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Adult publishers embrace HD DVD

Top US adult video publisher Vivid Entertainment is releasing its first adult titles on the HD DVD format. Digital Playground, another leading adult publisher, is following suit by bringing out its first adult film later this week, also on HD DVD. Several others say they will follow suit later in the year.

Back in October, Vivid co-founder Steven Hirsch said he was planning to support either Blu-ray or HD DVD – or perhaps both. 'We are very interested in [the two high-def formats] (…) While adult is always looked at as the new driver in technology, at some point it has to be affordable.”

So, the adult industry gave the thumb up to the HD DVD format because of lower production costs. There are also reports that Sony was unwilling, on strategic and marketing grounds, to have adult content released on Blu-ray. Apparently, the HD DVD camp initially took a similar line, but eventually relented.

Another concern raised about Blu-ray is its installed user base. The PlayStation 3 appears to be Sony’s central part of the plan to increase the number of Blu-ray Disc players in use, but game consoles target a younger audience – not the audience targeted by adult publishers.

The first adult video ever released on high-definition DVD is the title Tachibana Riko no Dorei Beya (Perfect Master Riko) from Japanese specialist publisher Glay’z who chose HD DVD (pictured).

Early support from the adult film industry may be helping HD DVD to take an early lead over Blu-ray Disc in the battle to become the next-generation DVD format.

The US adult industry earnings have risen to more than $12 billion a year. With an average 40% profit margin on DVD sales, explicit porn is twice as profitable as the music business.

Production is booming too. According to Adult Video News, 13,500 titles were released in 2005 and passed the 15,000 bar last year – compared with 8,000 in 1998 and 1,250 in 1988.

There are some 4.2m pornographic websites, 12% of the total web content, according to the anti-porn watchdog Internet Filter Review. It says users make 68m pornographic searches every day, a quarter of all search engine requests.

Jake Richter, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research, is quoted as saying that "If Blu-ray isn't adopted by the adult industry, then HD DVD will win out.”

Story filed 14.01.07

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