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Playboy Defends Adding Spicier Shows

A desire to offer operators a full complement of adult pay-per-view services-and not competition-prompted Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s move next year into less-edited adult pay-per-view programming, said Playboy Television Group president Jim English.

But English acknowledged the potential revenue windfall from the more explicit fare that Playboy has avoided in the past. Avoiding such material had left room for other companies move in and steal Playboy's market share.

Next March, PEI will launch three new adult PPV services-Spice Platinum 1 and 2 and Spice Platinum Live-featuring the least-edited adult programming currently available on cable.

The networks, targeted for both digital and analog distribution, will offer more explicit programming than what's currently distributed by the most explicit adult networks, The Hot Network and The Erotic Network (TEN).

Spice Platinum and Spice Platinum 2 will feature versions of adult movies that are less heavily edited than those offered on edited-for-cable adult services Spice and Spice 2, English said. The films will be scheduled so Spice Platinum and Spice Platinum 2 will have a number of premieres.

The format for Spice Platinum Live is still being formulated, but English said the service would feature some live, interactive programming.

English said Playboy decided to offer the services to give operators access to a full range of adult PPV programming. "The operator can choose which service best suits his community," English said.

PEI currently offers traditional cable adult channels Playboy TV and Spice.

He denied the move toward less-edited programming was for competitive reasons. In recent years, Playboy has watched upstart companies such as New Frontier Media cut into its business with more explicit adult fare than Playboy was willing to offer at the time.

Services such as New Frontier's TEN and The Hot Network-which Playboy sold to Vivid Video because it didn't want its brand associated with the racier product-have generated generate buy-rates 50 percent to 100 percent higher than the milder Playboy and Spice adult fare.

Because of the high demand for such adult programming, operators are charging higher suggested retail prices for those networks. They also take home between 80 percent and 90 percent of all revenue from the sales.

English would not detail the rate card for the three networks.