Adult TV Channels Gain Popularity in Europe

Bob Preston
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The American adult industry may be struggling along with the rest of the economy, but in Europe adult cable channels are booming.

A report release by the European Audiovisual Observatory shows that cable systems across the continent host about 6,500 channels. The United Kingdom leads all countries with 883 channels, while Germany boasts 300 and Italy a close third with 284.

All told, European TV markets play host to about 200 adult TV channels, though Spain lags way behind. Spain only offers its citizens 200 channels total.

The growth of adult TV offerings has continued despite a ban on televised adult content in Italy. In March 2007, regulators issued a permanent ban on over-the-air broadcast of adult content.

Italy’s Ministry of Communications issued the ban, which outlawed softcore porn aired on more than 500 local channels that lure an average of 1 million viewers nightly.

Despite the ban, adult programs can be shown on Italian TV after midnight. Violators of the ban could be fined between $6,600-$66,000. That stiff penalty didn't stop Private Media Group from launching a new adult TV channel in the nation over the summer.

In a partnership with Glamour Plus, Private launched Italy’s first adult digital terrestrial television (DTT) pay channel. The licensing agreement will make Private the first adult company to broadcast its content nationwide via DTT in Italy.

“This launch represents a new and compelling platform to distribute Private content to a large incremental audience in Italy. This is the beginning of what is expected to be a proliferation of DTT launches across the EU, and Private has taken an aggressive approach to maximizing its distribution as the leading adult content provider on this exciting new platform,” Private COO Peter Cohen said.