According to a recent piece in the LA Times, the porn business is in all but free-fall. Apparently this decline in paid-for porn isn’t just down to the recession, it’s due in large part to the massive increase in free online content. As the Times says: “insiders estimate that revenue at most adult entertainment production and distribution companies has fallen 30% to 50% over the past few years.”

If this is true, I know I for one won’t be shedding any tears over it, and I doubt many readers of this blog will be either.

But anyway, in light of these figures Brian Donohue of Ledger Live, the video webcast of the New-Jersey based Star-Ledger newspaper, decided to do some investigating. So he went along to the Exxxotica Convention in Edison, and for reasons known only to himself decided to see if he could draw any parallels between what’s happening to the porn industry, and what’s happening to newspapers. Yeah okay, I can see at a push how he makes the connection, what with both industries facing a threat from free online competitors, but to be honest I think any analogy between the two is pretty weak and that Donohue was just after an excuse to go to the convention.

Here’s the video webcast. If you watch it through to the end you’ll see why I thought this one was worth drawing attention to:

Did you see that? That virtual smack in the face Donohue gets at 5 minutes 40?

At the beginning of the video Donohue goes around acting like a kid in a sweetshop. He’s surrounded by half-naked women; it’s his Xmas and birthday all rolled into one. It’s all pretty lighthearted, and then, at around 4.5 minutes into the film, he gets talking to Shelley Lubben of the Pink Cross Foundation, and suddenly the subject matter’s not quite so funny anymore. In fact grim is the word he uses to describe it.

It’s interesting how people’s attitudes suddenly change when they’re confronted by the reality of what goes on in the porn industry. Instead of the usual sanitised crap the industry itself tries to present to the world, and that we can see in this video with all the smiley clean-cut blokes trying to come off as respectable businessmen, Donohue comes face to face with an industry insider who’s prepared to tell the truth about what it’s all about. And it’s about shitty crappy parents trying to push their daughters into porn so they can make some money off their backs; it’s about girls and women being increasingly expected to do more and more extreme acts in return for less and less money; it’s about, as Shelley says, girls and women being expected to carry out acts with up to 75 men at a time.

It’s no wonder Donohue felt the need to go and splash cold water on his face. Grim doesn’t even begin to describe it.