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With Porn Banned In China, Taiwanese Firm To Release First Chinese Adult VR Movie

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A scene from the Taiwanese adult VR film. Image credit: DeepTech Shenkeji.

As pornography is banned in China, a Taiwanese firm wants to get some skin in the game.

Taiwanese video start-up Pandora Move said it would release the first Chinese adult VR film next month featuring Japanese actors and actresses, with a local production team responsible for the screenplay, shoot and post-production.

The illegal status of adult content in China means the country is shutting out an industry potentially worth billions of dollars.

“In the VR film industry, adult movies are the only one with a proven track record for monetization,” said vice chairman of Pandora Move, Ding Baoshan, during an interview with Chinese media.

“Most regular adult movies are watched free online, but VR adult films will be able to bring in much higher revenues. This is our hope for a new gold mine,” another executive at the company said.

Pornography on the web is a huge business. Around US$3,075 is spent per second on adult content on the Internet globally, while 280,000 people around the world watch adult content online each second, according to data from Top Ten Reviews. Around 12% of the world’s websites, or 24.6 billion websites, feature porn. Around 35% of downloaded content are adult related, while 25% of Internet searches are porn-related, according to the same source.

The combination of VR and adult content has been considered a promising and lucrative business model for both creators and hardware makers. Naughty American, an adult film portal that launched VR content a couple of years ago, said the conversion rate for adult VR films is much higher versus standard adult films. Around one in 300 visitors are willing to pay to watch adult VR films, compared to one in 1,500 visitors for traditional films. The enthusiasm has led the company’s revenues from VR films grow 433% year-on-year in 2016, according to Chinese media reports.

In Japan, where average spend on porn was around US$157 per person in 2011 (more updated data is unavailable), adult VR films have also soared. Japanese adult film company DMM saw its revenue double in May from two months ago to around RMB12 million (US$1.8 million). The company launched its VR portal in April, featuring 1,500 adult films, 300 adult animations, concerts and stage dramas.

Global virtual reality revenue is expected to reach US$7.17 billion by the end of this year. The industry will grow to close to US$75 billion by 2021 in terms of total revenues generated, according to Greenlight Insights.

Investors continue to bet on the future of VR. From the third quarter of 2016 to the second quarter this year, over US$2 billion worth of investments have been made in the VR industry globally. It’s unclear how much of that total was related to porn content creation, but video content was the second largest recipient of investor money, according to Digi-Capital.

Even though porn is illegal in China, the potential to make huge profits has attracted daring entrepreneurs. In February, China’s central government mouthpiece CCTV exposed VR headset sellers on Alibaba’s e-commence platforms promoting their product via benefits of “free adult films”. Alibaba later said that it deleted 2,769 illegal VR products from its platforms.

In January, prosecutors in Shenzhen arrested 19 people who were involved in giving away “free adult VR films” to VR headset buyers online. It’s unclear what kind of charges they would face, but it will unlikely stop people in China from pursuing hard profits.



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