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Walmart Drops AVN 'After Dark' Porn Channel From Vudu

Walmart Drops AVN 'After Dark' Porn Channel From Vudu
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Feb 24, 2010 5:15 PM PST    Text size: 
BENTONVILLE, Ark.— Only two days after it announced that it is acquiring online digital content provider Vudu Inc, retail giant Walmart said it will drop the AVN “After Dark” adult programming channel.

Walmart’s decision came as no surprise to adult companies that were part of the Vudu offering considering its family-friendly reputation.

Neither Vudu nor AVN had responded to XBIZ inquiries by post time, however the AVN channel was no longer accessible on the Vudu site.

Reports today stated that a Vudu spokesperson confirmed Walmart would no longer offer adult programming on the service and that customers who had bought adult movies, as opposed to renting them, would have those purchases automatically refunded. No calls to VUDU (or Walmart) are necessary, the spokesperson said.

VUDU began emailing adult studios today with the news that it is discontinuing adult programming, the report said.

"As you may have recently heard, VUDU was acquired by Walmart," the email reads. "In conjunction with this acquisition we will be discontinuing the 'After Dark' adult service over the coming days. Upon completion of the shutdown process, we will settle all accounts with you and ensure that you are paid the full amount you are owed under our existing agreement." The company is also requesting that studios sign a voluntary termination notice.

XBIZ sought reactions from some of Vudu's top adult content suppliers.

Vivid Entertainment managing partner, Steve Hirsch told XBIZ that Vivid was not very concerned because Vudu had limited distribution and it was natural for them to become part of Walmart, a company that could expand Vudu's reach.

The effect on the adult business is limited according to Hirsch, who maintained that the set-top box experience is an interim step. “We’re really looking toward IPTV as the next move. We’re always seeking new platforms but we’re not considering moving to any new provider at this time,” Hirsch said.

Hustler President Michael Klein echoed Hirch's feeling about the limiting effect the move will have on adult considering that Walmart never carried adult DVDs, but he was not as optimistic about IPTV.

"We're always exploring IPTV deals but we're not moving our content because we're not really impressed with any particular IPTV carrier," Klein said.

Wicked Pictures' President and CEO Steve Orenstein said that it's certainly unfortunate that Walmart decided to drop adult from the platform but it’s not shocking.

"I believe that by doing this they have taken a choice out of consumers hands of what they want to buy. The adult offerings on Vudu, was set up so it would have to be activated on the TV by using a credit card that all future movie charges from the home would be billed to. I feel this set up was a great way to keep children from accessing it, while still giving the option to the consumer."

When asked what impact the move will have on adult, Orenstein said, "What does it mean? It just means that other systems and outlets like Fyre TV, cable television and the internet will continue to be the way for now, that people can get adult movies in the privacy of their homes. And that if they want one solution that gives them both mainstream movies and adult, Vudu isn't for them."

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