Slate, and KPCC (NPR). Chauntelle has been studying the adult entertainment industry for more than ten years.