Inspecting the State of the Adult Industry

A longtime entrepreneur, Bill Asher has experience in numerous niches, including the adult entertainment industry. Most notably, Bill Asher worked for Playboy Entertainment Group in 1994, where he pushed the status quo on hardcore adult content over that of the usual softer core adult content then available on television. At that time, the company faced the dilemma of whether to continue to provide softcore adult content exclusively or to expand its offerings to include hardcore content.

Showing audience members hardcore adult content can present many unique questions: is there a market for it? (The answer is a resounding yes.) Is it acceptable or morally right to present hardcore content rather than softer adult coverage? (This depends on who is asked.) But one truth remains: having a variety of options in the industry provides an opportunity to better gauge what society deems too graphic or inappropriate.

This question was answered in part with the launch of the first hardcore channel, the Hot Network. The channel was owned by Califa Entertainment, which went on to launch a number of other hardcore channels. After signing a deal with Califa, DirecTV, AT&T, Time Warner, and other television distributors discovered that hardcore channels were their most profitable offerings. Meanwhile, Playboy had lost significant market share. In 2001, Playboy purchased these hardcore networks in a deal worth more than $100 million.

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