Graff Returns With New Adult Service

Spice Networks founder Mark Graff will throw his hat back into the adult PPV ring with the third-quarter debut of a new adult pay-per-view service, featuring programming from around the world.

Blu-TV will provide operators with a PPV and video-on-demand service featuring explicit adult programming and very high revenue splits, according to Graff, chairman and CEO of the privately owned service.

Blu-TV, which is up and running in Europe, has extensive programming deals and alliances with small underground labels for domestic product that's not seen on traditional adult PPV channels like Playboy TV or The Erotic Network. To reach minority viewers, Graff also will program urban hip-hop, Asian and Latin-themed programming.

"Blu-TV will offer premier programming with the kind of attitude that will generate new energy and jolt buy-rates for operators," Graff said.

Graff said he's offering operators a bigger share of the revenue than the 90 percent paid by adult PPV services such as TEN. He's in discussions with a number of MSOs for distribution deals, he said, but has none yet.

In 2002, the adult genre generated $609 million for the PPV industry, up 15 percent from 2001.

At least one executive at a midsized-MSO said Graff could have trouble gaining distribution. "We already have a number of adult PPV networks," the executive said. "The adult PPV business is strong, but there is a limit to its appeal."

Graff formed Graff PPV in 1987 and launched the Spice Network two years later, to compete with the genre's biggest player at the time, Playboy TV. Playboy bought Spice in 1988.

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.