Production

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
8

Video cassette recorders (VCRs) were first introduced into the American market in 1975 and are now used in approximately twenty-eight percent of all American homes.[1836] It has been estimated that VCRs will be in thirty-eight percent of American homes with televisions by the end of 1986[1837] and eighty-five percent of these homes by 1995.[1838]

Most consumers initially used their VCRs for recording broadcast and cable programming that they were unable to view at its scheduled hour.[1839] In the late 1970s, "X" rated video tapes, which were retailing for over one hundred dollars, constituted over half of the pre-recorded industry sales.[1840] It was uncertain during this beginning stage of the VCR industry what consumer demand would be for purchase and sale of prerecorded tapes. It was equally uncertain what type of programming, aside from "X" rated films, would appeal to the public.[1841]

As evidenced in the following Table prepared by the Video Software Dealers Association, a wide range of video programming is consumed by the public.

Table 2[1842]

Type Percent Of Market
Action/Adventure
Science Fiction
Adult
Children's
Comedy
Drama
Horror
Music Video
How-To
Foreign
25.2%
19.6%
13.0%
10.4%
8.8%
8.6%
8.0%
2.9%
2.7%
0.8%

 

The thirteen percent of the video market identified by the industry as "Adult" excludes most of the sexually violent material that the Commission found to be the most harmful form of sexually explicit material. The categories labeled "Action/Adventure," "Science Fiction;' and "Horror," which together comprise more than half the market, include many films that contain scenes of rape, sexual homicide, and other forms of sexual violence. The harmfulness of these materials is not lessened by the fact that the breasts and genitals are covered in some scenes, nor the fact that these films are not given an "X" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, nor the fact that the industry does not consider them "Adult" materials. Indeed, all of these features increase the availability of these materials to minors. Moreover, the "music video" category, which includes many sexually violent depictions, is specifically marketed to young people.

The sexually explicit pre-recorded video tape industry has provided a new means of growth for the sexually explicit film market.[1843] Sexually explicit films were first put on video tape around 1977, a year before general release features appeared on the home video market.[1844] Presently, seventy-five percent of the sexually explicit videos are being made by independent producers.[1845] Of the forty-five identified major producers in the United States, thirty-nine are located in Los Angeles.[1846]

There are thousands of different video titles currently on the market.[1847] Adult Video News, a publication about sexually explicit videos, estimates that 1,700 new sexually explicit videos were released in 1985.[1848] It projects this high growth trend will continue.[1849]

While the steps necessary to produce a sexually explicit movie on video are basically the same as for a film,[1850] producers are making more movies available on video primarily for three reasons.[1851] First, the cost of producing a movie on video is substantially less than shooting the same movie on film. Producing a movie on film is expensive because of the high costs of film and equipment.[1852] The average cost of making a sixty to ninety minute feature length movie on film is seventy-five thousand dollars.[1853] The same movie shot directly on video tape costs between $4,000 and $20,000.[1854]

Second, those productions made on video tape can be viewed immediately.[1855] In the film industry, there is a necessary time delay while the film is being processed.[1856] If, after processing, more filming is needed, the entire production operation including crew and performers must be reconvened.[1857] Finally, it may take several weeks to edit a film. Video tapes can be edited by computer in a matter of days.[1858]

When the producer has completed the video, it is ready to be sold to a distributor. The producer often sells his film at a one hundred percent profit.[1859] Generally, if it costs a producer fifteen thousand dollars to make a ninety minute video, he will sell it to a distributor for twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars.[1860]

Notes

  1. The Abernathy/MacGregor Group, Press Release entitled "Home Video Cassettes to Become Dominant Entertainment Medium by 1990's," (1986), p. 2.
  2. Id., p. 3.
  3. Id.. p. 1.
  4. Merrill Lynch, The Home Video Market: Times of Turbulence and Transition, (Jan. 6, 1986).
  5. Id.
  6. Id.
  7. Video Software Dealers Association, 1984 VSDA Annual Survey 1; Current estimates place the figure for "Adult" video tape cassettes at no more than nine percent. Interview with Ronald Siegal, The Fairfield Group (Mar. 6, 1986).
  8. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Robert Peters, p. 35.
  9. Stricharchuk, Selling Skin: "Porn King" Reuben Sturman Expands His Empire With the Help of a Businessman's Skills, Wall St. J., (May 8, 1985). p. 24, col. 1.
  10. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, pp. 62, 74A.
  11. Chicago Hearing, Vol. I, Donald Smith, p. 31; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, James Docherty, p. 7.
  12. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Robert Peters, p. 53.
  13. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 61.
  14. Id.
  15. See, The detailed description of how a typical sexually explicit movie is produced in this chapter.
  16. Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association of America (Mar. 8, 1986).
  17. Id.
  18. Id.
  19. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Robert Peters, p. 73.
  20. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, p. 72; Interview with John Weston, Counsel, Adult Film Association (Mar. 8, 1986).
  21. Id.
  22. Id.
  23. Id.
  24. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Roberts, pp. 71, 74D.
  25. Id.