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Big business has porn ties - Corporate involvement exposed

In an October report on the big business behind the $10-billion-a-year pornography industry in the United States, the New York Times shed light on the people, corporations, and business practices involved in a growing effort to capitalize on an obsession with sex.

The lengthy Times report was titled “Erotica Inc.—A special report” and subtitled “Technology sent Wall Street into market for pornography.” While many Americans associate pornography with flamboyant merchants such as Larry Flynt of Hustler magazine, the Times revealed that more respectable firms such as the General Motors Corporation are now engaged in peddling graphic sex films; indeed GM now sells more erotic films than Flynt does. Through its DirecTV subsidiary, GM has 8.7 million Americans buying some $200 million a year in pay-per-view sex films via satellite.

The communications giant AT&T also offers a hard-core sex channel called the Hot Network through its cable service, despite the objections of some of its investors. And EchoStar Communications, the second largest satellite provider (heavily backed by Rupert Murdoch —a member of the papal equestrian order, the Knights of St. George) outdoes Playboy in the sex business, according to the Times. Other major corporate players include Time Warner, Liberty Media, On Command, LodgeNet Entertainment, and Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Forty percent of all US hotel rooms are also equipped to offer porn. Marriott International, run by several prominent Mormons, and Hilton are raking in huge profits from the porn they offer in their rooms to guests. The Times reports that hotel industry statistics indicate that at least half of all guests buy the porn movies. The article mentions that the Omni hotel chain has decided to veto pornography offerings in their rooms, at a loss of $1.8 million per year in porn revenue. Omni received 50,000 calls and letters of support for its decision.

The removal of technical barriers is driving the increased demand and spurring sales of obscene material. With the advent of the videocassette recorder, sales in pornographic films shot up; with satellite pay-for-view there was another surge. Now the Internet has given the porn trade a new life, generating millions of dollars in new revenue.

 

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