MAY 6, 2012 7:00PM

The Era Of The Porn Superstar Might Be Coming (Hah!) To A End

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The Internet is a lot like the American Dream. It’s this huge opportunity for anyone who wants to make something of themselves — a nearly ubiquitous platform to showcase skills and talents. Yet, it is so incredibly saturated with people trying to do exactly the same thing that the opportunity gets smaller and smaller, shrinking to the size of a pin point as more people hop online.

Countless industries have seen this saturation play a role in who rises to the top, and who fizzles out as one of the millions of never-will-be stars. And porn isn’t exempt from this rule.

A new poll taken by XBIZ, “the adult entertainment industry’s leading social network”, shows that less than half of the respondents polled (47 percent) believe there will be another mainstream porn superstar, like Jenna Jameson. Meanwhile, 27 percent say that the era of the porn superstar is over thanks to the Internet, with the other 27 percent saying that only moderate success can be achieved by porn performers.

It makes sense. Think about how many people have actually made it big from YouTube, compared to the number of people who have tried. It’s the exact reason why startups like TalentSplash are working to offer a platform for hopeful talent to showcase their skills. Granted, I don’t watch as much porn as say, John Biggs, but I can’t think of really any porn superstars outside of Jameson.

The real end of the porn superstar may be due to the democratization of porn production. With cheap video cameras and editing equipment, anyone can give it a shot. It’s not that porn is any less popular. It’s likely much more so. But attention is now divided across thousands of demi-stars with their own websites and Twitter accounts.

While the Jenna Jameson’s of old might have made just a dollar or so per sale of a big studio porn movie they’re featured in, today’s demi-stars could rake in the same revenue by keeping most of $30 monthly site subscription fees from their hardcore (pun intended) fans. Up and comers (hah!) like Bree Olson and Sasha Grey (who left the porn biz altogether last year) seem to have achieved modest success through utilizing their Facebook and Twitter followings. But will that eventually amount to Jenna Jameson level success?

The results of the XBIZ poll are a tad optimistic considering the landscape. It reminds me a bit of forthcoming iPhone rumors: “It’ll support holographs!” “It will fly!”

All of that is just wishful thinking, and certain industry top dogs seem to share in that hopeful optimism.

CEO and co-chair of Vivid Entertainment Steven Hirsch believes that “there absolutely will be another superstar as big as Jenna. How she gets there remains to be seen but it certainly will happen.”

Digital Playground co-founder Joone shares the sentiment. “I think there will always be porn superstars,” said Joone. “The fans are always looking for that next ‘it’ girl. It’s all about the right girl with the right company behind her to let the world know.”

Even the more realistic responses are speckled with a hint of hopeful naivety. Hustler founder Larry Flynt claims that “the days of the porn superstar will return when the quality of the movies being produced are improved.”

Still other big names in the adult entertainment biz see things differently. Jenna Jameson’s long time co-star Ron Jeremy has a fittingly cocky response:

There’s so many things that I did that are almost impossible to follow. The work I’ve done outside of porn has dwarfed what I’ve done in porn. There are other people who have done good work in the same arenas, but keep in mind it gets tougher and tougher as so many medias get involved, between computers and cell phones and DVDs and pay-per-view and video-on-demand. There will not be another Jenna Jameson any time soon. It could happen, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it.

Kayden Kross, another award-winning adult entertainer, seems to have a grasp on reality:

I think when Jenna Jameson became Jenna Jameson, no one had become Jenna Jameson yet. It was still very taboo to be a porn star and she really made that a more mainstream thing. Then there were others that came up, not to her level, but came up around that time. And now, it’s just like anyone can be a porn star. It’s over-saturated.

It’s interesting to see how different answers from industry executives and former performers are. The performers know the perils of making it big as talent, whereas the executives are likely desperate to bank on an up-and-coming star as big as a Jenna Jameson.

Only time will tell if the porn industry can adapt to our almost entirely digital lifestyles. The camera industry failed, publishing is struggling big time, and both the music and movie industries are holding on to their traditional business models with cold, lifeless fingers.

But the question isn’t whether or not the “talent” exists. The question is whether or not we want another “it” girl. Jenna was great, but is she any better than having millions of free (and paid) titillating vids to enjoy over a bit of spit and Kleenex?


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