Inside Move: More porn from Blu-TV

Spice founder takes world view on PPV pix

Mark Graff is convinced that people aren’t buying enough pay-per-view porno, so he has a solution: the creation of a adult PPV channel called Blu-TV, slated to launch in the third quarter.

“I want our channel to become the National Geographic of erotica,” says Graff, a 20-year industry vet who founded the Spice Channel, the hit adult network eventually swallowed up by Playboy Enterprises.

Graff says cable and satellite subscribers are bored with the sameness of porn movies shot in California’s San Fernando Valley, so he plans to fill Blu-TV’s schedule with adult films from around the globe. Blu-TV owns an equity stake in XY Pictures, which has a library of 1,500 porn pics made in Europe. Graff will market branded blocks of international programming under umbrella headings like “Blu Nile,” “Euro-Trash” and “Spanish Fly.”

To spice up domestic offerings, Blu-TV will focus on themed programs, including underground and urban.

Graff now has to sell cable operators and satellite distributors on taking Blu-TV.

Toward that end, his editors will be stingy with the scissors. Based on past performance, the more explicit the movie, the better the PPV buy rate. “We’ll run movies as hard as the hardest-core network in the business,” he says. And he’ll be flexible on the deal with cable operators, who not only won’t pay any license fees to Blu-TV but could pocket more than 90% of each PPV dollar.

Analyst Dennis McAlpine says getting carriage will be tough, as Playboy is dominant in the field, distributing five nets that run the gamut from soft-core to va-va-voom. “But Mark Graff really knows the business,” McAlpine says. “I wouldn’t bet against him.”

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