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More on Adelphia’s Backing Off Porn

Los Angeles- Adelphia Communications Corp. said it is ending a short-lived attempt at getting into the lucrative hard-core porn industry in response to public outcry.

The nation’s fifth-largest cable television company earlier this month launched triple-X video-on-demand programming in certain markets, including Southern California, where about two-thirds of Adelphia’s 1.2 million subscribers could view the adult programs.

The hard-core porn, supplied by Playboy Enterprises Inc., was not widely advertised and it could be blocked to prevent children from watching.

The move to offer porn was a radical departure for Adelphia, the largest cable provider in Southern California. Five years ago, Adelphia stirred a local controversy by dropping Spice – a popular soft-porn channel – from newly acquired cable systems because Adelphia founder John Rigas considered X-rated programming immoral.

Today, the 80-year-old Rigas and one of his sons are facing prison terms after being convicted last summer for looting the company and engaging in fraudulent accounting.

Adelphia, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002, currently is on the block. During the last year, in an effort to bolster Adelphia’s bottom line, the company’s new management has begun offering softer porn in various areas of the country and, in recent months, introduced the hardest-core programming in a few markets.

Insiders and analysts estimate that consumers spend more than $1 billion a year buying sexually graphic movies and other explicit fare on TV through pay-per-view and video-on-demand services. (That’s not counting orders from hotel rooms, where 50% of all movies purchased are from the adult category.)

Today, analysts say, adult programming gives cable and satellite distributors their highest profit margins. Suppliers of adult programming such as New Frontier Media and Playboy get from 5% to 15% of the average $9 consumers pay for a movie, according to industry sources. By comparison, distributors typically give Hollywood studios half of the revenue on pay-per-view movies, which usually cost under $5 per rental.

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