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Summary:

Steve Jobs promised iPad users “freedom from porn,” and Apple isn’t approving any adult-themed apps for the device. Porn studios like Private Media nonetheless target iPad owners, and Private CEO Ilan Bunimovitz told us that his company has an equally promising offer to make: Freedom from DRM.

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Private Media Group was one of the first companies to offer iPad-optimized porn downloads when the device shipped in early April. However, users won’t find Ibiza Sex Party, Nylon Nymphomania or any other Private movie in Apple’s iPad store, and the Cupertino-based computer maker doesn’t allow any adult-themed apps in its app store either. So Private had only once choice to sell downloads for the device: Offer them free of any DRM content protection.

Private CEO Ilan Bunimovitz didn’t seem too worried about the prospect of some of these files finding their way online when I reached him by phone in his company’s headquarters in Barcelona, Spain yesterday. “Free and pirated content is available regardless of whether the encoding is done by us or not,” he told me.

That doesn’t mean Private isn’t alarmed by piracy; in fact, the company is determined to pursue legal action against sites redistributing its work. But punishing paying customers isn’t the right approach to deal with the issue, according to Bunimovitz. “The way to fight piracy is not to limit who you sell content to, it’s by fighting pirates,” he said.

Private and its VOD site Gamelink.com also offer HTML5 streams for iPad and iPhone users, and Bunimovitz told me that the company sees a shift away from downloads and toward streams. He called the iPad “an incredible device for consumers,” but cautioned not to view it as the end game for adult or other entertainment content online. “We are not in the iPad business,” he told me.

Instead, Private aims to embrace all available platforms, be it mobile, the PC or even Google TV. The company is working on a cross-platform strategy that will allow customers to seamlessly switch between different devices. “Once you (buy) this piece of content, it’s yours on any screen you own”, explained Bunimovitz.

Private is one of the biggest players in the adult industry. The company is NASDAQ-listed and generated around €23 million (about $29 million) in revenue in 2009. But it has seen its DVD and magazine business erode from around €10.9 million in 2007 to €3.8 million in 2009 while its online revenue tripled during the same period.

Those numbers mirror an industry undergoing a rapid transition, and Bunimovitz is determined to come out on top. He told me during the end of our conversation that he even has the right mantra for the job: “If something is about to cannibalize my business, it better be me.”

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Will Mobile Porn Pay Off? (subscription required)

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