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Thursday, February 16, 2006

California's Adult Entertainment Industry

The US adult entertainment industry trade association, The Free Speech Coalition, have produced a 1999 white paper entitled:

The Truth About California's Adult Industry

The following is a selected summary of that report

1. Video & Retail Industry Statistics

The information is derived from several sources: a survey of 5000 retailers who answered an annual national questionnaire composed and analyzed by Adult Video News (AVN), the trade publication of the adult video industry, with additional information provided by Paul Kagan & Associates and the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), the trade association for the entire home video industry.

The VSDA estimates that over 60,000 retail outlets in the United States carry home video. Adult video cassettes, laserdiscs and DVDs are carried in over 25,000 retail outlets across the United States, including such major chains as Virgin Megastores, The Wherehouse, Tower Video, Palmer Video, Movies Unlimited, West Coast Video and others. In addition, hundreds of small boutique and large mail order companies sell adult tapes, laserdiscs and DVDs directly to consumers.

FACT: In the United States in 1998, adult video rentals and sales made up 28.9% of the video market in stores which carry adult products, for a volume of over $4.1 billion. This figure includes transactions in retail outlets but does not include mail order. Nearly 34% of the nation's rental and sales transactions involving adult tapes took place on the West Coast, with more than half of that in California!

FACT: In stores in the Western Region of the United States (California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington), adult video made up 35.6% of the sales and rentals in stores that carry both general release and adult video. This means that many if not most video retailers depend upon adult product to stay in business.

FACT: Approximately 2800 retail stores carry adult video for sale and/or rental in the State of California. The average store in the State of California stocks over 700 different adult tapes for rental. This excludes tapes stocked for resale.

FACT: During 1998, in the United States, stores reported a total of 686 million rentals of adult tapes, more than three-quarters of which were produced in California. Nearly 110 million of those rentals took place in the State of California. If each of those rentals were for one day only, a minimum of $27 million sales tax dollars would have been generated for the State of California. This excludes any tax generated by purchase, or additional money generated by multiple rental days!

FACT: The wholesale sales value of tapes sold to retailers from distributors in the United States in 1998 totaled $819 million, with over $120 million in wholesale sales to retailers in California.

FACT: Mail order provides a means for distribution of adult products with minimal intrusion into the community, and substantial privacy for the consumer. A survey of mail order providers conducted by the Free Speech Coalition established that in 1998, there was $200 million in adult video sales, plus additional millions in sales of magazines, lingerie and novelties. The sales of these products generate tax revenue and employment in California which sites most of the product manufacturers.

FACT: Mail order and related shipping in California generates so much revenue that following the U.P.S. strike, the U.S. Postal Service assigned a special sales staff to encourage the adult industry to keep using the U.S.P.S.

FACT: The Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web provides a new medium for the distribution of adult products, information and services. The FSC survey reveals at least $875 million of video sales, plus incalculable hundreds of millions spent on retail sales of adult-oriented products other than video, as well as memberships and services such as teleconferencing, chat rooms, e-mail, and other information services.

2. Dance Industry Statistics

The information is based on statistics collected from targeted cities and specific clubs. Performers have also provided input.

FACT: In the exotic dance arena, there are an estimated 7500 full-time dancers with another 5000 part-time.

FACT: Dancers run the gamut from students to single mothers to exotic dance professionals. What do they all have in common? They enjoy the financial independence and the excitement of erotic dance.

FACT: There are over 175 legally operating dance clubs in California.

FACT: The dance industry creates over 20,000 jobs in California, while providing almost $1 billion in revenues.

FACT: The dance industry brings in an estimated $500,000 to local governments in much-needed tax revenue, most of which goes towards law enforcement.

3. Working Conditions

The content of every single adult tape manufactured by the legitimate adult video industry on the shelves of every video and adult store in the nation involves only consenting adults. Roughly 90% of the material produced and distributed over the past 14 years contains mainstream sexual acts (oral sex, anal sex, group sex, etc.). Adult movies do not contain rape, coerced sex, sex with animals, violence, incest or child pornography. The other 10% of the material available is classified as specialty material (i.e., foot fetish, tickling fetish, bondage, spanking, etc.) which does not contain explicit sex, but which still involves consenting adults.

Like all motion pictures, adult movies are shot either at a soundstage or a location. Performers ("Talent") are scheduled to appear when they are needed, so although some shoots may take more than eight hours, talent is rarely on set for the entire duration. As in mainstream Hollywood movies, adult productions employ production managers, assistant directors, production assistants and other production personnel not only to make sure the shoot is proceeding as planned, but to take care of the talent as well. Catered meals and snacks are served at regular intervals, and scheduled breaks are provided, as well as facilities for the talent to rest and take care of personal hygiene, which is also of the utmost importance when shooting sexually explicit entertainment.

The FREE SPEECH COALITION has put thousands of hours and the majority of its financial resources into talent support services. A health and welfare corporation, called Protecting Adult Welfare Foundation (P.A.W.) wholly owned by the FREE SPEECH COALITION, was established to manage the talent services previously undertaken by the COALITION. P.A.W. operates a peer counseling hotline staffed by experienced members of the adult community, who have been trained by a licensed psychologist. This service has been in place for over five years, and has helped hundreds of industry members to deal with substance abuse, depression, relationship problems and the full gamut of stress-related issues. Likewise, P.A.W. runs educational seminars, offering assistance in estate and pension planning, tax preparation, health education, sexually-transmitted disease (STD) testing, life skills and other support services for the male and female actors in the industry, and is currently seeking access to a credit union for industry personnel.

All dancers are of legal age and are recognized as consenting adults based on documents which are required to be presented to the club by the dancers themselves. Working conditions at gentlemen's clubs vary depending on the age of the facility and the philosophy that the club embraces. In most cases, the clubs are well-lighted, adequately protected by house security, and are tastefully and in some cases lavishly decorated. These clubs have top-of-the-line sound and stage lighting systems, and the entertainment provided is on par with what you might expect at Las Vegas cabaret shows.

As a result, most of the entertainers work on stages, under bright lights, dancing to rhythmic music (usually of their own choosing). They are protected by in-house security at all times. Now that the FREE SPEECH COALITION offers its members health, dental, vision and life insurance, the number of insured dancers is growing.

4. HIV

The adult entertainment industry has reacted with remarkable responsibility to the tragic arrival of H.I.V. into the community of adult actors and actresses. Despite the fact that the on-set practices of the industry, as well as the testing programs, delayed the advent of any H.I.V. infection for over 15 years, in early 1998, five members of the community tested positive for the disease.

Every 27 days, each and every actor and actress voluntarily tests for the presence of H.I.V. in their blood by means of the newest, best test available, the PCR-DNA test. Compliance with the testing regimen is nearly universal among performers. These artists have accepted responsibility for their own health - and they inspect certified copies of each other's H.I.V. tests before performances.

It is the ultimate measure of the success of our program that no performer has tested positive for H.I.V. in over a year. There are very few if any industries that have had similar success.

Equally importantly, the industry is addressing not only the health of its performers, but also the health of its audience. many of the major manufacturers of adult motion pictures have announced a policy of accepting only all-condom sex scenes in their productions. Moreover, they are supported in this effort by most of the largest wholesale purchasers of adult tapes. The wholesalers have pledged to give preferential treatment to condom-only productions in their sales effort.

5. The Myth of Rape

A common fallacy is that adult entertainment activities like dancing and movies lead to rape. It is likely that the opposite is true. As part of just one of the U.S. Government's most thorough and in-depth investigations into pornography, a study was conducted of a broad sampling of felons in the U.S. penal system which charted their exposure to sex education as well as sexually explicit materials. The results paint a picture that clearly refute the pornography/rape connection. The highest incidence of exposure to adult material was found to be among non-sex-crime related offenders, while rapists, child molesters and other sex-crime offenders showed a preponderant lack of exposure to sex education, sexual experience, and sexually-related materials.

Decades of psychological studies (none of which were sponsored by, nor were in any way conducted by or associated with the adult industry or its members) have established that it is the inability to fantasize that is connected to the violent acting-out of sexual assault; thus confirming the accuracy of the homily that rape is an act of violence, not of sex.

The conclusion, then, could easily be reached that lack of sexual education and sexual outlets like adult videos, dance clubs and magazines lead to the ignorance, anger and frustration that may prompt sex-related crimes. This conclusion is supported by the dramatic reduction in sex offenses in Scandinavian countries following the decriminalization of sexual materials in the early 1960s. Clearly, then, the viewing of sexually explicit materials is a source of sexual fantasizing for the consumer and not an impetus for rape.

Another misconception about the adult entertainment industry is that women are coerced against their will to perform. The truth of the matter is that the talent in the adult industry, both female and male, solicit their own work, and most are represented by licensed and bonded agents. In fact, many more women want to work in the adult entertainment industry than the industry can accommodate.

Performers often give their own input as to how a scene will be played out, and also have the option of working with the partners of their choice. They are never forced or coerced into working with anyone. No substantiated report of coercion within the industry has been made in over 20 years. There is not one actress or dancer in the contemporary adult entertainment industry who has been made to perform an act against her will.

6. The Mainstreaming of Pornography

It is noteworthy that the adult entertainment industry, as well as sexually explicit product itself, has become increasingly admitted into "mainstream" culture and institutions. Recent hit movies, such as The People vs. Larry Flynt, Boogie Nights, and Orgasmo, all depict the adult industry in considerably more balanced fashion than has occurred historically. The critical reviews of 8 Millimeter reflect an increasingly common understanding that there is no connection between the modern commercial adult industry and violence, coercion or criminality.

Increasingly adult actors and actresses perform in mainstream Hollywood features and related entertainment. Many major manufacturers are being integrated into the rest of the entertainment world. Vivid Video, for example, is in the forefront of a new "product placement" trend, having already broken through other historical barriers by having billboards promoting their product lines on prestigious Sunset Boulevard.

The barrier separating adult entertainment from the rest of the entertainment world is crumbling. Besides theatrical releases and direct video release titles emphasizing sexual themes, cable television has embraced explicit sexual series, often depending on adult industry talent, from both sides of the camera.


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