Playboy Plans Move Into Gay Market With Cable VOD

LOS ANGELES — Playboy Enterprises is planning a move into the gay market with softcore cable video-on-demand, XBIZ has learned.

With a working title of Gay Targeted VOD Package Service, Playboy plans to initially offer Time Warner Cable subscribers 20 hours of gay male programming. The service is slated to begin operating next month.

Although the Playboy brand has been linked with heterosexual men’s entertainment since its magazine's first issue in 1953, the company now describes itself more generally as "valuing sexiness and style" and is seeking more ways to diversify and boost its revenue.

Earlier this week Playboy said revenue dropped 8 percent compared to year-ago quarterly figures, with domestic TV revenue down by $2.6 million in the first three months of the year.

XBIZ learned of the move into the U.S. gay market in a letter dated March 31 to Time Warner Cable Vice President Melinda Witmer from Playboy President Bob Meyers, which added an amendment to its affiliation with the nation’s largest cable company.

According to the memo obtained by XBIZ, Playboy will offer “professionally produced adult programs selected by Playboy, targeted to the male gay community, edited to a standard no more explicit” than softcore pornography.

Each program in the package “may depict erect genitalia, male-on-male fellatio and simulated or implied sexual intercourse.”

But, according to the memo, content “shall not depict actual anal penetration, licking or anal sexual play of any kind.”

Male ejaculation and forced bondage also will be off limits.

Playboy officials did not immediately return phone calls to XBIZ.

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