A 'Playgirl' for Adult TV

Upstart adult network Blu-TV has teamed with magazine publisher Blue Horizon Media to create three adult-oriented PPV networks, including the first aimed exclusively at women.

The new venture, Trans Digital Media LLC, will convert Blue Horizon's popular Playgirl magazine brand into Playgirl TV, a 24-hour PPV network that is scheduled to launch in March, said Trans Digital president Mark Graff.

Blu-TV, which was set to launch next year will be renamed and launched as a video-on-demand service under the High Society moniker during the first quarter 2004, along with Cheri, an adult reality and lifestyles network.

Playgirl TV would be the first adult PPV network to truly target women. Despite the male-skewing appeal of adult PPV networks, Graff said women make up one-third of all such buys.

"A good portion of adult PPV programming is being [ordered] by women on the remote control." Graff said. "Why not give them more of what they're looking for?"

Along with females, Graff also said the network will all tap an underserved audience of homosexual men. "Fifty percent of Playgirl's readership is male, so it's an interesting way of tapping into the gay market without having to scream, 'We have a gay channel.' "

Graff said the service, which will launch in March, has generated favorable responses from operators, although no carriage deals have been consummated. Graff would not reveal PPV splits for the service, but operators typically keep as much as 80% to 90% of each adult PPV buy.

"Operators realize that the product won't cannibalize current adult content, but is complementary [to other adult PPV offerings,]" he said.

The network will not only offer adult movies, but profiles of male models and laymen around the world. "We'll also have content from female filmmakers who are both producing and starring in adult programming," Graff said.

The network will retail between $9.95 and $12.95, according to Graff, and will be offered in 90-minute and three-hour blocks. Playgirl TV will benefit from cross-promotions within Playgirl as well as 13 other Blue Horizon-published adult titles, reaching 2 million subscribers a month.

VOD Offerings

Along with Playgirl TV, Graff said the venture will also distribute two VOD-based adult services, stemming from adult publications. Graff's Blu-TV network will be renamed High Society, but will feature the same explicit, internationally and minority-based adult PPV programming of its predecessor.

Cheri will be a sex and reality lifestyle network. Much of the programming will follow the off-camera lives of porn stars, said Graff.

"Think of E! Entertainment Television for the adult industry, except that we can take it to the next level," he said.

Content for the two channels will be refreshed every week, he added.

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.