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Cable Operators

Playboy Pushing SVOD Service

12/19/2004 7:00 PM Eastern

Playboy Entertainment Group is hoping to reinvigorate its content brand through a greater emphasis on its subscription video-on-demand service.

Playboy On Demand, which is currently airing on Cablevision Systems Corp. systems, combines programming from the company’s 11 premium, pay-per-view and video-on-demand channels, including Playboy TV, and the family of Spice networks, said Jim Griffiths, president of PEG.

Playboy is talking to several MSOs, including Comcast Corp., about distributing the service, which can be packaged with the Playboy TV premium service. Playboy would not reveal a subscriber count for its premium network.

But Griffiths said satellite provider DirecTV Inc. is generating significant business with the Playboy TV subscription product, although he would not specify.

“We know there’s demand for the product, so now we’re offering to the cable customer a substantially enhanced product through SVOD,” he said. “The success satellite is having is really forcing cable to go that extra nine yards; they know that it’s a driver.”

Playboy’s grip on the adult PPV industry has been lessened somewhat over the years by upstart companies such as New Frontier Media Inc., which offers numerous VOD channels, often with better revenue splits for operators.

But Griffiths said the combination of Playboy’s VOD offerings, its premium network and its subscription VOD service provide operators with content for all of their distribution needs.

“Nobody has the breadth and depth of programming to deliver and refresh on a monthly basis like we do,” Griffiths said. “We have 11,000 programs in our inventory, and we’re well suited to develop even more programming.”

Playboy is also pitching operators on its high-definition channel, which is currently running on DirecTV and Cablevision’s HD satellite service VOOM.

Griffiths, who took his current role last January, restructured the entertainment division to place oversight for both television and Internet under one roof. He said the two platforms offer consumers content on demand, while giving operators the ability to sell critical VOD and broadband services.

That includes more explicit adult content. While Playboy was slow to offer the hotter adult product, Griffiths said the company, through its various VOD services, will now offer programming in all legal adult editing formats.

“We will produce whatever our distributors want to distribute,” he said.

Griffiths added that impending adult VOD competition from such established adult brands as Hustler, Playgirl, High Society and Cheri only helps the category.

“The more people talk about it, the more opportunities are created,” he said. “But none of them have the breadth and depth as we do.”

September