UNLV Releases Study on Impact and Attitude of AEE Participants

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The results of a collaborative study between the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the annual Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) have been released. The study collected data on a range of issues from both trade and fan participants related to their experiences attending AEE, their experiences in Las Vegas and their attitudes about the sexual entertainment industry.

The report is divided into four sections. The first section displays the demographic information for fans and trade attendees separately. Section Two looks at the financial impact of AEE on the Las Vegas tourist industry.

Trade attendees answered questions regarding sales and business; these are summarized in Section Three. People in the trade took particular steps to weather the recession, including expanding services online.

Section Four looks at the sexual entertainment interests of fans, how they access adult entertainment at home and their attitudes about sharing adult entertainment with a partner.

“Taken altogether,” say the researchers, “the picture of the average porn fan/consumer [who attends AEE] begins to emerge: that of a straight, white man who is comfortable with his consumption of porn and with sharing porn with a partner. Fans and trade alike are contributing to the Las Vegas economy purchasing both sexual and non-sexual services and entertainment.”

Section 1—Demographics of Respondees

Data gathered reveals several interesting trends. “Attendees to AEE are mostly male, white and heterosexual,” the research paper reports. “However, there is some diversity in these indicators. Also, it appears that attendees have a relatively high level of education: 59 percent of fans and 60 percent of trade have at least a college degree or higher. In addition, AEE attracts people who earn considerably more than the median family income (nationwide, the median family income is roughly $50,000/year). Over 42 percent of fans and 54 percent of trade reported an annual family income of at least $80,000 or greater.”

Interestingly, while the vast majority of AEE fans are single, a healthy percentage—about 35 percent—are married. Among trade, an equal number—about 42 percent—are married or single.

Section 2—Impact on Las Vegas Tourism

“Las Vegas holds hundreds of conventions of varying sizes each year,” the report says. “The large supply of hotels, convention facilities, entertainment opportunities and the accommodating culture of Las Vegas make it a perfect fit for many industry meetings and shows. AEE is a large convention that generates interest and notoriety in Las Vegas. Those who attend AEE as either fan or trade appear to appreciate Las Vegas as a venue. Almost 70 percent of fans and 60 percent of trade indicated that holding AEE in Las Vegas increased their interest in attending. Less [than] 2 percent of both fan and trade indicated that the location for the convention decreased their interest.”

The best news may be for the casinos, however. Gambling far and away represented the largest daily expenditure for fans attending AEE, at almost $600 a day, far outpacing hotel rooms, food or even sexual entertainment.

Section 3—Trade Business Practices

“We wanted to assess the business practices of people who work behind the scenes in the porn industry,” wrote the researchers. “We were also interested in measuring the effect of the recession on their sales and what steps they were taking to address the changing marketplace. About 67 percent of respondents indicated that at least part of their business has an online component. Thirty-two percent of the sample reported sales were down for the 2008 business year; only 22 percent indicated sales were up. Although the data collected is limited in its level of detail, it suggests that 2008 was a difficult year for many vendors and distributors. When asked what steps they were taking to address the recession, 20 percent indicated they were lowering their prices, 30 percent indicated they were expanding their online services, and 27 percent indicated they were expanding the venues in which they advertised.”

Oddly, considering that so much of adult entertainment—from retail to production to distribution—now also has an online component, almost 44 percent of respondents said they are competing with the online market, while almost the exact same number said they are not.

Section 4—Fans’ Consumption of, and Beliefs About, Porn

“We asked several questions related to how often, and in what format, fans viewed porn,” noted the researchers. “Of particular interest is the diversity of media used by respondents to enjoy adult entertainment, and the importance fans placed on talent when choosing a DVD.”

The largest percentage by far said they watch porn a couple of times a week. When asked which type of media they use (and they could pick more than one), about 55 percent said they still watch porn on DVD on their computer, but about 51 percent said they also watch it for free online. Far down the list were cable television channels, at 20 percent, by DVD on the computer (about 15 percent) and pay-to-download online (about 12 percent).

Not surprisingly, most respondents (48 percent) said they pick what they are going to watch according to favorite content or style, while about 32 percent said they choose it because of the performer. Father down the list of viewing criteria was price (about 17 percent) and favorite production company (about 4 percent).

And well over 80 percent of respondents said they enjoyed watching porn with a partner.

The authors of the study included Daniel Sahl, M.A., and Crystal Jackson, M.A., Ph.D. students in the Department of Sociology at UNLV, and Dr. Barbara Brents, associate professor of sociology at UNLV.

A copy of the report can be accessed here or here

The Adult Entertainment Expo 2010 begins this week.