Friday, August 07, 2009

How To Make Free Porn Pay



I like to joke that over the past few weeks, I've become the go-to guy for the three Ps: Porn, Prostitution, and Perversion.

What the heck, I guess it's better than being known as the guy who hates San Francisco.

Which is why I'm going to lend a helping hand to the porn industry by telling them how to make free porn pay.

Forbes has an article out about the difficulties that free porn sites are having with making money.*

Or more precisely, it's an article that features a ton of traditional porn studios complaining about how free porn sites keep *them* from making money.

That's the funny thing...here are the porn companies, who are usually the smartest operators around, and they're completely blowing the opportunity represented by the free porn sites.

Ironically enough, the winning model already exists, and is being used by one of the most backwards of industries--the music industry.

If you're a porn studio, and you think putting your content on a free porn site is going to lead people to click back to your paid site, you're as dumb as some of your on-screen talent. For the vast majority of porn users, porn has one single purpose. And you don't need a full-length movie to achieve that purpose.

Instead, do what the music industry has done--give away the easily pirated digital good, and sell the experience.

Live, interactive video with chat and voice integration is the killer app. You can't pirate live, especially when it comes to interactivity.

If I were a porn star (and despite the Internet rumors to the contrary, I'm not.**) I would build my business around subscriptions to live interactive video sex sessions.

For example, check out the site of porn legend Nina Hartley (NSFW, duh!). Every week, she provides a new live show, "60 Naked Minutes." It's kind of like Jay Leno, if Jay performed live sex acts on his guests.***

"Join Nina each week as she welcomes, interviews, and then f*cks the greatest lineup of adult stars on the planet."

Nina is a true master (mistress?) of branding, which may account for how she's still going strong at the age of 50. In addition to her live video shows, she also travels around the country conducting hands on sex classes.

For Nina, having pirated videos appear on free porn sites is a feature, not a bug.

For free porn sites, trying to upsell people on higher quality porn is a fool's errand. You don't need HD for the main purpose of the content. Instead, partner with and feature the porn stars themselves, and turn your pirated content into a marketing tool for the higher value interactive and in-person revenue streams.****

* A friend sent me the Forbes article. I guess that happens when you become the go-to guy for Porn, Prostitution, and Perversion.
** I was young, and I needed the money, okay? Geez.
*** Don't give NBC any ideas. Please.
**** I am available to consult with major free porn sites for a very reasonable rate. Call me.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between your idea and the tens of thousands of live-video performers who sell "live webcam sex"? There is a huge market there, sure. Which I think is quite adamantly milked for all its worth already.

I think that's not really within the same market. Paying for "live webcam sex" is hugely expensive, at least for the usual aim of watching porn. You have to pay well to get interactivity.

Where does this leave regular porn, that's the question, which I think has nothing to do with upselling people to interactive services. What do you think?

Chris said...

Live webcam sex is largely transactional at this point, rather than relational.

Porn stars who build branded live sex shows have a chance to build a loyal audience who feel they have an emotional connection to the performer, and thus have a higher willingness to pay.

As for regular (recorded) porn, the best bet is to accept that piracy is going to happen, and focus instead on selling to collectors and enthusiasts. It's not like there's huge casual market anyways, and the rise of high-speed Internet is going to crater what market there is for casual DVD purchases.

Anonymous said...

There's an "online brothel" in Prague that makes money by broadcasting live video of the "action", while the customers get in for free.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Sister_%28brothel%29

This kind of "average guy" wrinkle could also work well with your idea ..

Chris said...

I love the concept of the free online brothel. There's also a porn company in the Bay Area, Kink.com, that hosts parties for subscribers to come in and, well, come with the cast.