Adelphia Nixes Triple-X

Adelphia Communications Corp. is retreating from its plan to sell triple-X films to cable subscribers, responding to criticism of the recent addition of  the most graphic category of adult fare to its programming lineup.

The company, which previously carried X and double-X films, quietly started distributing triple-X fare provided by Playboy Enterprises Inc. at the end of last year.

It had planned a gradual rollout in its systems across the country.

Adult films are among the most profitable products cable and satellite TV operators sell. They earn relatively low profit margins on their basic plans, but keep 80%-90% of the money from adult programming sales.

Adelphia, which is in bankruptcy protection and up for sale, added X and double-X rated adult entertainment to its lineup in 2003 in a bid to boost flagging revenues. The Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 2 that the company had broadened that lineup to include XXX-rated films.

“Some concern has been expressed over this type of adult programming,” company spokesman Paul Jacobson said in a terse written statement provided to B&C on Wednesday. “Adelphia will remove it from all of its systems."

Definitions vary, but according to the LA Times article, single-X-rated movies feature nudity, long-range or panoramic and medium-range camera shots, simulated sex and sex between women. Double-X shows actual intercourse and oral sex, while triple-X movies feature increasingly graphic and detailed depictions of those and other practices.

Adelphia said it plans to continue carrying X- and double-X-rated films. It adds that the programming is distributed by other cable and satellite companies with readily available technology to block it.
One of those is Dish Network, which has five channels offering double- and triple-X films.
"We're trying to provide a diversity of programming in a responsible manner," says Dish Network spokesman Steve Caulk. Dish also distributes eight religious channels, 40 family education channels and the widest range of international programming of any cable or satellite system in the United States, Caulk points out.

Adult product is never included in subscribers' basic packages. Anyone who wants it has to specifically order it, and anyone who is offended by adult product never has to see it, though they may see promotions for the channels.

Dish and Adelphia both allow customers to block anyone in the house from viewing adult fare using parental-filtering tools.