Universal Music, Porn Company Mull Deal
Published: January 2, 2004
Filed at 2:51 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Universal Music Group, the world's largest record
label, is teaming up with satellite broadcaster DirecTV and a prominent
pornography video company to launch a music channel featuring uncensored
According to a report on Friday in the Los Angles Times Universal, a unit
of Vivendi Universal-(V.N), is in negotiations with DirecTV to offer the
new subscription-based channel, known as ``1 AM.''
Universal and Vivid Entertainment Group, which is known for porn videos
such as ``Bad Wives'' and ``Women In Uniform,'' are expected to split
ownership of the venture, the newspaper said, citing sources familiar with
Other partners in the channel will be the Endeavor talent agency and Shady
Records, the Universal-backed label managed by rap superstar Eminem.
General Electric Co. (GE.N) unit, NBC, is in the process of combining its
television broadcast and cable networks with Universal's parks, film and TV
Representatives of Universal, Vivid, DirecTV, News Corp., and Endeavor were
not immediately available for comment.
The newspaper said ownership stakes of the channel are not set in stone,
but Universal and Vivid are likely to each own 45 percent stakes, while
Endeavor and Shady Records will have 5 percent apiece.
The main players behind the channel are Jimmy Iovine, chairman of
Universal's Interscope label and Ari Emanuel, a founding partner of
Endeavor, according to the report.
The channel is the latest in a string of efforts to challenge MTV's
dominance of music video and pop culture programing.
Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC.N)-owned Rainbow Media Holdings launched
Fuse earlier this year as an edgier upstart. Another venture, Hype TV,
backed by Sean ``P. Diddy'' Combs, recently landed distribution through the
television unit of Playboy Enterprises Inc.-(PLA.N).
DirecTV, the largest satellite broadcaster in the US with 12 million
subscribers, is under the control now of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
(NCP.AX)(NWS.N) in a deal that cleared regulatory approval in December.