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Markets in everything, indeed.

While the sex trade may lay claim to being the world’s oldest profession, it’s also always on the forefront of modern technology. Some have even claimed that porn was the key factor in the VCR format wars between Betamax and VHS in the 1980s and the subsequent battle between HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

Mobile adult content users

Above: Mobile adult content users.

Now Juniper Research is initiating a report on mobile adult content. The report tells us, unsurprisingly, that “accessing explicit materials on mobile and tablet devices has become widespread among consumers who are interested in such content.”

No, really?

Juniper says that the market for paid adult content will reach 243 million people globally by 2017, with most of the revenue concentrated in Western Europe and the good old USA. But there is a core problem for merchants of adult content that will surprise few who can search Google:

Mobile adult content monetization

Above: Mobile adult content monetization.

“A challenge which lies at the heart of this industry is its difficulty generating revenues, given the swathes of free content available,” Juniper says.

That means that mobile adult companies are turning to the same technologies that gaming and communication app builders are using: in-app purchases and subscription models. They’re also adding per-event billing and time-based payments, which I suppose makes sense given the industry.

Privacy is the big driver of adult content on mobile, clearly.

“Smartphones and tablets … offer an application which combines mobility and privacy,” the report says. “Given the rising popularity of live webcam content, smartphones and tablets are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this market.”

Just don’t be borrowing anyone’s phone any time soon.

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