In Demand will distribute a cable-exclusive music concert featuring popular but controversial rap artist Eminem in February.
But the event may face opposition from some operators who feel the rapper's often homophobic and misogynistic lyrics won't play well in more conservative communities.
The taped concert, set to premiere Feb. 17, will feature a rare television performance from Eminem, who was nominated for four Grammy Awards last week, including album of the year for The Marshall Mathers LP.
The critically acclaimed album has sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. and spent 31 weeks on the BillboardMagazine
album chart-eight of those at No. 1.
Eminem's previous album, Slim Shady
, earned the rapper two Grammy Awards.
Recently, Eminem was named artist of the year by the respected music publication Rolling Stone.
The event, which will feature material from both albums and also includes the up-and-coming Rap group D-12, will retail at a suggested $19.95.
"In Demand is pleased to deliver what promises to be one of the biggest music events in years to the PPV industry," said In Demand senior vice president of programming and development Dan York.
The concert could provide a major boost to the PPV music genre, which has thus far failed to establish itself as a consistently strong revenue generator.
PPV has also struggled to attract high-profile artists, often settling for older acts or catching performers at the end of lengthy tours after their exposure has been maximized.
During those rare times when the industry has had the opportunity to showcase top acts at the peak of their popularity-like New Kids On the Block in the early 1990s or The Spice Girls later in the decade-the concerts have generated record buys for a music event.
But rarely has PPV offered such a controversial figure. Eminem's lyrics have drawn the ire of women's and anti-hate groups.
In particular, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has been down on the rapper for his often violent and hateful lyrics targeting gays and lesbians.
On its Web site ( www.glaad.org
), the group claims Eminem's lyrics "explicitly convey and encourage hatred of real people.Eminem's message resonates with the young people who buy his CDs, listen to his music on the radio and watch him on television.many of those same people pose a real threat to the safety of our community."
York said the show will be taped and edited "to reflect the same concert performance that Eminem has toured the country with."
At least one operator is concerned about possible subscriber backlash from carrying the concert.
If it were up to me I wouldn't carry it, but nobody is forcing subscribers to order the show," said the operator. "Those who don't want to see the show don't have to see it. You still have to make a conscious effort to have the show come into your home."
But one MSO PPV executive said the company wouldn't have a problem offering the event to its subscribers. "Eminem is one of the hottest performers in music today, and we expect the concert to do very well," said the executive.