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Playboy Looks to Spice Up HD

Cable operators can’t get Playboy TV in HDTV, but they can add a dash of Spice HD to customers’ lives.

Spice Digital Networks will offer a late-night block of explicit adult-oriented programming to operators beginning this month, general manager Jeff Jenest said last week.

Playboy Entertainment Group -- which owns Spice Digital Networks and Playboy TV -- developed the nightly 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Spice HD block for operators after reaching an exclusive distribution deal for Playboy TV with Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Voom direct-broadcast satellite service.

Original programming for the eight Spice digital networks is already being developed in new, multimillion-dollar, HD-enabled production facilities.

Overall, Spice HD will produce 1,200 hours of HDTV programming in 2004, utilizing the 1080i (interlaced) standard.

Programming slated to appear on the service includes new live daily shows such as The Nooner and Spice Clips. Spice HD also will premiere new reality series Unzipped and movies showcasing the hottest stars in the adult-entertainment industry.

Spice is in negotiations with numerous MSOs about Spice HD, but no deals have been struck. Jenest said the rate card would not differ from Spice’s typical 70%-80% revenue split with operators.

For more on Spice HD, please see R. Thomas Umstead’s story on page 12 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

R. Thomas Umstead
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.