In an effort to better position itself against Playboy
Entertainment Group Inc.'s networks, New Frontier Television will launch a second,
less spicy pay-per-view adult service June 1.
The service, Pleasure, will feature cable-edited adult
films and other programming, New Frontier CEO Mark Kreloff said.
The service has already signed up Time Warner Cable's
West Valley, Canyon County and South Pasadena, Calif., systems for distribution,
representing more than 139,000 subscribers.
New Frontier is reacting to operators that want competition
for Playboy's lineup. Playboy last month completed its acquisition of Spice
Entertainment Cos., and it now controls three adult-PPV services: Playboy TV, Spice and
Spice 2 (formerly Adam & Eve and AdulTVision, respectively).
New Frontier already distributes The Erotic Network, but
many operators felt that TEN's explicit programming was unsuitable in their
The new service's economics are appealing, according
to operators. While Kreloff would only say that the network offered "very
competitive" rates, sources said it will return 80 percent of PPV revenues to
operators. That compares favorably with Playboy's current 60-40 split and
Spice's 70-30 split.
Pleasure is also offering charter affiliations and other
deals relating to TEN carriage that could increase the split even more, Kreloff said.
New Frontier is trying to snare a major piece of the
lucrative adult-PPV pie, which generated more than $300 million in revenues last year,
according to Showtime Event Television figures. For many systems, adult still represents
20 percent to 50 percent of all PPV revenues.
New Frontier is also attempting to establish itself in a
genre that Playboy thought it had cornered with its purchase of Spice. TEN currently has
more than 3 million subscribers, but that pales in comparison with the combined 23 million
households that Playboy currently serves.
At least one top 10 MSO executive said he plans to launch
Pleasure in at least one of the MSO's Southwest systems. "Playboy has a great
brand, but that brand won't generate enough buys to make up for the better licensing
fees that [Pleasure] offers," the executive said.
Playboy representatives could not be reached by press time.