Monday, May 15, 2006


After being somewhat instrumental in the popularization of the VCR and online payment systems, the pornography industry is pushing forward on another new technology, letting customers download and burn their own DVDs, something mainstream Hollywood has thus far been too old-fashioned and risk-averse to try:
It's another first for adult film companies that pioneered the home video market and rushed to the Internet when Hollywood studios still saw it as a threat.

"Leave it to the porn industry once again to take the lead on this stuff," said Michael Greeson, founder of The Diffusion Group, a consumer electronics think tank in Plano, Texas.

"The rest of Hollywood stands back and watches and lets the pornography industry work out all the bugs," he said.

There are business and technology factors that make it easier for adult film companies to embrace new technology faster than traditional media.

On the business side, Hollywood makes more money offering films on DVDs than in theaters. As a result, studios are hesitant to anger large retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Blockbuster by selling DVD-ready downloads directly to consumers.

Recently, most of the big studios have started selling films over the Web, including on CinemaNow, which is partly owned by the film studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Blockbuster Inc. Consumers can burn a backup DVD, but it can only be played by a computer, not a DVD player.

The adult film industry doesn't face the same business challenges.

"We don't have to divvy up the pie," said Bill Asher, co-chairman and co-owner of Vivid Entertainment, the largest distributor of adult entertainment. "We sell in smaller stores, mainstream chains, but no one dominant component where we're going to get that phone call."

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