Playboy Adds Live PPV Net

Playboy TV will attempt to take interactive adult programming to a new level with the launch of a 24-hour Spice Live channel in December.

The new premium adult channel will offer live, interactive programming blocks that for the first time will enable to view and interact directly with specific shows and adult entertainers.

The network, which will launch Dec. 1, is an offshoot of Spice Clips, a live, hosted show featuring clips from adult movies currently running on Playboy's Hot Zone PPV network. The programming block generates around 127,000 calls a month from viewers requesting adult video vignettes, as well as those interacting with adult star "clip jockeys," according to Spice Digital Networks general manager Jeff Jenest.

"We knew that it was a test of the concept of live programming on what had previously been our movie services," Jenest said. "We know from our research that we have a lot of repeat and loyal viewers."

Spice Clips will anchor the new Spice Live network, along with The Nooner, which will encourage callers to have intimate rendezvous either at home or in the office during lunchtime hours. Playboy will use actual couples to host the show.

Unzipped, a reality show in which ordinary people are encouraged to participate in various sexual situations, is also planned for the network.

"There will also be opportunities to preview scenes from movies or to showcase some of the programs that we have playing in our video-on-demand platter," Jenest said.

Jenest would not disclose how many subscribers will have access to the network at launch, but said the network is working on several distribution deals. Currently, Playboy's Spice, Spice 2, Spice Platinum, Spice Hot, Hot Network, Hot Zone and Hot Network Plus are in a combined 26 million homes.

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.