Are Phone Sex Sales Declining?

According to this article, Internet users hang up on phone sex, it is:

IT’S not only retailers struggling to adjust to the new digital era.

While the adult entertainment industry in general has flourished online, one sector has become all but extinct.

Phone sex – based on the 1900 numbers usually listed in newspaper and magazine classified sections – will soon be a thing of the past.

Around Australia, adult phone services advertisements are shrinking every year.

Fiona Patten, of the Eros Foundation, said phone sex had almost disappeared over the past decade, as customers turned to cheaper or free content on the internet.

“With the new technology online, it’s really made the phone sex ads kind of quirky,” she said.

“It used to be around 25 per cent of all ads in adult magazines but now it’s all about downloading adult content to your mobile.

“There is so much free stuff and so much more competition out there.”

In South Australia, print ads have declined by almost 65 per cent since 2005, from 475 ads a week in The Advertiser to just 169 a week in 2011.

One thing glaringly missing from this article is the obvious: Where’s the connection between a smaller number of ads and the industry itself?  In the whole article the wasn’t a shred of proof of a decline in phone sex revenues or businesses.  In other words, perhaps the declining print ads have more to do with a change in advertising, and little to do with any supposed decline in phone sex sales volume.

Most phone sex companies are privately held and so do not need to publicly release profit and loss reports or anything of the kind, so I can’t honestly speak to any actual decrease in revenue for the phone sex industry; this means most others cannot either. If the nearly 65% decline in print advertising is observable fact, it would be idiotic to assign it such an auspicious thing as proof, or even a symptom, of a problem that has not even been diagnosed.

I’ve no doubt that “the Internet” is to blame for a lower number of print ads. (I cannot say it is a decrease in phone sex ad revenue as I have no idea of the numbers; perhaps even print ad rate increases are responsible for fewer ads placed, even if the publishers still made the same amount of money.) But I will agree, even without seeing them, that there are less print phone sex ads there — and perhaps everywhere. I know in my location, the number of local print publications which even allow adult entertainment ads has dwindled. This is due in no small part to print publications struggling to maintain their mastheads (something else blamed on “the Internet”). But it’s also due to the US’s strong, hard, continued swing to a morality based conservatism which places a premium on sexual prohibition, even as its leadership swims in the seven deadly sins.

But, getting off my soapbox and back to the issue at hand…

A decrease in print advertising for phone sex does not mean the business is “being hung up on” in favor of Internet pornography or mobile downloads and apps; it simply means that phone sex companies and independent PSOs are savvy enough to make sure their ads are where the eyeballs are, that their promotional dollars and efforts are maximized — and that includes the Internet and other digital means.

Phone sex manged to survive and even flourish in the Golden Age of porn video; it’s managed to survive Internet adult membership sites, free porn pics, and video downloads; it’s managed to survive webcam sex services. It’s not merely a matter of ages (number of Baby Boomers Vs. 20-somethings) either.

What keeps me confident in the success of the phone sex industry is the fact that phone sex is a special service, unique to itself, and so the demand for the services will remain. As with any industry, individual companies will fail; but those who adapt to the changes in order to find and then meet the needs of their clients will remain. And part of this is adapting to where their clients are; replacing print ads for phone sex with promotions online.

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