Buoyed by interest from several cable operators, The Erotic
Network (TEN) has moved up its launch date to Aug. 15 from Sept. 1.
The pay-per-view adult service will launch with about
80,000 addressable subscribers -- mostly from small systems in the Northeast and Puerto
Rico. But the service is in talks with several top 10 MSOs for potential distribution
later this year, insisted Matt Cohen, chief operating officer for TEN.
The digital service, which provides more explicit adult
programming than traditional adult services Playboy TV, Spice Networks and Adam & Eve,
decided to launch 15 days early in response to a request from affiliates.
"The operators that are initially launching the
service wanted to have the signal up and running as quickly as possible, so we thought it
would be in the best interest of our affiliates and the company to launch Aug. 15,"
TEN, whose feed will run on the Telstat 4, Transponder 2
satellite slot, is expected to battle with Playboy's recently-acquired Spice Hot
service for the lucrative but somewhat limited explicit adult service.
However, sources close to the situation said last week that
Playboy may either discontinue or sell Spice Hot. Such explicit programming often doubles
and even triples traditional adult PPV buy-rates, but public relations-minded operators
are concerned about how such fare plays in their respective communities. And Playboy might
feel that Spice Hot does not fit in with its image.
Nevertheless, TEN expects to be in front of 4 million
addressable households within a year, said Bill Mossa, vice president of affiliate sales
for the network.
Cohen added that the programming, along with special rate
card incentives, will help drive operator launches, although he would not reveal the
network's licensing proposals. Sources close to the situation, however, said that
Frontier is offering splits of at least 70 percent to subscribers. That would match
current splits for Spice, but would fall short of the 80 percent to 90 percent deals
offered by Spice Hot, Adam & Eve and Playboy's AdultVision, according to
Systems, however, will be able to take part in a
"revenue sharing" plan that will significantly increase operator returns, TEN
executives said, with operators earning an undisclosed percentage of the total revenue
generated by TEN.