Saturday, June 2, 2007

Pornography Puzzle

I was reading the NYTimes article on pricing and competition in the adult film industry, which reminded me of a question I came up with a few years ago and never answered. Al Franken, in his book (which I did not read) of a few years ago made the claim that the average hotel guest who orders a full-length adult movie only watches 8 minutes of the movie before turning it off. It seems to me that everyone would be better off if the hotel cut such a movie into a bunch of scenes, and charged an amount less than or equal to the amount it currently charges for a whole movie, for just one scene. Perhaps this is related to the "why can't you get a truly small coffee at Dunkin' Donuts" problem?

Today's NYTimes article is interesting in and of itself. It claims
...unlike consumers looking for music and other media, viewers of pornography do not seem to mind giving up brand-name producers and performers for anonymous ones, or a well-lighted movie set for a ratty couch at an amateur videographer’s house.
In light of this fact about demand, high-class producers of pornography are responding with "well-lighted movie sets":

“We use good-quality lighting and very good sound,” said David Joseph, president of Red Light District, a production company in Los Angeles that has made films like “Obscene Behavior.”

Mr. Joseph said his company did not waste its time, or that of the viewers, on unnecessary plot lines.

“There’s not a whole lot of story — it’s basically right to the sex, but we’re consistent with the quality,” he said, noting that the company is also careful to pick interesting backdrops. “We use different locations, rooms and couches.”

I don't know about you, but when I'm watching pornography, I try to avoid plotlines, but I do take a time out to look at the furniture, and the way the room is laid out.

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