FEED Issue 15

73 OVER THE TOP Adult Content

the company transferring a total of 4403 petabytes of data – 147 gigabytes per second – over the year. And as we know from the discussions featured in this issue, a portion of that – big portion – is pirated. SEARCHING FOR ROMANTIC 4K Pornhub’s Insights report also noted some of the key search terms for 2018, the most striking of which was ‘Stormy Daniels’, the adult film actress, allegedly bribed by US President Donald Trump. People may love erotica, but they love a scandal even more. ‘Fortnite’ was also a popular search, as there is a sub-genre of animated erotic content, based on the world of the game. ‘4K’ was another trending search for 2018, which is surprising given that most adult content is watched on mobile phones and smaller devices. Earlier in this issue, adult filmmaker Fivestar says she and other filmmakers have been avoiding 4K as it’s seen as an impractical format. Pornhub Insights’ own statistics show that of viewers using computing devices, 71.6% of those are viewing the site on mobile, with 19.7% watching on desktop computers and 8.7% on tablet. The largest mobile users are in India and the largest desktop computer users in the UK. Gaming consoles are also used to access the site, with Playstation being the most popular. It’s probable that these are the viewers registering the 4K interest.

Other year-defining searches, according to Pornhub Insights, were ‘romantic’, ‘trans’, ‘outdoor’ and ‘tattoos’. In terms of raw numbers, the top three searched terms on the site were ‘lesbian’, ‘hentai’ and ‘milf’, so there’s that. The Pornhub audience consists very largely of US residents, followed by the UK, India, Japan, Canada and France. The biggest boom in viewership was in Kazakhstan, whose ranking in 2018 rose by 33 places over the previous year. It would be interesting to find out whether that jump correlates to any data infrastructure changes in the country. AGE APPROPRIATE Pornhub, via deeper user data acquired through it’s online community, can now give statistics on the age of its users and what kinds of content they are watching. The average user age in the US is 38, and that average is about the same across most territories. India rated the youngest average user age at 29 and the Philippines the oldest at 40. These age numbers would have been generated from data collected from Pornhub users who are signed in to the platform and, of course, there are a large number of users of the site who don’t have accounts – and a percentage of these will be underage. Even if it’s just a small percentage of total traffic, that is a huge

amount of content consumed by under 18s and available to any child with an internet connection. The UK has passed a Digital Economy Act 2017, fulfilling one of the promises made in the UK Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto. Among the Act’s provisions is the requirement that adult-only websites confirm visitors are aged 18 or over. Sites that don’t comply will be blocked by UK broadband providers. The appointed regulator, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has yet to establish how these checks will work and the implementation of the law has been pushed back. The Act has had a mixed reception with civil liberties groups suggesting that collecting data on users is at odds with online privacy, as well as a clear understanding that if anyone can figure out how to set up a VPN in a jiffy, it’s a 16 year old boy. Also, the Act defines pornographic material as anything ‘produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal’, which covers an awful lot of ground. Who is going to be the arbiter of what’s hot? As US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said of pornography in the famous case against Louis Malle’s’ film The Lovers, ‘I know it when I see it’. Surely, porn is in the eye of the beholder.

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