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In Demand Heats Up

Pay-per-view and video-on-demand programmer In Demand is planning to acquire "hot" adult-movie titles to distribute on its platform, joining Playboy Entertainment Group Inc. and New Frontier Media Inc. in the lucrative explicit-adult-movie genre.

Sources close to In Demand said its board of directors -- consisting of representatives from Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications Inc. -- voted to allow In Demand to buy and distribute movies and events via VOD that are edited more liberally than traditional adult cable fare.

In Demand currently offers an adult-oriented linear PPV channel dubbed Hot Choice, which offers cable-edited adult movies, events and specials that aren’t much more sexually explicit than what’s offered on pay services like Cinemax and Showtime.

In Demand executives would not comment on the matter. Comcast, Cox and Time Warner executives could not be reached for comment by deadline.

But New Frontier president Ken Boenish said the risks In Demand and its owners assume with regard to editing and standards issues may not be worth the potential revenue return.

"Looking at it on a risk-reward basis, it clearly does not make sense for In Demand to get into that business, especially given its owners," he added. "They have a lot to risk if In Demand makes any mistakes, either in editing the movies for particular standards or assurance of [actor age-verification standards] compliance."

In recent years, operators have slowly and quietly moved toward offering more explicit adult content, which generates as much as 50% more PPV buys as traditional adult cable programming, according to operators.

While such fare is still considered taboo for operators to talk about -- or to market -- the adult-PPV business has nevertheless been one of the industry’s few consistent revenue generators.

For more on In Demand, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page one of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.