February 26, 2007 4:00 AM PST
Red-light district on a tiny mobile screen
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This is largely the reason that AT&T's Cingular Wireless does not offer adult content as a part of its service. While Cingular has developed parental controls and filtering technologies to keep adult content out of the hands of underage subscribers, it said it still has no plans to offer porn directly to subscribers.
"We are not in the adult content business," said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for Cingular Wireless, which is now owned by AT&T. "And we have no plans to offer it. We recognize that people can use wireless devices to go anywhere they want on the Internet. That is why we have added parental control features."
While Hirsch said he hopes that mobile operators get more comfortable with adding adult content to their decks, he said he recognizes it's not the only way to get his company's movies onto mobile phones in the U.S. market. He believes that subscribers will also access Vivid content directly from mobile Web sites.
If trends in the traditional Internet are any indication, then porn downloaded from the mobile Web could do very well. In 2006, the entire adult entertainment market generated $12.9 billion, according to AVN, a trade publication for the adult entertainment industry. Internet sales of adult content, which includes images, live chat and live streaming video, became the second-largest adult entertainment segment with 22 percent of the market, or $2.8 billion in sales.
With the advent of higher-speed networks, the Internet experience on mobile devices will be more like what is experienced on a computer. This could prove to be hugely beneficial to the mobile porn industry, because wireless subscribers would no longer have to depend on their carriers to provide links to content. Instead, they could easily surf the Web using mobile Internet browsers.
Gibson said that the mobile Internet experience is improving, especially as search companies such as Google and Yahoo fine-tune their products for the mobile environment.
"It's still too difficult to use the mobile Internet," he said. "You can put a URL in a mobile browser today, but the experience is still pretty clunky. But once that becomes easier, it could really open up the market."
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