Women’s Erotic Net Suffers Schism

Before it’s even launched, InPulse TV, an adult-entertainment pay channel aimed at women, has seen two of its four cofounding women partners split off and create a rival channel, 2 Hearts TV.

The two remaining InPulse partners, Kimberly Wilson and Shirley Rohn-Saito, disclosed the split in a press release Sunday about a Sept. 14 appearance by Wilson and Rohn-Saito on a syndicated TV show, Life & Style.

The release said that Sandra Staggs, who had been InPulse’s CEO, and Anne Aaronson, who held the president title, resigned in August “to return to their reality-TV writing together and animation business.”

But Staggs and Aaronson -- who have been trying to develop reality-TV series -- said they split from InPulse to begin a new venture they’re calling 2 Hearts TV. They said 2 Hearts would be more like what they initially tried to create with InPulse but were unable to achieve.

They describe what they’re doing as “romantic erotica” and said they don’t want it to be characterized as an adult network, although there will be sex in the programs.

The shows will “resemble a racier version of shows and movies like Nip/Tuck, Sex and the City, Basic Instinct, Unfaithful, Wild Orchid and Red Shoe Diaries,” Staggs said in a prepared statement Sunday. The target audience is “the hitherto underserved and untapped female erotic market, including the female romance reader, who is looking for cutting-edge content that is more frankly passionate than the usual television fare.”

2 Hearts plans to “license risqué novels and novellas from major romance and mystery publishing houses,” Staggs said, adding, “We intend to partner with mainstream writers and producers who have an interest in forging new trails that include strong, engaging story lines, evolving, true-to-life characters the viewer cares about and uninhibited, romantic sex.”

She didn’t say when the network would launch.

InPulse pointed to its male stars, named Julian and Mario, who appeared on the Life & Style segment, and to the principals’ track records. Wilson is an experienced adult-program producer who was and is creating the programming for InPulse. Rohn-Saito has a long background in affiliate marketing for such networks as ESPN, Video Jukebox, Adam & Eve and Spice.

InPulse had initially said it would launch -- as a video-on-demand adult service -- in the first quarter of 2004, but it has yet to launch. It’s aimed at “untapped market of erotic entertainment for women who enjoy men,” it said Sunday.

InPulse has drawn a fair amount of media attention -- including then-partners Staggs and Rohn-Saito getting grilled by Star Jones and company on ABC’s The View in January -- partly because of the telegenic appeal of its four founders.

Playgirl magazine is also launching an adult VOD service aimed at women.