When I think of big industries making big bucks, I think of finance, energy, technology, pro-sports, mainstream entertainment and automobiles. But until recently I vastly underestimated the economic powerhouse of pornography.

Over ten years ago, Forbes magazine estimated profits from pornography at $56 billion worldwide and a different 2008 estimate came in at $100 BILLION worldwide, with $13 billion from the US alone. I don’t know about you, but I need some perspective to grasp what these numbers mean.

So here are some comps:

  • Apple, which is booming recently with skyrocketing sales of i-Pads, i-Phones and i-Pods, posted a profit of $11.6 billion for the quarter ending in April 2012.
  • In 2011, GM earned $6.1 billion selling cars while Ford came in around $7 billion.
  • Back in 2009, the worldwide sports events market (all ticketing, media and marketing revenues) for major sports was $64 billion. This is total revenue, not net profit, which would be less.

I hope you’re getting a feeling for how much money the porn industry is making. With these kinds of profits, you can imagine what their ability to buy influence and push their product is!

So which companies are making money off of pornography? Companies such as AT&T, Time-Warner, Comcast, DirecTV, Hilton, Sheraton, Radisson, VISA, MasterCard and American Express are just a few.  But you’d never know it from their company reports because they like to fly under the radar.

According to Dr. Donald L. Hilton, a neuro-surgeon who fights pornography, although AT&T makes millions selling porn each year, it’s not something the company wants to draw attention to. Quoted in Dr. Hilton’s book for recovering porn addicts, Jon Radloff, a former AT&T cable executive said, “We wanted to provide [pornography], but it wasn’t something that we touted in our advertising campaigns.”

So what does all this mean to us? It means that we live in a porn-saturated world with an insatiable appetite and a seemingly insatiable supply of pornographic material. It’s easy to find, easy to access and cheap to buy. And while we may not be able to rid the world of pornography, we can make a complete and total difference with our own children by starting early to “pornoculate” them.

It will make a difference, and it’s the only way that will work.

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.