LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2009— -- It's a dirty little secret, but some say the adult entertainment industry drives mainstream adoption of the latest technologies.
The VHS format, video chatting and the digital delivery of content, some industry analysts said, were given that extra little nudge by the purveyors of sex and all its accessories.
But for all the talk, however hushed, of this relationship, cold hard evidence is hard to come by.
Still, each January, when the two industries hold simultaneous conventions in Las Vegas, even sharing some of the same space, it's nearly impossible to not look at one in light of the other.
As the buttoned-up, data-driven, often-bespectacled techies get ready to leave the Consumer Electronics Show, the leggy, corseted porn stars and their endless lines of fans kick the Adult Entertainment Expo into high gear.
Those fans of fantasy may not care too much about the winner of the Last Gadget Standing competition at the Consumer Electronics Show when the finalists of the Best Booty contest are standing on the main stage.
But rest assured that many of the men and women who create the content that porn fans digest are paying close attention to the show down the hall.
And, as the pace of technological development and media convergence picks up, porn production companies find that although the "most reliable bull market in the world" is in some ways living up to its reputation, new media is challenging long-standing business models and time-tested rules of engagement.
"A lot of the companies have been pretty optimistic," said Stephen Yagielowicz, a senior editor at Xbiz.com, a porn industry news site. "The reality is that a lot of business is hurting. All these business models are crumbling."
He said that the industry was already rocking on its heels from convergence and problems related to new media, such as piracy, free content and popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace. The recession only added one more challenge to an already mounting heap.