February 26, 2007 4:00 AM PST

Red-light district on a tiny mobile screen

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Whether it's on a mobile phone or at a newsstand, sex sells--and as more people get access to high-speed wireless networks, cell phones could be a hot platform for porn.

Adult programming has been an innovator for many new entertainment technologies. Home video was developed initially to supply adult programming. Cable operators' pay-per-view services were initially developed to sell and distribute adult movies directly to consumers in their homes. And some of the earliest Web sites and chat rooms emerged on the Internet to distribute and discuss porn.

"Porn has worked in just about every medium there is, from physical clubs to print to DVD to the Internet," said Bruce Gibson, research director at U.K.-based research firm Juniper Research. "So why wouldn't it work in mobile?"

Now with the dawn of new high-speed 3G, or third-generation wireless networks, pornographic videos are likely to flood the small screen. Still, analysts say several unresolved issues will likely prevent adult mobile content from becoming a major traffic-driving sensation anytime soon.

"There are a number of issues at the moment that constrain its potential," Gibson said. "But the rollout of 3G networks and improved mobile Internet navigation will certainly make it much more available. Whether or not it will appeal to more casual users and gain wider acceptance, we'll have to wait and see."

In 2006, adult mobile content generated about $1.4 billion in sales worldwide in a market where mobile entertainment in general generated about $17 billion, according to Juniper Research. While adult mobile content generated far less revenue than other types of entertainment such as mobile music, which accounted for $6.6 billion, it will likely grow over the next several years. By 2011, adult content will account for $3.3 billion worth of mobile content sales out of a total of $77 billion in entertainment revenue, according to Juniper Research.

Still, mobile phones as a distribution medium for adult content still have a long way to go in terms of becoming a meaningful source of revenue. Steven Hirsch, co-CEO of Vivid Entertainment, one of the world's largest adult film producers, said that mobile distribution currently makes up only about 5 percent of his company's total revenue.

Ringing up mobile porn

The lackluster reception adult entertainment has gotten in the wireless market so far is largely due to mobile operators' concerns over age verification and a general reluctance in some parts of the world to associate themselves with seedy content providers.

Other barriers are more technical in nature. Most of the world's 2.5 billion cell phone subscribers don't yet have 3G-capable handsets. And the mobile Internet is still difficult to navigate, making it hard for users to find content and forcing them to access material that's available only through their operator.

But as all these issues get resolved, Hirsch said he sees a huge upside to the mobile market.

"We have been interested in wireless for several years," he said. "We are one of the few guys who are able to monetize our content wirelessly, so it makes sense for us to be here."

Today most adult content is accessed through a mobile operator's own menu or "deck." In Europe and in parts of Asia this hasn't been a major barrier for adult content creators. Racy movies and pictures are much more socially accepted there. As a result, even the largest carriers in Europe, including Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile, carry mobile movies from porn film producers such as Vivid Entertainment.

But the situation is much different in North America. Here none of the large U.S. wireless carriers offer adult content on their decks. Hirsch believes that mobile operators are reluctant to add adult content to their lineups because they aren't comfortable yet with technology to verify subscribers' ages.

"Once operators become more comfortable with access controls, and they see that there is no fraud and they can verify age, I think they'll start adding the content," he said. "It's not our desire for this content to be seen by anyone other than adults who want to view it."

Mobile content experts say that the parental control issues are just one reason that operators in North America haven't added porn to their decks. Another major reason is that they fear a backlash from the public. Earlier this month, Telus, Canada's second-biggest phone company, reversed its decision to sell pornography on mobile phones after customers including the Catholic Church threatened to cancel their service.

"North American companies are very brand conscious," Gibson said. "They don't want to be associated with adult content, so they don't want mobile porn seen on their Web portals."

CONTINUED: A Net-like experience…
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One more thing...
As far as the church is concerned they need to endorse this as it
may prevent more priests from MOLESTING young children (mostly
boys!!!!). Spend your time wisely...make sure you clean your own
front step before advising others to the same to theirs. By the way I
am a Christian so we can nip the name calling in the bud right
Posted by Jschneeky (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lack of porn causes child molestation ?
That is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.
Posted by davidmec (21 comments )
Link Flag
Your a Christian, based on your moral beliefs?
Get real
Posted by apptec (15 comments )
Link Flag
Please leave the phone at your desk and don't take it to the restroom!

people will really be getting lost in the restroom.

I guess they can with their IPOD videos now
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The first time I see some scumbag watching this crap...
on the bus or in some public place where kids might see it, he's going to be scraping the pieces of his cell phone off the ground.
Posted by fcekuahd (244 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's all we need
Yet another avenue for porn-on-demand. Porn is quickly becoming
the elephant in the room, and it's truly amazing how successful the
industry's been in going mainstream.

I highly recommend spending some time reading the information
on xxxchurch.com to find out the real cost of porn. Hint: those
smiles on the girls you see aren't real -- they're acting.
Posted by Jared White (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Normally I support the right of greedy corporations to...
rip off stupid losers. But this is really taking the cake. You're going to have idiots watching this crap in restaurants and on airplanes and subjecting everybody around them to the fake moans and screams. In fact, I'll lay odds that we're going to start seeing news stories about kids getting suspended for watching it in class.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Adult 3gp Porn Videos on the mobile..
It seems to be a very popular now for people to search for mobile porn, just 1 search from google and i come across bigvideos ( bigvideos.mobi ) andi must say it looks pretty good on my phone, almost tempted to take a sneaky peak at the mobile 3gp adult videos and galleries, payment is through bango..

Shall I....!!!
Posted by bigvideos (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
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For more information on this new technology and to find out how you can become
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Posted by WapMasterRich (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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