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Internet to stick it to Japan’s AV rental market

Spa! Feb. 11-18
Spa! Feb. 11-18

As the second year of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration gets under way, a peek at Japan’s vernacular media offers no shortage of issues on the collective mind of the nation — the rise of the consumption tax in April and the ongoing diplomatic spats with Korea and China, to name but two.

Weekly tabloid Spa! would like to add one more: the collapse of the rental market for porn.

“With the core demographic for porn being the elderly, a problem in the industry is emerging,” says adult video (AV) researcher Rio Yasuda (@rioysd).

The culprit is technology: Japan’s AV market (for years, so reliant on the DVD) appears to have discovered the Internet.

In November, Amazon joined forces with the likes of public broadcaster NHK, Tokyo Broadcasting System and TV Asahi to distribute programs and movies on the online retailer’s platform.

AV is one of the many genres of programming available. Further, Spa! says that many young people are utilizing illegal sites to download films.

As a result, the future of the rental market appears grim as the customer case disappears. “For years, the rental market has been dominated by fans in their 40s and above,” Yasuda says.

The researcher adds that the venerable DVD will not die out as fans enjoy purchasing discs featuring their favorite AV actresses. “The number of fans who don’t rent discs will increase,” says Yasuda.

The DVD is also a crucial part of marketing. Similar to the tactics employed by all-girl pop group AKB48, some porn titles come with “handshake tickets,” which allow purchasers to meet actresses at promotional events.

The tactic is so effective that the fans do not watch the disks they’ve purchased, as the implication of seeing the objects of their affections having sex with other men is too dispiriting.

“It is difficult for an AV actress to create a similar inducement within the rental market,” says Yasuda.

When will the curtain fall on the industry? Spa! isn’t sure, but the magazine expects pensioners to stick it out, so to speak, until the bitter end.

Source: “Rentaru bideo ten no kiki! AV koonaa ga rojin bakarini!?” Nikkan Spa! (Web)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.