BT plans porn choice for TV service

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The British telecommunications company BT is planning to make mildly pornographic movies available on its television service to be launched this autumn.

BT said on Friday it expected to include “adult entertainment” on its BT Vision service in response to customers’ demand but stressed any content would comply with regulators’ rules and the company’s taste and decency standards.

The prospect of soft porn movies on BT Vision underlines how the company is casting around for ways to generate revenue.

Some industry analysts are sceptical whether BT Vision will be a commercial success, although BT insisted it would make a profit.

Enders Analysis, a telecoms research firm, said the main justification for BT Vision was that it might help the company hold on to its broadband subscribers in the face of fierce competition from rivals such as Carphone Warehouse.

However, Enders said the ability of BT Vision to enhance BT customers’ loyalty might be limited. It estimated that BT will only have up to 800,000 subscribers by 2010, compared to Sky’s 8m.

BT Vision, through set top boxes that double as video recorders, will provide the TV channels available on Freeview, the digital terrestrial TV service.

But BT Vision will also provide video on demand programmes via a broadband landline, and BT is planning to make “catch up TV”, movies and sport available.

BT said on Friday: “In common with many UK entertainment providers and in response to anticipated customer demand, we expect BT Vision will carry some adult entertainment services.

“We have extremely strict guidelines about taste and decency and we will have industry leading standards on protection to make sure that only adults who want to view this material can.”

It added that only movies with an 18 rating would be available on BT Vision, and not films with an R18 rating.

Ian Maude, analyst at Enders, said cable and satellite TV companies could charge more for adult entertainment, but its narrow appeal meant revenues were limited.

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