One thing I have looked at to answer this question is the Japanese porn industry. It has the same basic problems with Piracy and the internet and an additional problem in that genitals must be mosaic’ed. Yet it is still a HUGE industry, along the same lines that porn in the USA was in its best years. They still have “Stars” something that ran out here in the USA with Tera Patrick. Why?
I watched a lot of it, set aside the tentacle porn and the niche stuff that is a tiny fraction of the Japanese porn market.
One thing they do is that they are very selective about the girls looks, you don’t see boob jobs and when you do they are so good you can’t tell, they don’t go over the top with boobs that are unnaturally large, and the girls don’t have tats, they look fresh fresh, they are pretty the make up is kept well done, theres no running mascara and smeared lipstick, and they act like girls, not like sailors on shore leave.
Another is the guys, you rarely see a guys face in a sex scene, the focus is on the girl and she acts like girlfriends act during sex, she enjoys it, she maybe squirts, but she doesn’t go over the top, she maintains a feminine attitude and a feminine look. The guys are props, interchangeable and rarely recognizable.
The girls are marketed, they start out doing tease videos and work their way up the ladder of sex acts. Making a kind of star system where the fan favorites can elevate themselves to serious stardom and money, look up Maria Osawa for an example.
These are things that the US Porn market used to do but somewhere along the lines we abandoned our successful formula and never looked back, instead of relegating niche porn to its audience we turned porn into one big niche…misogyny. Porners seem to be like blackbirds on a phone wire, when one takes off all the rest follow him even to their demise.
I was looking at an old AVN Magazine, it was from October, 2002. AVN then had 400 pages, now its barely at 100, but what struck me was, the girls were a lot prettier they had nice bodies, they weren’t overweight, and the guys….well they were just props, as they should be.
Somewhere along the line American porn directors forgot all about the most important part of porn, transference, if they ever knew what it was to begin with. The average guy who was the huge majority of porn users, could no longer identify. The guys in porn weren’t like him, matter of fact they were the very guys he resented, add to that, that many of them came from gay porn and could now make extra money in straight porn because of a new drug called Viagra and the alienation became too much the porn he used as an escape was no longer an escape and likely just added to his stress. No point watching that.
Now look at The AVN Show, for years we were a part of The Consumer Electronics Show and to get in you had to actually be in the consumer electronics industry….video store owners for example. Now some people were smart enough to print a business card on their printer and score a free ticket and nobody cared about that because CES was a place to do business, store owners got free autographed posters for their stores, they met with big porn companies and set up signings and store promotions, they were wined and dined. Now the Adult Expo is no longer even held the same week as CES. CES provided a built in audience for the adult expo show, CES is the single biggest event of the year in Las Vegas, nothing else even comes close and Adult Expo is setting up as all of those people, their former audience, are getting on planes to go home.
I talked to the owner of a chain of stores here in Atlanta, he told me he used to go every year and that it was never money wasted, he told me he hasn’t been since 2008, because it has become more like Comic-Con than a place to do business. he told me it’s a fan fest and people who are trying to do business are inundated by gawkers and rude asshats feeling up the girls, he said the last straw was when he tried to get a sales person from Evil Angel and was treated like a fan instead of a store owner, he still stocks Evil Angel product but he tells me that if not for dildos, fleshlights and other novelty products he would have been out of business years ago…..back then he didn’t even stock novelty products, it was video only. He echos the sentiment that porners have alienated their biggest customers, he simply says “they dont make em like they used to”, continuing “Nobody wants to beat off to a girl who looks like she was dipped in makeup remover by the end of the scene.”
In a recent interview in Engadget AVN Founder Paul Fishbien said:
“It was a shit storm.”
He describes AVN at the time as a bloated business with too many products, too many employees and mounting debt. The combination of stress and a personal tragedy led Fishbein to sell his stake in 2010. Under new management, the show’s organizers chose to move AEE, now commonly referred to as AVN, to a date later in January, driving a wedge between porn and technology’s premier events (CES).
Fishbein says the move was a huge mistake and refers to a now diminished AVN as a “flea market.”
Sure The internet changed the game for porners and true Manwin/Mindgeek crushed an entire industry but it really isn’t all MindGeek/Manwins fault. Porners alienated their core audience who turned elsewhere (the internet) for their porn and it de-centralized the industry. now a girl in some small town in England or Australia or Kansas can become richer than Jenna Jameson ever dreamed of, she can make enough money to buy Evil Angel if she wants to. She may not be a household name because she doesnt have a publicist and the American press hasn’t yet found her but if you measure fame in dollars….she is way past what Tera Patrick ever made, or Jenna for that matter. She is filling that void left by the American porn market when they abandoned their core audience.
It’s too late to get it back, The porn audience has moved on…Just like I am.