Flynt: Hustler VOD is Coming

On the eve of its 30th anniversary, Hustler magazine is taking its signature adult-content brand into the pay-per-view and video-on-demand business with a new cable-targeted service.

LFP Inc.-owned Hustler TV On Demand will launch in April as a VOD service, branching into PPV and subscription businesses by the summer, LFP Broadcasting executive vice president Michael Klein said.

Several new adult-content VOD services have eyed a spring launch. As operators consider themselves about 75% done with their on-demand rollouts (see story, page 26), they're eager to jump-start buy-rates, and adult services have always been reliable drivers of revenue.

Other entries include one that bears the Playgirl
magazine brand. In Demand, the MSO-owned PPV and VOD distributor, also plans to extend into more explicit sexual content.

Hustler product has aired on such networks as Playboy TV and New Frontier Media's TEN services, and LFP owns explicit-content rights to the In Demand-distributed PPV series Who Wants To Be A Porn Star? But this would be the first U.S.-based, Hustler-branded service.

LFP operates a Hustler Channel PPV service in Canada in partnership with Canadian-based TEN Network (no relation to New Frontier).

Hustler TV On Demand would offer mostly XX-rated adult programming — adapted to softer or more explicit content by request — from a library of movies and original programming, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt said in an interview. "Obviously, we'll leave [the choice of versions] up to the [cable or satellite] provider," Flynt said.

Flynt said LFP produces nearly 40 titles a month via studio partners, including VCA Pictures. The VOD product will offer 50 hours of programming per month with a 50% refresh rate.

Even with Playboy, TEN and, more recently, In Demand in the market, Flynt saw room for another well-known player.

"There's a shortage in the actual programming that's available in the marketplace," he said, adding, "the brand name of Hustler is more important than we ever thought it was in the past."

Klein said he's close to completing negotiations with operators about VOD launches, but had no deals yet. LFP also is pitching a PPV version, with three-hour blocks of programming on a 24-hour basis.

Klein called Hustler's rate card "very competitive" with other adult PPV networks, although he would not be specific. Operator splits for adult content range from 70% to 90% per buy.

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.