Changes in the Porn Industry – Temporary or Permanent?

The health pandemic brought on by the COVID-19 virus has changed the business landscape and the porn industry is no exception. This pandemic is affecting not just the amount and type of porn being produced, but also how much porn people are consuming and what they're searching for on major sites.

The stress, isolation, and boredom of lockdown life have prompted huge spikes in overall porn site traffic in recent months, with viewership up by at least 20 percent at some points this spring over the same time periods last year. As far as for adult Snapchat and other content channels the number of fans willing to pay for access has also increased, and pornstars are feeling the benefits in their wallets.

What has changed the most?

Well, the numbers for starters. Porn searches are up, in part, because a lot of people are at home with more time on their hands than usual. However, they may also be up because some people are using sex as a coping mechanism for dealing with their fear of disease and death.

Yet for all these success stories, not every part of the porn world is thriving right now. According to Mike Stabile of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the pandemic has “radically restructured the industry.” The fact of the matter is that this change has left certain categories of content, producers, and performers struggling to stay afloat. There is a realistic fear that it may force some productions and entertainers out of business for good.

Finally, there is a new genre of porn that was a bit unexpected. It’s coronavirus-themed porn – now, you might ask - What does coronavirus porn look like? Well, truthfully, it involves a lot of people having sex while wearing masks, surgical gloves, and hazmat suits. The second question you are bound to ask is - Why are people looking for this kind of porn? And the answer is actually very similar to why people also tend to look for holiday porn throughout the year. The fact of the matter is that it reflects our constant need for sexual novelty and humans’ ability to fetishize virtually everything, even a health pandemic.

Changes that might be more permanent

There has already existed a shift when it comes to the medium use for creating and distributing porn content. Webcams, VR and adult Premium Snapchat accounts have taken center stage in the last year or so. But with the isolation, quarantine, and halt in filming they have become more important than ever, and have brought on a very important question – will the production companies be needed after this?

The situation is as follows according to J.W. Ties, the producer behind the mid-sized fetish studio Desperate Pleasures, after over a decade in the industry - “I am actually teetering on the edge of solvency,” and “I have seen several producers in my regular group talking about… quitting because of the uncertainty” afflicting the industry right now. Some might be eaten up by bigger productions other close their doors forever.

Now, why we think the change might be permanent – well first of all there is an increasing demand for authentic and intimate content over heavily produced and mediated studio fare. But with the pandemic, this has come front and center like a lot of entertainers are creating their own content and collaboration and sharing them on such platforms like OnlyFans where for a very reasonable subscription you can get access to great content, and the money goes directly to the entertainers. According to an article from Mashable – ‘The gap between studios and independent content creators is also shrinking, as performers gain access to better and cheaper recording and editing equipment, hone their production skills, and increasingly sell their self-produced content to major studios and distributors, who even before the pandemic were eager to tap into their fanbases, and the growing market for raw and intimate clips.’

The best part? Performers will probably come on top

Pun intended. They finally have the opportunity o break free from major production houses and get a bigger say when it comes to the content, they participate in creating. This gives them a very nice bargaining chip that if the studious don’t take their needs into consideration they can just continue creating content directly for fans and followers. So, there is a good chance that a lot of contracts will be renegotiated.

Of course, the abovementioned goes for pornstars who are already established and have a certain number of followers. Young stars who are just starting out will still have to rely on production studios to push them up and make them household names. So, it will be interesting to see how the industry carries on after COVID – 19. Queer porn producer and performer Jiz Lee notes that this is empowering performers to speak out more often “against injustices experienced in the industry [and finding] the time to come together to strategize to create systems of mutual aid, resource and skill-sharing, and more.”

So, all that remains is to follow how the whole thing unfolds and enjoy the sea of new, fresh, and very different content that we keep getting. In the end, the fans are gaining the most. The diversification of content is always a great thing and we get to enjoy unusual collaboration, new scripts, and raw content on an almost daily basis which makes it that much more fun.

It is important to remember that a lot of our favorite pornstars are counting on our subscriptions and it is only fair that we pay for the pleasure that they are undoubtedly bringing into our lives. Having this more direct contact, especially on platforms like Snapchat is a very new and intimate experience. We even get to DM our favorite stars and take a peek into their daily lives, not just the scripted content that we are used to. By making themselves more accessible the interest in them rises as does the number of fans and followers.