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Pornhub is emulating Netflix with its new premium streaming service

Ad-free streaming, HD quality, and exclusive titillation

Pornhub

Adult entertainment giant Pornhub — the flagship in the portfolio of online video conglomerate MindGeek — is launching a premium offering as a Netflix-style streaming service, one complete with ad-free HD viewing, faster playback, and exclusive content. This appears to be the site's first step into the world of paid porn after years spent feasting on free (and often illicit) content. The service costs $9.99 per month, and it's currently available within both desktop and mobile browsers. Pornhub is working on Android and Roku apps for release in the near future, and it's also planning to augment the existing service with VR integration in 2016.

There's nothing innovative about any part of Pornhub's proposition. Companies like FyreTV have vied for the title of "Netflix for porn" through both DVD rentals and VOD functionality, and there are sites within Pornhub's own Pornhub Network that offer premium subscription plans with many of the same features. Many individual studios also have their own monthly subscription services, ones that give viewers with specific interests better quality and exclusive content.

This means Pornhub's plan is differentiated by scale rather than function. It's the biggest site in MindGeek's portfolio, and it can take advantage of MindGeek's studio ownership — including Brazzers, Digital Playground, and Reality Kings — to amplify the significance of its exclusivity. Pornhub's parent company is one of the biggest parties in a business where size really does matter, and it has an opportunity to exert real pressure on both competitors and existing users.

No one has figured out how to make people pay for porn

Of course, no amount of functionality or paywalling addresses the fleshy elephant in the room: no one has quite figured out how to make people pay for porn. Pornhub has benefitted from that basic fact in the past, and the launch of Premium feels like an attempt to have it both ways — a buffet of free views, polished off by a sweet bump in monthly subscriptions. And because this wouldn't be a Pornhub product launch without a tacky, head-slapping piece of promotion, you can check out their SFW Pornhub Premium clip below.


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