Friday, January 21, 2011

LDS-Owned Marriott Hotel Chain To Stop Offering Adult Movies Due To Declining Pay-Per-View Rental Revenue

For many years, anti-Mormons have scored propaganda points from the fact that the Mariott Hotel chain, owned by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offered adult movies to its guests. Even members of the LDS Church questioned whether or not this was truly consistent with LDS values.

Not any more. USA Today and Gawker report that Marriott will stop offering adult movies incrementally. First, they will exclude it from new hotel rooms to be opened in the next several years. Traditional video systems, which included access to adult content displayed in the menu selection, will be replaced by Internet-based video-on-demand systems. Then, they will retrofit existing hotels, according to Gawker.

The decision is based upon economics. While Marriott didn't cite its own figures, hotels in general have seen revenue from providing pay-per-view movies in rooms shrink as more guests bring their own entertainment portals. Hotels typically pocket around 10 percent of the pay-per-view fees. According to Colliers PKF Hospitality Research, hotels now collect about 39 percent fewer dollars from all pay-per-view movie rentals than they did a decade ago. The average hotel collects about $175 per available room per year, down from $288 in 2000. But there has long been a sense of uneasiness within the company about profiting off of something that a growing number of people now consider sleazy and sinful.

Another reason for declining revenues is that some government agencies are prohibiting any of their employees from staying at hotels that offer adult movies. In September 2010, ABC News reported that the Winona County (MN) Commissioners passed a new "clean hotel" policy forbidding employees from staying at such properties. The new policy would not apply to hotels hosting conferences or cases when porn-free hotels cost at least 15 percent more than alternative hotels that offer adult programming. The commissioners said pornography leads to sexual and domestic violence and that they hope to pressure hotels to drop these services. The commissioners believe Winona is the first county in the country to pass such a regulation. Undoubtedly, others will follow suit if they haven't already done so.

Don't expect Marriott to ban liquor at their facilities to become Word of Wisdom-compliant, though. And there's really no need for them to go that far; there's nothing sleazy about having a cocktail lounge.

But porn itself is inherently sleazy. Good decision by Marriott - we need to be setting the example and start acting like a peculiar people once again. Just because we're in the world doesn't mean we need be of the world.

Update February 1st: In the Mormon Times, Elia Gourgouris weighs in. While he applauds their decision, he's disappointed that the motivation is strictly economical. He also believes it should be immediately done chain-wide rather than be phased out over five years. He cites the example of Omni, which decided to go porn-free in 1999. At the time, Omni spokeswoman Caryn Kboudi said, "The ownership decided that it was not a way they wanted to make money." That's what Gourgouris cites as "real leadership".

1 comment:

windowpane said...

When Salt Lake City tried to ban porn the community standard defense was employed, claiming that people in Salt Lake wanted porn... their evidence was that the Marriott Hotel chain (among others) made a great deal of money viewing porn in hotel/motels and that these people lived mostly in Salt lake.