Facts that should change the world
America spends $10bn each year on porn - more than it spends on going to see Hollywood movies and th
The pornography industry is getting bigger all the time. More than 200 new adult films are produced each week, and there are more than 300,000 internet sites devoted to naked flesh.
Thirty years ago, porn was something of a niche industry - movies and magazines were made in secret, and available only to those who sought them out in specialist bookshops or cinemas. The big revolution came with the advent of the video cassette recorder. Porn drove the home video market; now it spearheads the cable TV and video-on-demand market, as well as the internet. You don't need to take your smut home in a paper bag any more; it comes to you.
In the US, some very big companies, such as AT&T and General Motors's subsidiary DirecTV, are involved in distributing porn through their cable networks. When people pay to see "premium content", the cable operator's cut may be as much as 90 per cent. Hoteliers also do well out of porn: adult movies are available in 1.5 million US hotel rooms, including almost all the chains that cater to business travellers. It is estimated that they account for roughly 80 per cent of the in-room entertainment profits.
Many are now talking about how pornography is becoming "mainstream". The industry has its own conferences, awards nights and trade papers. Porn actresses have become celebrities. Seventy per cent of adult movies are made in Los Angeles, cheek by jowl with the Hollywood machine. There isn't yet an adult movie production company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, but when Vivid (one of the largest US adult-video production companies) sold its cable TV networks to Playboy for $92m, the deal was covered in the mainstream financial papers.
Extracted from Fifty Facts That Should Change the World by Jessica Williams, published by Icon Books (£9.99)