BOSTON -- Despite the blocking moves of individual nations and conservative groups, porn is easier to access and the cost is lower than ever on the Internet... and the industry is still profiting.
As noted by mainstream site Ecommerce Journal, the adult business generates more than $10 billion annually, making it bigger than sports entertainment -- the NFL, NBA and MLB combined. Of that amount, $2 billion is Internet-related.
It's a case of meeting consumer demand, the Journal said. More than 25 percent of search engine requests are said to be related to adult content, evidence such material truly does drive the Web.
Part of the continuing success of online adult content comes from anonymous accessibility and low cost, though is some cases there is no cost for a user other than paying for their Internet connection, because of free content on tube sites and via peer-to-peer networks and torrents. Yet porn still brings in money online to a greater extent that most other industries.
Ecommerce cites a report from Forrester Research going back a decade ago, when Internet users spent roughly $1.3 billion on Web porn. At the time that figure was 8 percent of all e-commerce. That percentage has grown markedly from year to year, even with the past year's economic downturn for all business, virtual and brick-and-mortar.
Ecommerce observes the proliferation of porn on the Internet began with users just sharing photos, bolstered by the development of File Transfer Protocols. Then came bulletin board systems and chat rooms, some charging private membership fees. With the advent of the Web boom in the '90s, the adult industry led the way and continues to do so.
As broadband developed, the industry's online presence grew further. According to an October 2000 report by New York Times, almost 20 percent of AT&T broadband customers paid to watch Web porn at an average rate of $10 per film.
It's estimated as much as 30 percent of all websites are porn sites, garnering as many as 68 million hits daily, which breaks down to 28,000 surfers a second watching porn of some kind, averaging almost 12 minutes per visit, reports Ecommerce.
With those figures in mind, it's a sure sign the adult business, even with its current economic troubles is far from over; the demand will always be present. It's been said the first porn was a caveman drawing of sex and it hasn't stopped since.