Why LA's adult film business is relocating

Unhappy about a new condom law, it's moving out of its usual haunts into neighboring -- and often unsuspecting -- residential areas.

By Bruce Kennedy Apr 25, 2013 8:12AM

Credit: Stewart Charles Cohen/WookBookStock/Getty ImagesQuick: What's one of the few global industries the U.S. still monopolizes? If you said "pornography," congratulations.

Nearly 90% of porn is American-made, and U.S. Internet porn sites generated $2.84 billion in revenue in 2006, according to Good magazine. Sex sells so much, in fact, that more than 260 new sex sites reportedly go online daily -- with about $89 spent every second on pornography.

For decades, Los Angeles County has been home to the U.S. porn industry. But that changed last November, when county voters approved a mandate requiring porn actors to wear condoms during filming. The new law was intended to combat the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases -- but it's having an unexpected side effect.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Daily News noted that applications for filming permits from the adult film industry dropped dramatically in L.A. County -- from an average of about 500 permits annually to just two so far this year.

"Most production companies have ceased shooting in L.A. County," Diane Duke, the chief executive officer of the Free Speech Coalition, an adult film trade organization, told the newspaper. "They have other options in other states and communities."

Those "other options" appear to include the moving of skin-flick production out of L.A. County and down the road into residential communities in neighboring Ventura County.

The Los Angeles Times says that in an unincorporated part of Ventura County local residents were recently startled to discover a sex shoot happening at a home on their street.

"It's really disturbing," Tim Gray, a 56-year-old father of four, told the Times. "We were eating dinner, and we heard these loud sounds outside, like something really bad had happened. I went outside and heard, well, the typical sounds you'd hear in a porn movie. It was echoing all over the neighborhood. Later I asked my daughter if she heard it. She said, 'Yeah, I was doing my homework, and I just turned up the music to drown it out.'"

The Associated Press says the Ventura County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider its own condom ordinance for adult films next month. If adopted, the measure would apply to the country's unincorporated regions as well.

Back in L.A. County, the porn condom law is being contested in U.S. district court by Vivid Entertainment, one of the biggest producers of porn movies. Stay tuned.

More on moneyNOW

Apr 25, 2013 8:22AM
I cannot figure out the business model for porn.  How can it be profitable if there's so much free content out there?  In the old days, people spent money on porn because that's the only way they could get it - magazines, videos, adult theatres, etc....  But now, with a gazillion free websites, why is anyone paying anything for it anymore?

Oh, and a gov entity (LA County) passes a new regulation (requiring condoms) and now we're all supposed to be shocked that there are unintended consequences associated with it?  How many times will it take before we finally learn? - Every regulation, rule, law, etc... the gov implements has unintended consequences, usually negative.  And 99.99999999% of the time, the unintended negative consequences outweigh the original intent of the regulation, usually by a big margin.  What was that definition of insanity again?
Apr 25, 2013 12:09PM
Just like Prohibition.  Doesn't get rid of any problem, it just creates new ones.
Apr 25, 2013 2:05PM
Sounds like the guy's daughter is more mature than most adults I know.
Apr 25, 2013 2:45PM
Ya LA county really put a dent in the porn industry lmao the only thing they put a dent in was their revenues' and they wonder why their broke Hahahahaha
Apr 25, 2013 3:43PM
Personally, I don't care if a Porn Star get's AIDS. They're old enough to make their own choices. Nobody is forcing them to do what they do. They made an informed decision and chose this way to make a living. They understand the risks and they take their chances.
Apr 25, 2013 3:16PM
Oh I am shocked!!  Los Angeles introduces regulations and the result is another hundred businesses leave. Hmmmm, maybe they should think about cause and effect huh?
Apr 25, 2013 3:56PM

Why not simply leave California completely?  Lower taxes, no nanny state.....It is a big win for all.........if you like that sort of thiing.


Maybe they could relocate to Detriot.  They could use a shot in the business arm and would most likely welcome the industry with open arms.  Hell, the gunfire would drown out the screams of passion and no one would complain.

Apr 25, 2013 2:47PM
I figured that the L.A. County condom law was sponsored by neighboring counties that wanted the tax revenues.
Apr 25, 2013 3:15PM
Assuming most of the industry has its "regulars" in these films, then the outbreak of AIDS would really not be that high compared to the general population.

Simply put, the condom law is there to drive the industry away.

How do you ENFORCE a condom law?

Apr 25, 2013 3:20PM
Maybe those that make porn in LA should contact Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. He wants all the business from Ca he can get.
Apr 25, 2013 5:25PM

Maybe Calif. should pass a law that requires all illegal immigrants to wear condoms all the time...That should chase them out of the state....

Apr 25, 2013 4:09PM
I feel sorry for the normal people in california..  even if it is only 3. What did they think would happen when you make a stupid law like that?  Of course they move it out.   Think of more ways to get rid of revnues.  They'll do it in california.  fruit loops
Apr 25, 2013 3:41PM
free speech  the government shouldnt tell them they have to wear condoms its there body.  its pro chioce freedom like abortion
Apr 25, 2013 4:09PM
To be honest with you, I would not want a porn movie shot next door to my house.  However, my opinion will probably change when the kids move out.
Apr 25, 2013 4:18PM
Government in California is trying to ruin it's state, they are so against anything that can be good for people and the state, I understand some things and issues need to be regulated, but it starts with the EPA, to it's ignorant senators to its governors and mayors. Not what is good for the people, it is where can they make some pocket change for them, the same thing happens with the fed's, we need as a people of this country, to quit letting these bureaucrats run our lives and put people in office that will work for the good of the people and let us flourish with enterprise and live a good life.
 Quit rewarding people for doing nothing and make them work for what they need, take care of our veterans, elderly and mentally, all the free loaders send to a work farm to make there way.

Apr 25, 2013 2:41PM
Sex is an addiction, some of us like it like Starbucks serves up everything they serve up. We're gluttons, mostly. Porn has been filming in residential areas for decades now. The industry isn't built for self-regulation these days, the persons who contract viruses are in the minority, quickly replaced by new "talent." The business model for porn is called liberty, the idea of which is alluring even in countries that aren't free to produce it, distribute it, or view it. 
Apr 25, 2013 4:09PM
LA County should enact a pole tax on porno actors and rake in the money
Apr 25, 2013 3:45PM
That daughter has a common sense approach, just turn the music up.  I'm not sure I could be so understanding just because it's noise pollution.  
There will be plenty of cities and towns who will welcome the revenue.
Apr 25, 2013 5:59PM
There it is in the third paragraph:  "but it's having an unexpected side effect." In what world does the MSN writer live?  Unexpected?  When this job killing proposition went before the voters, every industry representative in the city said the same thing over and over.  They all said if voters enact this ridiculous piece of fluff, their multi-billion dollar industry will move down the road.  Now it's "unexpected" that they moved down the road?  Everyone in the porn business and everyone not in the porn business knows people won't pay to see men wearing condoms.  But the idiot voters of Los Angeles went along with it, as they always do with feel good resolutions that get them nothing.  You Los Angeles morons get the government and the laws you deserve.  Now someone else gets the billions you used to get.  And you get what?  Moral superiority?  You pathetic sheeple now get to reap what you've sown.  Or more accurately, you don't get to. 
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