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that 30 percent of American households with Internet access visited online sex industry sites at least once per month. 134

Any item produced by the sex industry-magazines, videos, CD ROMS-is always much more expensive than similar non-pornographic materials. The high prices and profit margins of pornographic materials keeps the revenue and profit high for the sex industry. In 1996 Americans spent more than US$9 billion on pornographic videos, peep shows, live sex shows, pornographic cable programs, pornographic magazines and computer pornography. That amount is more than many other entertainment businesses, such as film, music, and theater (See Table 1). To put that amount in some context, according to War on Want, US$9 billion is enough to provide debt relief for the world’s 20 worst affected countries.135 These revenue figures don’t include the millions of dollars made illegally through the sale of women in brothels, massage parlors, or on the street, or the sale of illegal materials, such as child pornography.

Table 1 1996 US Entertainment Industry Revenues136

New books

$26.10 billion

Magazine publishing

$11.18 billion

Sex industry

$9.00 billion

Recorded music

$8.15 billion

Film industry

$5.90 billion

Theatre, ballet, opera

$1.69 billion

Computer gaming

$1.10 billion

The highest revenue for legal materials produced by the sex industry was for the sale and rental of pornographic videos at US$5 billion dollars, followed by strip clubs at US$2 billion. Sex industry sites on the Internet earned US$925 million in 1996 (See Table 2). Estimates of the amount of money being made on the Internet by the sex industry vary widely between sources. The only thing analysts agree on is that a lot of money is being made and the rate of growth is exponential. According to David Schwartz, a phone sex business operator who switched to the online sex business, “The Internet is where the big money is right now.137

Table 2 1996 US Sex Industry Revenues138

Adult CD-ROMs Cable (pay-per-view) Phone sex Online sex sites Strip clubs

$75 million $325 million $750 million $925 million $2 billion

Adult video sales, rentals

$5 billion

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