Playboy turns 50 this week with the publication of a special anniversary issue. Though we are a far cry from the “anything goes” sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s – with AIDS the single biggest killjoy – and hedonism in general is out of fashion, I think the world is a better place for the influence of Playboy over the last half-century: more open, more tolerant, fewer hang-ups, more stylish, and they have had some pretty good articles too.
With the magazine biz considered “mature,” Playboy has gone digital:
- Playboy magazine, whose first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, may be looking a little gray around the edges, but parent Playboy Enterprises Inc. is trying not to cede ground to rivals.
For the past year, the company has retooled the magazine and lured a new editor, James Kaminsky, from Maxim, an aggressive competitor. Playboy’s giant, 300-page anniversary issue hit newsstands on Friday.
As importantly, Playboy, run by Christie Hefner, the daughter of founder Hugh Hefner, has trained its eye on pay-per-view fees from digital cable television and online subscriptions and e-commerce to boost profits.
Playboy even has a channel on XM Satellite Radio, where for an extra $2.99 a month listeners can hear shows like “Sex Court,” described as a courtroom drama ripped from the headlines and bedsheets.
“As technologies grow in terms of digital cable and satellite homes, as well as Internet use and even new platforms like wireless (news – web sites), I think Playboy will grow with them.” Christie Hefner said in an interview.
….Playboy has come a long way since 1953, when Hugh Hefner, then 27, borrowed $8,000 to finance Playboy magazine and created the first issue in his Chicago apartment.
Chicago-based Playboy has forecast that full-year operating profit should nearly triple to roughly $25 million from $8.6 million in 2002, helped in part by advertising from the anniversary issue, its biggest in 18 years in terms of paid advertising.
With magazine publishing considered a mature business, Playboy hopes for growth in digital cable TV revenues — including pay-per-view fees from adult movies and its Spice and Playboy TV channels.
….With its push into cable TV and the Internet, Hefner said Playboy has a bigger audience than ever.
“I think we have reinforced our position as the preeminent branded content supplier for entertainment for grown-ups,” she said. [Reuters]