Never underestimate the attraction of nudity.

by Guy Kewney | posted on 09 June 2004

It was a good few years ago that I came across the first streaming news services on the Web, and shortly after that, a friend sent me email. In the sort of hushed giggle that I had thought only a 12 year old schoolboy could achieve and not an adult (and certainly not in an email!) he pointed me at Naked News.

Guy Kewney

If ever a product did what it said on the tin, that was it. It was a TV news channel. Only, the news presenters were all women, all quite grown up (no suggestion of "teens" here) but young and nubile. And, after the first few paragraphs of their bulletins, naked.

Speaking entirely personally, I was absolutely not impressed. I've seen people without their clothes before, and a good proportion of those have been young, nubile females. And a lot of those were putting a good deal of effort into being erotic - and failing.

But this! - they weren't even trying to be erotic. They stripped with the sort of academic detachment that any lecturer on (say) tyre compound analysis or grass-hopper leg musculature would be hard pushed to match. And once bare, they recited the bulletin in a way that could only be called cold.

These days, you can't just watch Naked News. To my utter amazement, there are enough gawpers who simply want to see what a woman's breasts (and other normally hidden bits) look like, that it's a commercial hit. Not only a commercial hit: a resellable commodity.

And guess what ... yup! - you can now watch Naked News in glorious pinkicolour on your mobile phone. For £15 a month (says the SMS group, 160characters.org) you can subscribe.

To me, this is just baffling. I can understand a pimply faced youth wanting to see nudity for the first time, but surely, after a month ... ? So I tried to find out what sort of loyalty viewers to this show had.

I didn't get a reply, yet. I think, on reflection, that was my fault. Perhaps I wasn't thinking too clearly, because I used fairly standard Web jargon in my question, and asked how "sticky" subscribers were ...

This column reproduced with permission from IT Week where it was published on June 7th 2004.

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