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Summary:

Mainstream media companies aren’t the only ones gearing up for the launch of the iPad this Saturday. iPad users will also soon have access to plenty of porn optimized for Apple’s touch-screen device, thanks to a number of studios working feverishly on converting their catalogs over […]

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Mainstream media companies aren’t the only ones gearing up for the launch of the iPad this Saturday. iPad users will also soon have access to plenty of porn optimized for Apple’s touch-screen device, thanks to a number of studios working feverishly on converting their catalogs over and optimizing existing mobile offerings.

Studios like Vivid (please note that this link, as many others in this article, is not safe for work) and distributors like AEBN do face some hurdles in targeting the device, however. Apple has been exercising a zero-tolerance policy for adult content on the iTunes App Store, making it impossible to distribute even slightly R-rated material, much less triple-X fare. Add to this the absence of Flash on the iPad, and you have a situation in which adult publishers are forced to out-innovate their mainstream competition.

Some time Saturday, after playing with all those new shiny apps and loading some of their own media on the iPad, a significant subset of Apple’s customer base will inevitably ask themselves: But what about porn? Adult film distributors like San Francisco-based Gamelink, which is owned by the NASDAQ-listed Private Media Group, have been anticipating this question. Gamelink’s director of online sales Jeff Dillon told me that his company has already more than 15,000 movie titles in stock for iPad users, with 100 new titles being added every new week.

Vivid Entertainment founder and co-chairman Steven Hirsch told us that his company has been preparing for the launch as well. “Vivid will have its entire library available on the iPad,” he said, adding: “We are working on this now and it will be available very shortly.” Competitor Digital Playground recently told the adult industry publication Xbiz that it has already completed the conversion process for all of its catalog. Websites run by Digital Playground will automatically recognize iPad users and serve up h.264 HD videos.

Porn companies have to jump through some of the same hoops that mainstream content producers are facing, including the lack of Flash on the iPad. A blogger affiliated with Adobe recently made fun of this fact with a blog post showing off a number of sites that won’t be accessible on the iPad. The original post, published on a privately run blog dedicated to Flash, featured a screen shot of a hardcore porn site with the iconic missing plug-in message in place next to screenshots of similarly inaccessible Hulu and Farmville Flash sites. The blogger quickly took down the screen shot after Wired News alleged that this was a post sanctioned by Adobe, but the message was clear nonetheless: Porn sites relying on Flash alone will have a hard time serving any content to iPad users.

Of course, many companies won’t be caught in that bind, because they’ve been serving up Flash-free content for iPhones and other mobile devices for quite some time. Dillon said that 10 to 15 percent of Gamelink’s traffic is now caused by smart phones. Adult Entertainment Broadcasting Network (AEBN) spokeswoman Suzann Knudsen told me that the company hasn’t planned anything in particular for the iPad’s launch, but that it believes its mobile platforms to be compatible with the Apple slate, adding that AEBN does appreciate the love its been getting from Steve Jobs fanboys. “Currently Mac users account for about a third of our traffic in terms of non-mobile access”, she said.

Apple itself hasn’t exactly made things easy for the adult business. The company erased thousands of apps in February for merely featuring women in bikinis, and there’s no way for providers of more explicit content to launch an iPad application any time soon. That sets them apart from major media companies like CBS, which has been experimenting with HTML5 video for iPad users. CBS could just as easily ask users to install an app to access its content.

Porn studios, on the other hand, have to embrace HTML5 and H.264 out of pure necessity. Kink.com‘s director of user experience Erik Gibb told me that the San Francisco-based fetish porn company was initially excited about building an app for the iPhone, but became less interested when Apple didn’t move forward with its long-rumored explicit content app category. Gibb said that iPad-optimized downloads of the site’s content are already available. Kink.com’s vice president of technology Stacia Carr added that the company has been getting more interested in HTTP-based streaming, which would also work on the iPad. “Enabling streaming support for the iPad just means adopting a technology that we’re excited about for many other reason,” she said.

Carr also said that her company is excited about the possibilities of the iPad, despite any technical challenges, a sentiment that was shared by XBiz President Alec Helmy. “The iPad will do for (tablet-based porn viewing) what the iPhone did for mobile device use,” he said. “It will take the experience of porn consumption to a new, more natural level.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user NeoGaboX.

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  1. Like Justin.TV’s recent announcement that they can transcode webcasts in real-time, this is more evidence that companies whose primary product is video must plan on investing in transcoding infrastructure to nimbly move to offering their product in new forms that are not just compatible with, but optimized for, new popular devices/codecs.

    Of course, for sites who have chosen to rely on Flash for a fully interactive web page design, I do admit life is not quite so simple until Adobe’s CS5 compiler can take help them build an app.

    If your videos have already been remastered into H.264/AAC, then the same video file can be used to stream out to the Flash player, the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and to Silverlight with a server which is compatible with all these platforms. Visit WowzaMedia[dot]Com for more info.

    Yours,

    John [at] WowzaMedia {dotCom}

  2. Gram Ponante Friday, April 2, 2010

    There is enough flash(ing) already in porn, so consumerist adult performers will not be dissuaded from buying an iPad each for their cars, homes, and boyfriends/managers/webmasters. Plus you can snort coke off an iPad with so much more grace than you can with a netbook. I predict the iPad will become porn’s new accessory dog.

  3. Mainstream Report: ‘The iPad Is for Porn’ | Sponsor Epassport Network Friday, April 2, 2010

    [...] article titled “The iPad is for Porn” describes the hurdles the industry has had to face in keeping up [...]

  4. iPad & porn, two words that should bring you some readers. who are you fooling?
    no Flash, no porn.
    the iPad is for your grandmom. user friendliness reinvented.

  5. The iPad is for porn? « deranfangvomen.de Friday, April 2, 2010
  6. I think the absence of iPad porn apps will make sense. I’m sure Steve Jobs is extremely aware that when you have to hold the source of porn in two hands, you’ve destroyed the business model!

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