Lift13, Innovation Drivers XXX: Kate Darling

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Innovation Drivers: XXX”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Kate Darling

Was terrified the first time she went to a porn industry conference. Lawyer friend: controlled by the mafia?! Wore her leather jacket to look cool… But the programme of the conf was… Billing 301, Legal 101… fear quickly dissolved into complete and utter boredom.

Porn is a business! No numbers, everyone who claims to have numbers in this industry are full of crap. But even the lowest estimates are in the range of billions of dollars.

1997: 900 adult websites, now millions.

Xvideos: 3x larger than CNN/ESPN YouPorn: 6x the bandwidth of Hulu

20-30% of all internet traffic is porn.

Fast-paced and flexible industry that we don’t have much research on, though it’s fascinating from the economics perspective. (That’s how Kate ended up studying it.)

Internet has changed a lot, and lot of the content industry and law is struggling with it, because most of law/publishing was designed at the time and for the printing press world.

Copyright.

Piracy. Get a virus from porn. Virus shows more porn. Also, people want immediate access.

2004, the apocalypse: YouTube => PornTubes. Undermining the traditional business model. Copyright laws don’t help, whack-a-mole.

Really to get people to give you settlement money if you threaten to reveal they’ve been downloading gay porn…

Content is a commodity for this industry. Even if they could eradicate piracy for their content, it wouldn’t save their business model. Lots of free porn! Hard to just sell content. OMG the internets killed pr0n!

Some caught one: whee, people sharing our stuff give us free marketing! Started giving away content as a loss leader, even paying for incoming links, and getting people to pay for convenience. Give content to create a brand for yourself. Convenience, services, experience are things people will pay for.

Services in the porn industry: subscription models still work. Convenience of not having to sift through stuff, tailored to your preferences, good quality. Mobile viewing.

An experience can’t be stolen. Interactivity can’t. You can steal the live feed, but not the interactivity. Virtual strip clubs, community building. Kink-based participatory experiences.

Industry in flux, lots of change. Really doesn’t look like a dying industry! Weaker players being weeded out, and strong players surviving.

Take-away? Copyright policy: embrace change rather than fight it. The porn industry has never been able to fight change, no support from policy-makers etc. Adapt or die.

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