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Porn industry is booming globally

Utah study says U.S. and China dominate markets

Published: Saturday, March 17 2007 12:00 a.m. MDT

Every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being produced in the United States. Every second, 28,258 Internet users view pornography worldwide and 372 Internet users are typing search keywords looking for adult-oriented material.

These are just a few of the statistics featured in a study conducted by Ogden-based TopTen Reviews. The company claims revenues for the world pornography industry hit an estimated $97 billion in 2006, overshadowing the revenues of the top technology companies — the likes of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Apple — combined.

"The pornography industry is a very large industry, and it's growing," said TopTen Reviews CEO Jerry Ropelato.

The study shows two of the world's largest economic powerhouses, the United States and China, dominate the markets in adult-oriented Internet sites and adult products, respectively.

The report shows China saw estimated revenues of $27.4 billion in 2006, mainly for being one of the largest producers of sex toys, Ropelato said. The other top-ranking countries for adult-related revenues were South Korea and Japan.

The United States hosted a whopping 244 million adult Web pages, compared to second place Germany, which hosted only 10 million pages. About 12 percent of all total Web sites on the Internet are considered pornographic in nature.

TopTen Reviews compiled statistics from more than 10,000 sources, including the pornography industry, media reports and anti-pornography organizations. The report paints a picture of an exploding industry.

Other findings show most viewers of Internet pornography tend to be those with higher incomes. The report states 35 percent of Net porn viewers earn $75,000 a year or more. The next highest, 26 percent, are those who earn $50,000 to $75,000 a year.

Ropelato said the main reason appears to be the ability of people with higher incomes to afford computers, and those with higher incomes can also afford broadband Internet service.

The exposure of minors to pornography on the Internet was also assessed. According to the report, 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography, mostly while doing research for homework. Ropelato said it appears most of these incidents came as the result of a mistyped Web address, pop-up ads or other incidental exposures.

"I feel that people are being exposed to hard-core porn," said Chris Ahearn, section chief for the Internet Crimes Against Children task force at the Utah Attorney General's Office. Ahearn said he has looked at the TopTen Reviews report, and while he cannot confirm any of its findings, he felt there is a likelihood that many of the statistics could be accurate, based on other studies he has seen.

Ahearn said parents should have some kind of Internet filter software installed on their computers as a first step. Parents should also supervise younger Web surfers and talk to older children about Internet safety.

TopTen Reviews has also reviewed and ranked a list of the best parental software in its opinion. The ranking and the report can be viewed at www.internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com.

"I think it's a huge danger for kids, and I think parents need to be aware of it, and if they don't have an Internet filter on their computer they should get one," Ropelato said, adding he agrees with law enforcement that parents need to sit down with their children and talk about Internet safety.



E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com

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