A good news, or slightly better news, headline in the Wall
Street Journal — “TV
Porn Doesn’t Sell Like It Used To
” — turns out to have a sting in the
tail.

From the Journal’s Technology section, the article observes
that cable and satellite television companies are losing profits because their
customers are spending less time watching porn. If you didn’t already know the
names of the companies here are some of them:

The trend is prompting TV executives to pull back the curtain on how porn
contributes to their businesses, a topic they have been loath to discuss
publicly.

On Thursday, satellite provider DirecTV
cited “lower adult buys” as a cause for weaker pay-per-view revenue
in its second quarter earnings. That followed Time
Warner Cable
Inc.’s admission last week that shrinkage in the adult
category was responsible for more than a third of a $14 million drop in
video-on-demand revenue. While only a sliver of the cable company’s $4.9
billion in revenue for the quarter, porn is one of TV providers’ most
profitable segments.

Another mainstream porn purveyor is Comcast, which has also
noted a slowdown in pay-per-view revenue lately.

Overall, sector revenues peaked at $1 billion in 2008, but fell
to $899 million last year.

Unfortunately, it seems that customers are simply moving to
free online porn. However, cable providers are not going to let go of their cash
cow that easily. An outfit called Vivid Entertainment has plans for more
competitive prices and “exclusive content, such as celebrity sex tapes.”

WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which has
cable and satellite TV assets. Presumably they don’t compete in this area.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet