Playboy TV Channel Is Surfing The Web

Playboy TV wants to take its brand of adult-targeted original content to the Web.

The service is talking to operators about launching an all-inclusive linear and online option tied into the network's monthly premium channel, according to Playboy TV vice president of programming Todd Schwartz.

With 70% of the network's viewers watching Playboy TV on a monthly subscription basis — and with a slew of new original series and content either currently on the air or in development — Schwartz said the network is looking at options to make it more convenient for subscribers to access Playboy video content on multiple platforms.

“We definitely are exploring the 'TV Everywhere' model,” Schwartz said. “We're in discussions with the major cable and satellite players about how the television everywhere play will work.”

Much like HBO and Showtime, he said subscribers looking to access the network's programming on the Web will have to verify their Playboy TV monthly subscription.

Currently, the network mostly runs older reality series content such as Sexcetera and Totally Busted on for $19.95 per month. But over the next few months, Playboy TV will begin to offer full-length episodes of more recent original series online four to six months after they air on the premium channel.

A TV Everywhere model would provide full access to all of the network's original content and movies, although Schwartz said there are no plans to stream Playboy TV in real time over the Web. is expected to launch a new video player sometime in the first quarter that will better enhance viewers' experience.

Playboy TV's online-authentication discussions come as the network pushes aggressively into the original-series space. Since April, the network has premiered new seasons of at least one original series per month on weeknights at 9 p.m. That hourlong block is expected to expand to two hours in December, according to Schwartz.

Among the new series that Playboy TV has launched: Show Us Your Wits, a game show in which guys who think they're getting a lap dance wind up competing in a quiz show to win various prizes; E-rotic, which explores sex-themed sites on the Web; Search for the Perfect Girlfriend, in which men explain why their girlfriends should appear in Playboy magazine; and Foresome, in which four single men and women shack up under the same roof for 24 hours.

Last Friday (Sept. 25) the network launched its first “crossover” series, King of Clubs, a behind-the-scenes look at a family-owned Las Vegas strip club. “We look at it as similar to [TLC's] Ace of Cakes or American Chopper, but for Playboy,” Schwartz said.

In development is a new competition series, Playboy Shootout, in which photographers and models vie for a feature layout in Playboy magazine.

The network is also looking at a potential scripted series, according to Schwartz.

“What will facilitate our growth is our programming, so we need content that is going to be targeted to adults but that can also appeal to mainstream audiences,” Schwartz said. “We're taking the approach that the programming should be sexy, but doesn't have to be hard-core sex all the time.”

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.