Flash Takes a Blow as Porn Industry Backs HTML 5

Where the porn industry goes, technology follows, and right now the porn industry is moving towards HTML 5 and away from Adobe Flash. Digital Playground, one of the big name players in the industry, has already begun supporting HTML 5 for its online content and plans to drop Flash completely as more desktop Web browsers gain support for the standard-in-development, according to Conceivably Tech.

By transitioning from Flash to HTML 5, the porn industry expects it will be able to target a wider range of online devices than it can with Flash, especially since the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad don’t support Adobe’s multimedia format. “We are waiting for browsers to catch up. As soon as they are ready, we will move everything to HTML 5,” said Digital Playground founder Ali Joone.

Portable devices, like Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones seem to be at least partially behind the move away from Flash.

“First there was the TV. Then there was the PC, which is now shared by the entire family and it’s not personal anymore,” Mr. Joone said. “The phone is very personal to us, which is why our content works on this platform.”

The debate over where Flash fits in the future of online media became a big deal when Apple began prohibiting iPhone apps that are built with third-party tools like Flash CS5. In an open letter posted on Apple’s Web site, company CEO Steve Jobs said “We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.”

The porn industry has been supporting HTML 5 along with Flash for the past couple years so customers with smartphones could view content. Moving to HTML 5-only support will let companies put resources into supporting a single format instead of multiple formats.

While the porn industry may be migrating towards HTML 5 and away from Flash, that doesn’t mean Adobe’s dominant multimedia format is dead in the water. Flash is nearly ubiquitous on the Internet, and many companies have invested substantial amounts of money in supporting and maintaining Flash content.

The porn industry has, however, played a big role in determining which technologies thrive and which whither and die. The industry, for example settled on VHS which ultimately killed Beta Max as a mainstream format, and more recently boosted Blu-ray by turning its back on HD-DVD.

The porn industry has also been a heavy user of Flash, although it looks like the big name players in the market are ready to move on to HTML 5. “It’s the next passing of the torch,” Mr. Joone said.