It was only a matter of time until Internet porn put a significant blow in cable and satellite companies' profits. These porn distributors of yesteryear are hurting, reports the Wall Street Journal's Sam Schechner and Jessica E. Vascellaro. "On Thursday, satellite provider DirecTV cited lower adult buys" as a cause for weaker pay-per-view revenue in its second quarter earnings. That followed Time Warner Cable Inc.'s admission last week that shrinkage in the adult category was responsible for more than a third of a $14 million drop in video-on-demand revenue." TV porn is on its death bed, but why now? The proliferation of x-rated Web content isn't a new phenomenon, but at this point Internet technologies have reached a point where making and viewing online porn just makes more sense. 

More people are flocking to the Internet for their porn fix. "The average time spent during each visit to an adult site has grown 26% since 2008, to eight minutes and 35 seconds, according to Experian Hitwise, a unit of Experian PLC," Schechner and Vascellaro note. But the following improvements in online porn technologies are the real reason people have forgone the tube for PornoTube.

Webcams.  Anyone can own a webcam. They're cheap; easy to use; and now many computers come with built-in technologies, which give a much clearer picture than earlier webcam tech. The proliferation of this technology has caused the amateur pornography scene to explode, explains New York's Benjamin Wallace. "Expand the idea of amateur, though, to encompass a whole new set of outsiders for whom cam sites and tubes have provided a cheap, almost barrierless way to make, distribute, and sell videos of themselves having sex, well, then, we’re living in a grand age of micro-smut, a burgeoning empire of lemonade-stand porn." 

Not only can more people make their own porn in a cheap, easy, and quick way. But it has also created a new type of fetish: the live-cam show, continues Wallace. Some enjoy the idea of watching a live-web cam--you can't get that from Pay-Per View and because of piracy laws, these became especially successful business models, continues Wallace.

Unlike recorded porn, live cams are immune to piracy, which has made them especially successful as a business proposition. In this sense, the cams function as anti-tubes, but the two technologies have together opened up an entirely new frottage industry, so to speak: a grassroots, DIY porn democracy where anyone with a bedroom, a cam, and a web connection can set up as a one-woman or -man operation.

Youtube. Once YouTube came along, offering a platform to make and share free videos en masse, it took less than a year for the porn equivalents to launch. This type of content distribution really gave a boost to the Internet porn market, explains Wallace. "The 'tube sites,' YouTube-like repositories of content that is often free, and often pirated. 'Tubes are going to destroy our industry,' says Sunny Leone, 29, an Indian-American knockout who is celebrating eight nominations this evening." 

Chatroullete. The technology behind Chatroulette, a site where people can go from one random video chat encounter to the next, isn't new, explains New York's Sam Anderson. "ChatRoulette feels radically new, it’s built entirely out of recycled parts—it's just a potent combination of programs we’ve all been familiar with for years. Web chat has been around since the beginning of the Internet." But combining video chat with randomization made it unique, and ripe for amateur porn, explains The New Yorker's Julia Ioffe."The technology behind Chatroulette is fairly basic and not particularly new. But by combining video-chatting technology and randomization Ternovskiy has bucked a decade-long trend that has made the Internet feel progressively more organized, pleasant, and safe." But Chatroullete spawned another Internet porn fetish--random live web-cam sessions. While the site started off relatively pleasant, it quickly devolved into an amateur porn-site, making it a lot easier for anyone to hook up a webcam and both make and find amateur porn. Also, the randomization added another tantalizing aspect--you just can't get that on TV.