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The porn industry is set to move to Blu-ray despite higher authoring costs. The industry that is reeling from a 50% down turn in DVD sales is also banking on improved quality to “stimulate” their industry.

Porn executives attending the 2008 Adult Entertainment Expo say that they are set to release DRM controlled 1080p movies along with new Blu-ray and HD DVD movies in an effort to “stimulate” business.They also expect the movies to be shared in the home.

During the past 12 months adult DVD sales have crashed by as much as 50 percent due to consumers turning to web downloads. Insiders at Telstra BigPond have told SmartHouse that the telecommunications company is “turning a blind eye to illegal porn and music downloads” because it is generating additional fast bandwidth traffic. Currently the porn industry are looking to high-definition content to command higher unit pricing and prevent piracy.

A major porn provider Digital Playground has decided to release its future porn titles only on Blu-ray, however on the show floor, it was evident that all the large studios were surprised by the recent Warner Bros decision as most of the exhibitors had HD DVD demos running and HD DVD signage and titles.

 

According to CE Pro, Hustler Video Group creative director Drew Rosenfeld said that, based on the Warner decision, they would be releasing their Barely Legal #75 on Blu-ray. He said that the high cost of Blu-ray authoring and reproduction was the main reason the majority of their catalog had been in the HD DVD format.

All of the executives I spoke to expressed that Blu-ray authoring and duplication was an issue. An representative at NinWorx said that they were not producing any HD discs due to the costs of Blu-ray.

Studios Transitioning to Blu-ray
Adam and Eve Pictures’ Bruce Whitley said that his studio currently was shipping four HD DVD titles, but based on the Warner decision, was going to begin to transition to Blu-ray.

Whitley said that the studio was disappointed with Warner’s decision and that there are still more than a million HD DVD players in the market that want adult content.

Digital Playground president Samantha Lewis echoed Whitley, saying that Digital Playground would also be making the transition and that public perception is much higher for Blu-ray. The Warner decision, she said, further reinforces the perception that Blu-ray is the better supported format of the two.

 

Lewis also mentioned that there were more Blu-ray disc authoring and duplication companies approaching her at the show with pricing much closer to HD DVD rates. With costs historically half as much as Blu-ray, she sees this as a good sign for faster adoption of Blu-ray in the adult video marketplace.

VOD Porn Sells 3:1 Over Optical Media
When it comes to acquiring porn, video on demand sells at a 3 to 1 rate compared with optical media, Lewis said.

All of the titles Digital Playground offers are heavily protected with Windows Media DRM technology and require a special Microsoft security patch in order to allow playback.

Although Digital Playgrounds’ VOD sales have been strong, Lewis sees the interactive potential that both formats provide as an added selling point and additional revenue stream.

 

Digital Playground’s latest feature, Pirates 2, will be shot in HD digitally on Hollywood quality cameras when filming begins this March. Lewis promises that she and director Joone will take full advantage of all the interactive capabilities that they can fit onto the final Blu-ray version of the film.

Is Piracy Killing the Business?
As rosy of a picture that Digital Playground paints, I found one long-time adult industry director to be downright pessimistic about the future of digital high-definition adult content and the adult industry itself.

Andrew Blake, whose films are known for being highly artistic endeavors often shot in exotic locales, says that his company Studio A Entertainment has been devastated by Internet piracy. He claims he has lost as much as 80 percent of their revenue to piracy in 2007 alone.

Blake, who only shoots on film, said that he is not even going to bother publishing his latest releases on DVD, HD DVD, or Blu-ray because he is convinced that there will always be a way to copy and pirate optical media.

He has decided to only release his new films on his Web site, where he will offer a full 1080p version with heavy Windows Media DRM restrictions. Blake said that he wouldn’t have a problem with movies being shared throughout a house using Media Center Extenders, as long as the DRM is kept intact.

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