The porn industry is a billion-dollar business. And at the center of it lies MindGeek, a company that owns and runs multiple pornographic websites. It is a private company based in Canada, founded in the year 2004. It has its headquarters in Montreal and has offices worldwide such as Miami, Dublin, London, Los Angeles, etc.
MindGeek runs many pornographic sites like Pornhub, Twistys, Brazzers, Youporn, etc. And it attracts a lot of traffic, which is close to about 110 million. Pornhub is just a step away from Netflix in terms of the traffic caused by daily users.
Before the internet, the primary sources of X-rated content were DVDs. And with the advent of the internet, the growth of the industry was on the horizon. Now, the sales would reach a wider audience with easily accessible images and videos. But this did not go the way as expected, and the industry went downwards in terms of DVD sales.
So the industry had to adjust to the changing scenario. MindGeek became the world’s biggest platform for free porn, and it started to attract a lot of traffic and users. The free contents allowed them to harvest vast amounts of data about the user’s preferences. And this opened a whole new portal for earning – through advertisements and subscriptions.
MindGeek owns all the major porn streaming sites. And every site generates a substantial amount of view time by the users. And this provides an opportunity to create massive amounts of profits just through advertisements. It is a complicated business, but the payoffs are enormous. So how does it work? Every time you log in to a site and open the page, you will see different ad types such as banner ads and large popunders. And these ads cover a wide range of various topics and products.
MindGeek is now a dominant distributor. And in many ways, it has revived the dying porn industry. Porn videos have become one of the biggest advertising platforms today. With streaming live streaming options, subscriptions, and free content, they make money through the ads every time a user visits.
A downside to MindGeek, however, is the problem of piracy. Many people in the industry are not happy about its dominance and how pirated content is made freely available. It forced a change within the porn workers where they started to explore different ways to generate income. Things like camming, live streaming, stripping, skype sessions, etc., became another business model.
However, MindGeek also does not have a lot of options in that matter because of the deeply trenched monopoly. And as pointed earlier, the business model is very complicated. The best example to understand how it works is by looking at Amazon. When there are many shops and very few factories, the factories dictate most of the power. However, when it is the other way round, the landscape changes, and there is a power shift. So when there are only one shop and many factories, the shop dictates everything. In this case, that is what Amazon is doing – the one big shop.
MindGeek is very similar to this. When a few dominant porn studios controlled the online distribution and sales, the studio licensed all the content creators. So all free and paid content is decided by them. But with MindGeek in the scene, this scenario completely changed.
In the present scenario, production studios do not like the idea that their contents are for free. And because MindGeek is that one big distributor, they cannot demand removing their contents from the site. Why? Because if taken down from the biggest distributor, they cannot market their contents, which also happens to be monopolistic. So the only way is to make peace with it because that is the platform for discovery by an audience.
The growth of the digital revolution and the internet coincided with the rise of MindGeek. So this paved the way for more content and broader distribution. Only in this case, the distribution did not grow in terms of sales. It started to generate passive income through advertising.
One of the most significant changes that the porn industry witnessed was the change in video production. It became cheaper to produce, and volumes of contents kept pouring in. And as a result, the value chain dropped where producers, directors, distributors, etc., were no longer required. It led to a disintermediated industry handled individually and the days of million-dollar budget movies became redundant.
However, the problem continues to persist. MindGeek continues to make massive profits out of distributing free content. The fact is, it steals the contents of other people, makes it available on the sites it controls and takes the lion’s share of the profit. It makes it very challenging for other companies, and some of the big studios also suffer from it. So, in the end, they are left with no choice but to comply with them.
But despite all this, MindGeek continues to be a platform where other small businesses can grow and build an audience. So in that sense, it is not entirely monopolistic. You can find small companies like Lance Hart, who upload free content on Pornhub to get noticed. And the goal is to get users to subscribe to all the other services that they offer. So this becomes the best option for any small business in the porn industry. Make content, upload it to any of the sites controlled by the most prominent company, and then target an audience. Because there is no way, they can generate profit by selling their contents.
The way MindGeek works is complicated. There is an argument for destroying traditional means of income generation in the porn industry. Still, at the same time, it has opened up new avenues and means to generate profits. So the best option is to adapt to the changes because it is inevitable.