What do Blu-Ray, VHS and the Internet all have in common? That may sound like the opening for a really bad joke but it’s actually a vital business question. The funny thing is, the answer sounds like a punchline too. Each of these owes some part of its success to pornography.

VHS won its war with Betamax, Blu-Ray beat HD-DVD and the Internet is everywhere. You’re on it right now. The received wisdom in each case is that the trail was blazed by pornography. Porn producers favored VHS’s cheap, disposable nature, while Blu-ray is the high quality disc product favored by smut makers worldwide. Both of these facts gave a huge boost to the production and success of these formats and helped win their respective wars.

As for the Internet, that’s been 94% porn since 1996. At least that’s the flippant way of putting it. Porn and the web have grown together as industries with the sex entertainment industry particularly involved in some of the early online innovations. Modern online payment systems owe a lot to 90s online porn entrepreneurs.

Porn chose VHS, Blu-ray and online sales because they fit perfectly with their industry. They were cheap, versatile systems that allowed them to produce a popular product and sell it quickly and discreetly. That same low-cost, discreet format increased the popularity of the product itself. Porn is cheap, in every sense of the word.

Content Delivery

There are two ways to look at all of this. Either the porn industry has a huge influence in modern culture and can effect change in technology production. Or the people that make skin flicks know a thing or two about picking the right piece of technology. Which is where they can teach us content marketers something.

‘Sex sells’ is one of the longest running marketing clichés. That doesn’t make it any less true. Marketers have used sex to sell products since the word marketing was invented. It’s a quick win for so many products. Need to sell a car? Throw in some sexual connotations or sexualize your content. Job done.

The thing marketers haven’t been good at is spotting why sex sells. Not the sociological or anthropological issues that compel people to buy it, the reason the porn industry is so good at selling. They produce content that people want and they find the best way to deliver it. That’s all they’re interested in, content delivery.

Which is another way of describing inbound marketing it’s just content delivery through a variety of formats. If both marketers and pornographers are trying to perform the same trick, and they’re really good at it, it follows that we can learn from them. Which brings us to Vine.


Twitter’s new video sharing app has received a lot of negative press in its fortnight as a public network. Pornographic videos quickly became popular on the network but normally these things stay in the darker corners. When a pornographic video appeared as an editor’s pick last week, there was much hand wringing and many calls to ‘think of the children.’ Apple removed the app from the app store’s own ‘editor’s picks’ section and many mainstream media outlets rejected the app as no more than a porn sharing network. And yet its popularity grew. Even as many marketers dismissed Vine’s possibilities as a content marketing channel.

Vine has since taken steps to ensure that adult searches are disabled and tried to force home the message that vine is a mainstream product. Popular opinion is likely to turn too, the networks user base is growing and it has been used by a lot of Twitter’s bigger hitters. It will become a viable content marketing channel over time.

It will work because it offers a simple, quick and cheap delivery method for marketing content. The same reasons it worked for porn. It might sound like one, but the idea of marketers taking their lead from pornographers is no joke.

Do you want to get more bang for your content marketing buck? SiliconCloud can help.