Creative Leadership

Porn’s Frightening Impact on the Media Industry

Way back in 2006, the Los Angeles Times tracked the impact of the pornography industry on the emerging technology of the time.  I’ve written before on the history of the battle between industry giants VHS and Betamax, back in the early days of home video. Back then, when home video was new, someone could purchase an X-rated video on the phone, and have it mailed to his doorstep in a plain, brown wrapper. For the first time, you could purchase sexually explicit videos without being seen publicly, and the industry literally exploded overnight.

Back in those days, in a typical month, 50% or more of the top ten list of bestselling videos were porn.  Betamax and VHS were battling it out for industry dominance, and when the porn industry made the decision to move to VHS, they carried such weight, it swung the entire business. Although from a technical standpoint, Betamax was considered a better quality format, it literally died almost overnight.

Then it happened again with the advent of HD, Blu-Ray DVD, and online streaming technology.  Few people realize the incredible impact of the porn industry on technology.  The fact is, many key technology decisions have been driven by the direction the adult video industry has taken.

The implications for the future are chilling.  Pornography has become so pervasive in this country, and so popular in the culture, it’s actually driving technology descisions. The vast audience for downloading this junk is creating such profits for the adult video business that its influence is becoming as powerful as other forms of entertainment.

As a culture, we really need to consider what this means, and how it will impact the next generation.  I don’t have the answer, but the more people realize the impact of porn in today’s digital culture, the closer we’ll come to a solution.  If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them…


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  1. Hi Phil – my videos on YouTube are my way of helping – I know it’s a small start but I also know it worked for me, it can work for others. It’s under Tim Avery Breaking Free from Sex Addiction. I believe Deliverance can be found with the help of the Holy Spirit. Walking out healing and wholeness by learning how God loves, is key. I appreciate your speaking out on this. It’s so needed.
    Tim Avery

  2. I, for one, would love to see the whole industry falter and implode. But that ain’t going to happen unless God does a major miracle in the porn industry (which He could). It is an ugly, insidious cancer.

  3. A remarkable age we live in, where I understand that ‘Playboy’ doesn’t go to ‘Sexpo’ because it’s NOT considered to be ‘porn’.

    As a Christian involved in the media industry, I am led to ask myself how do I make the Christian message as attractive and compelling as porn?

  4. As a parent and a techie, I try to use technology along with education to help prevent my kids from getting hooked in the first place. We all know that kids can find a way around filters, but I’ve found that using OpenDNS ( at the router level to be pretty effective. It’s impossible to block everything, but it’s a start and it doesn’t compromise your computer’s speed or functionality like some software-level filters do.

    I was first exposed to porn at a friend’s house when I was SIX. It’s never too early to talk to your kids about it, gradually increasing the details of why it’s so dangerous as they mature. I was fortunately spared from porn addiction. I can only give that glory to God since I am a… well… a typical male. But I’ve seen it destroy the lives of friends. So I make it a point to talk to my kids about the whole “sex thing” on a regular basis. We talk about porn addiction in the same conversation with any other kind of addiction, so it’s lumped in with stuff they would never want to entertain doing. I don’t shield my kids from what’s out there; I *tell* them what’s out there before they discover it on their own so they can make educated decisions *when* they encounter it. I think that if parents really educate their kids and it sticks then maybe the next generation will pass that on.

    If we can make porn and objectifying women in general seem as harmful as say, smoking, then maybe we’ll see a decrease in sex addiction as we have in teen smoking. The media won’t attack porn the same way it attacked smoking (you rarely see anyone smoking on TV anymore), but we as parents can do what we can. The Church should be more proactive as well. I think the key is to be honest, open and don’t shy away from the issue with our kids.

    Technology can be just as powerful as a tool for prevention and education as it can be harmful. In the media world I think it takes producers willing to make material that goes beyond the “True Love Waits” soft approach. We simply have to make it a priority and take the initiative – at home – at church – and in Hollywood.

  5. A lot of advice given to help relationships is to use porn as an aid to make it better. The brain literally rewires itself to this exposure and has so many negative effects that usually lead us to loneliness (though it’s preached to do the opposite.)

    I believe getting awareness out there of real people who struggled with this and have come back around (and still struggle but with a new perspective) will aid in making people think twice over the subject.

    Just the science won’t persuade but real lives will.
    Find these people, tell their stories, get the info out into the public.

    Also showing people who have genuine, passionate and healthy sex lives within marriages would be helpful also because sex tends to go to the extremes of its evil or it’s an idol.

  6. Combating porn’s influence on our culture is absolutely important, but is it significantly bad that the adult entertainment industry shifts technology market decisions like that? I grew up watching The Doughnut Man and VeggieTales on VHS instead of Betamax, and I don’t know that it really made a huge difference on a micro level for me, at least.

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