July 21, 2009

Pretty soon we're talking about real money

hot-girl-or-money.jpg For years on this blog I've been crying foul over the media's bogus claim that pornography is a $10 billion a year business. Well, finally that made-up figure has fallen by the wayside. Now, we're told, porn is actually a $13 billion a year business. The new number has recently appeared most prominently in a buzzy CNBC special. In fairness, I didn't actually watch the show (too much pixilation hurts my eyes) so maybe at some point it gives a source for that figure. But I couldn't find one in the web version, or in any other report that also cites it. (Revealingly, the CNBC slideshow titled Pornographic Profits offers lots of semi-nude photos but few actual numbers and zero sources for those numbers).

So why the jump? More than likely, someone just thought, Porn used to be worth $10 billion and we kept saying that it was a growing industry, so surely now it's worth $13 billion. Which would be at least common sense (if not, you know, statistics) were it not for the fact that a centerpiece of the CNBC story is that "porn profits are under assault" and "DVD sales are down 50% from last year."

But wait! That report first aired almost a whole week ago and since then porn profits have apparently skyrocketed again. In response to advertiser criticisms that the porn show was too porny, a CNBC spokesperson defended it as "a fantastic documentary which will give CNBC viewers insight into a $15 billion industry" (emphasis mine).

That's an extra $2 billion dirty movies just earned in a matter of days! Tell me again why we can't afford universal health care?

[h/t Steven]

Posted by Daniel Radosh



Probably some of the $20 billion kiddie porn makes is finding its way into the mainstream coffers.

Universal health care means that my money is going to pay to cure their STDs. Surely they can spare some of that $15 billion on self-insurance.

Profits had drooped but the troubled porn industry was given a stimulus package. That money shot jacked up their bottom line.

BJ Services loses $32 million in third quarter


An editor once told me: "If you want to say something is not true, you should be prepared to say what IS true."

So Daniel, how much $$ DOES porn generate each year? (And, just as important, why do you care?)

PS: Beautiful post on McCourt, BTW.

Let me get this straight. People pay for porn? There's so much available for free on the internet. Or so I've heard.

I don't know if you've seen AVN's breakdown of the bazillions. Of course, when condoms are considered pornography ("novelty items"), you have to wonder what they are including in films and magazines.

I mean... this one.

@mypalmike. Ah ha, that's the source no one seems to want to reference. No doubt it would be awkward for CNBC to say, "pornography earns $13 billion a year, according to pornographers." The second page of the Forbes article linked in the post explains why AVN's numbers can't possibly be true.

@al in la. That's why blogs don't have editors! But for what it's worth, Forbes took a very rough stab at estimating the video side of the biz, which AVN pegs at $4 billion, and came up with $520 million.

Enormous, bronzed, fake breasts aside, you can extend your post to include the revenue estimates from any industry. In fact, it doesn't stop at revenue figures.

The longest running statistic I can think of is "4 out of 5 dentists recommend Dentyne for their patients who chew gum." Right, according to whom?

@MAtt. Trident, please!

Per Cecil Adams:

"The Warner-Lambert Company, makers of Trident sugarless gum, commissioned a market research firm to survey dentists in July 1976.

The research people came up with a list of 1,200 dentists who were supposed to represent a cross-section of their profession. The dentists were asked what they recommended to their gum-chewing patients--sugared gum, sugarless gum, or no gum at all.

Sugarless gum won with 85 percent. Nobody seems to remember exactly how many votes sugared gum got, but I figure there had to be at least one."

Of course, I'd want to see the data myself.

Yeah, but:

"Crest has been shown to be an effective decay-preventive dentifrice that can be of significant value when used as directed in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and regular professional care."

(Written completely from memory. The realization that shit like this is inextricably embedded in my brain and no doubt metasticizing caused me to throw away my TV years ago. Anything you hear on TV including statistics can be assumed to be a lie until proven otherwise.)

^Um, the above from me, lest there be any doubt.

Sorry, I should have looked it up.

Regardless, Trident, Dentyne, Bubblicious...It's all about sexual repression.

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