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Playboy Launches High-Definition Adult Channel

December 3, 2003

Adult entertainment company Playboy Enterprises Inc on Tuesday unveiled a digital high-definition television channel that expands its products for cable TV operators seeking new services to boost their revenues.

Chicago-based Playboy will launch the Spice HD channel starting on Dec. 4, becoming the first adult TV content provider to offer programs in the high-definition format that offers viewers sharper pictures.

"Offering our exclusive programming in this contemporary format will not only provide our viewers with cutting edge entertainment, it will also provide additional revenue streams for our affiliates" Jeff Jenest, general manager of Playboy's Spice Digital Networks division, said in a statement.

Spice HD will offer over 1,200 hours of "high-def" programs featuring live daily shows such "Spice Clips" and a TV reality series called "Unzipped."

Playboy, which is best known for its flagship men's magazine that is now celebrating its 50th anniversary, has in recent years turned to TV as a primary growth engine.

"As technologies grow in terms of digital cable and satellite homes, as well as Internet use and even new platforms like wireless , I think Playboy will grow with them." Christie Hefner said in a recent interview with Reuters.

The unveiling of Spice HD comes as the cable industry starts its annual Western Show convention in Southern California where content and other product providers show off their latest wares to cable TV operators.

A Playboy spokesman said the company has not yet signed up any cable TV operators to carry Spice HD, but it does have a deal to provide Playboy TV shows in high-def to new satellite TV service, Voom, from Cablevision Systems .

Offering high-def programs can allow cable TV services to charge higher fees for shows and movies, as well as sign up subscribers who own TV sets that can process digital signals.

In the future, digital programs are expected to usher in new video-on-demand services, in which a subscriber can watch any show at anytime for a set fee.