Porn 4 UR Mobile

One of my predictions for 2005 was a boom in “adult” mobile content. It might be obvious, but plenty of pundits disagree citing small screens, poor image quality and asking why anyone would pay for something so readily available on the web?

Well, it might indeed seem counter-intuitive but there is an underground culture emerging.

In Malaysia, The Electric New Paper reports that retailers in malls are charging up to US $36 for porn to download onto mobiles. Retailers are specialist mobile phone shops.

Customers (mainly “youths”) need to be “in the know”, by saying a password which gives them access to the catalogue. Their choice of videos are then downloaded by bluetooth or MMS.

In an unfortunate choice of phrase, police say the practice is “particularly rampant in Kuala Lumpur”.

In Malaysia, this type of content is illegal and police have threatened to start spot checks on mobiles to prevent the spread of this material. But in countries where it is legal, there’ll be nothing to hold back this type of service.

So what is the appeal of adult content on phones, despite the obvious drawbacks I mentioned above? We can only theorize, but I’d guess it’s a combination of:

1. The snigger factor

Kids view mobiles as a portable content wallet, showing their mates photo’s, video and interesting messages. Sniggers over a choice piece of porn is as much a coming of age ritual for young men as acne and moodiness.

2. Privacy

Many kids share a PC with the rest of their family, or at least have to use it in a shared space. Therefore, accessing porn is difficult and storing it impossible.

Added to this, in a work environment accessing porn on a PC is controlled or monitored.

A mobile phone however is private – indeed, it’s almost a new taboo to use a mobile without the owner’s permission. Many people won’t even answer a ringing mobile phone if it doesn’t belong to them.

So maybe porn for mobiles does make sense, after all.

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