Columbia House, Playboy Join Ranks to Distribute Obscenity

America's largest direct distributor of videos and DVDs has decided it wants a bigger slice of the entertainment pie — and has established a working relationship with Playboy so it can launch its own porn video club.

Columbia House has announced its plans to team with Playboy Entertainment to sell pornographic videos/DVDs through direct mail and via the Internet. Already the largest direct distributor of DVDs and home videos in the US, Columbia House estimates the venture, called “Hush,” will bring in an additional $5 billion a year through sales and rentals — a sizeable portion of a porn industry that boasts revenues upwards of $12 billion annually.

Jim Litwak, senior vice president of marketing at Columbia House, told the New York Post last week his company expects to be successful in grabbing that much of the revenue because of Playboy's extensive reach and Columbia's methods of direct distribution. Hush, he says, will be a separate subsidiary of Columbia House. “[It] will not be marketed to current members,” he stated. “We are not using Columbia House at all, and are not talking to existing members. This is a separate business and deal.”

At least one pro-family group is on record responding to the announcement. Concerned Women for America says Columbia House “should blush” over its porn promotion.

“Here's another white collar company willing to soil itself by trafficking in pornography,” says Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel. “The execs at Columbia House need to understand that if they knowingly distribute obscene porn through their 'Hush' subsidiary, the company and the execs responsible are subject to federal prosecution and asset forfeiture.”

Along those lines, LaRue says her organization was pleased to hear Attorney General-designee Alberto Gonzales tell US senators recently that if confirmed as the next top law-enforcement official in the country, obscenity enforcement will be one of the things he focuses on.

Hush, according to the Post's report, will be promoted through direct mail, through ads in “adult magazines” — and via contests sponsored on Howard Stern's syndicated radio show.

LaRue reacts to the fact that Stern stands to benefit financially from the Hush campaign: “As usual, when mainstream companies decide to sacrifice corporate responsibility and image to chase porn profits, they claim it will be 'tasteful' material,” she states — then wonders: “What taste-o-meter are they using that qualified Howard Stern for promotion?”

One entertainment analyst tells the Post that Columbia House should tread carefully by taking a step into the world of porn. “Columbia House might bring in some negatives because of the association,” the analyst said. “It's more risky for Columbia House than for Playboy.”

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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