German TV uses loophole to show porn

Hamburg - Hard-core pornography will take to the digital airwaves in Germany by the end of the year in a move keenly watched by the more than 20 networks which compete fiercely in Europe's toughest television market.

While full-frontal nudity is a staple of prime-time, and soft-porn sexual situations abound on late-night television in Germany, no broadcaster has ever dared to air sex.

But now, thanks to digital encryption devices, the authorities have given provisional approval to subscription pay TV to offer an adult "media service" on a pay-per-view basis to subscribers who provide proof of age in advance of keying in two series of personal identification numbers.

The emphasis is on the words "media service" since that is the legal loophole under which porn is making its debut in Germany. Technically speaking, this cannot be called a "channel" or "station" or "broadcasting company" - since pornography is clearly banned on any of those under German law.

But the law does not prohibit a "media service" from providing porn to its adult subscribers on condition that minors are barred from gaining access to it.

So Germany's Premiere World pay TV digital subscription platform will be offering a hard-porn "media service" to its viewers, supplied by a Swiss programming company called Erotic Media.

As with special sporting events, premium movies, live concerts and other pay-per-view services available on Premiere World, viewers will have to sign up in advance to see films on the new porn service.

Premiere World, with nearly three million subscribers Germany's largest and oldest subscription service, has good experience with Erotic Media, the company that will be supplying programming for the new service.

With Europe's largest erotica film archive, Erotic Media has television rights to more than 3 000 movies. Since 1991, Erotic Media and Germany's Beate Uhse sex boutique chain have operated a soft-core porn outlet on Premiere World. - Sapa-DPA


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