does northwestel need to hawk porn

Just over two years ago, Telus was badgered by the Vancouver Catholic community into removing themselves from the pornographic media industry.

Just over two years ago, Telus was badgered by the Vancouver Catholic community into removing themselves from the pornographic media industry.

Just three weeks earlier, the telecommunications company had begun to offer mobile porn to customers: $3 for a pic, $4 for a video clip.

A massive ad placed by the church in BC Catholic, a weekly newspaper, decried Telus’ attempt to, “(hitch) its financial future to the abuse-ridden and pain-filled pornography industry.”

Odd, then, how every other major telecommunications company in Canada manages to continue to operate as cornerstone distributors of pornography.

Bell, Shaw, Videotron, and Cogeco all hawk volumes of explicit pornography via cable and satellite to their subscribers.

Locally, Northwestel offers porn on-demand, as a pay-per-view service, and as subscriptions to both the Playboy and Hustler channels.

At first blush, you might think that Northwestel innocently believes it’s important that northerners have easy access to quality programs like Cum Stained Casting Couch.

But really, setting moral arguments aside for a moment, hawking porn just makes good business sense.

Just three years ago, pay-per-view (PPV) and video-on-demand (VOD) porn generated over $1 billion in revenues for cable companies, a 15 per cent increase over 2005. With that growth rate cable and satellite television operators are definitely raking it in these days.

VOD is a particularly interesting technological evolution in the cable and satellite television industry that has significantly improved porn’s business model.

Rather than adhere to a broadcast schedule set by a network, VOD enables cable and satellite operators to locally host movies and television programs on their own servers.

So, using their cable or satellite receivers, viewers can just come and get it (or vice versa, in the case of porn).

It’s been around for about a decade, but really only took off about five years ago when operators discovered they could actually recoup their hefty investment costs in the fledgling service by featuring porn content.

On industry average today, consumers buy an equivalent number of VOD porn titles to mainstream Hollywood titles.

And with VOD porn, margins are much higher: up to 80 per cent of the $10 to $15 rental fee.

In other words, to support its VOD service, the North’s telecommunications provider has servers stuffed full of porn. And they’re sharing it. And they’re making a killing off of it.

It’s worth noting at this point that contemporary porn is not the stuff that made Playboy a household name.

The porn of the 21st Century is as violent as it is sexual. Anal penetration is now a standard act. Women – who are generally under the age of 20 – are hit, slapped, strangled, bound, and gagged.

They are commonly forced into abusive situations involving multiple simultaneous partners.

Despite the fact that most scenes are edited down to 15 or 20 minutes in length, during the shoot these women are forced to endure multi-hour marathon sessions of sexual abuse so violent that they often cannot carry themselves off the set.

In an interview just after she quit the industry two years ago, former porn star Jersey Jaxin described her on-set experiences with comments like: “You get ripped. Your insides can come out of you.”

Oddly, in this age of organic food, protected animal species and sweatshop activism, we seem OK with the fact that a new film featuring acts of teenage sodomy, rape and abuse is produced every 39 minutes in the US alone.

There is very little public social response to the sufferings of the women who appear in porn. Instead we condone the business activities of companies like Northwestel that profit from it.

So one has to ask: do Canada’s telecommunications carriers really need revenue that is generated through an industry that promotes the abuse, degradation and humiliation of girls and women?

Or, on a more human level: how do employees of companies like Northwestel feel knowing that a piece of their paycheque comes from a form of media that promotes violence against women?

Telus may be kicking themselves for having so positively responded to their public flagellation at the hands of the Catholic Church: the mobile porn industry has since blossomed to become a multi-billion dollar industry.

But they can at least claim the moral high-ground, knowing that they are not contributing to a media industry that seems hellbent on degrading women back to a level not seen in centuries.

But it leaves one to wonder: if Telus can flourish as a telecommunications company without selling porn, why can’t Canada’s other infrastructure providers, like Northwestel?

Andrew Robulack is a Whitehorse-based technology solutions consultant specializing in Macs, the internet, and mobile devices. Read his blog online at www.geeklife.ca.

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