Adult Service Sues TWC Over Editing Standards

A New York-based adult-movie
service is claiming discrimination in court
because Time Warner Cable held it to “an unreasonably
high editing standard.”

Adult VOD Inc. earlier this month filed a
complaint in New York State Supreme Court
claiming that Time Warner Cable discriminated
against the company in the distribution
of its double-X-rated adult pay-per-view

(While the Motion Picture Association of
America replaced the X ratings with the NC-
17 “No Children Under 17 Admitted” rating in
1990, “X” is still used among adult producers.
The more Xs, the more explicit the content.)

The suit said Time Warner Cable forced
excessive edits in the shows while allowing
Adult VOD’s competitors, like Playboy TV, to
maintain a more-explicit standard, thereby
limiting its ability to compete in the lucrative
adult video-on-demand marketplace,
according to the complaint.

Adult VOD executives said the company
lwas in the process of filing an amendment
to the suit that alleges Time Warner Cable
violated the Robinson-Patman Act that prohibits
anti-competitive practices — and, in
particular, price discrimination.

Adult VOD is seeking more than $2 million
in damages, according to the suit.

“The actions of TWC left AVOD with a severe
gap in revenue from which it would be
difficult to recover under the conditions imposed
by TWC,” the company said.

Time Warner Cable executives would not
comment on the suit.

The suit alleges that in 2001 Time Warner
Cable agreed to offer AVOD’s “soft core”
adult content via its PPV channels, but failed
to allow the company to upgrade to more explicit,
double-X content five years later when
the MSO granted the same permissions to
AVOD’s competitors, cutting into AVOD’s
PPV revenues.

After reaching an agreement to offer double-
X content, the suit also claims that TWC
“agent” Eric Goldberg made unreasonable
demands for excessive edits to AVOD’s content
— which included hiring a third-party
editing company to ensure that all programming
was compliant with expected standards
— resulting in “prohibitive costs” to AVOD.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.