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For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 12:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Two news items regarding Playboy Enterprises that some here might find of interest. The first is a snippet from SmartMoney.com published about 5 months ago. The second is in today's news. Are we witnessing the "End of Days" for Hefner's once-mighty brand?


From SmartMoney.com:


Playboy hasn't signed a new pact with DirecTV, (CEO Christie) Hefner said, leaving unclear whether it would lose more channel spots to other adult-content providers. Privately owned competitors Hustler Magazine and Penthouse Television are gearing up to enter the video-on-demand cable market, with Penthouse TV slated for a June launch.


"Playboy could lose another channel or two," says Dennis McAlpine, president of independent research firm McAlpine Associates in Scarsdale, N.Y. "They had five. The good news is that it's too early to tell — they don't know how badly it's hurt them. It's not just DirecTV. The other stuff is going to hell, too. The magazine is a dreadful performer."


Lower advertising and newsstand sales for its flagship magazine caused a 13% decline in quarterly publishing revenues to $23.5 million. Playboy expects to report a 16% decline in ad revenues year-over-year for the second quarter.

From today's news, as reported by Yahoo Finance"


NEW FRONTIER MEDIA: VICTORY OVER PLAYBOY

"Playboy has shut down all of its adult movie brands," says New Frontier


--PR Newswire

BOULDER, Colo., New Frontier Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOOF - News), a worldwide producer and distributor of general and adult- themed motion picture entertainment, today announced the start of a day-long celebration honoring the Company's victory over Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:PLA - News). Earlier this month, Playboy announced the cancellation of nine of its adult pay-per-view networks.

"We've consulted industry experts and believe that this is the most extensive network shake-up in the history of the multi-channel business," said Ken Boenish, President of New Frontier Media, Inc. "Playboy has shut down all of its adult movie brands, replaced them with complete startup services, and expects cable and satellite operators to simply go along. We think this is a great opportunity for distributors to reconsider their adult strategy and switch to networks with proven performance."

Since the launch of its first network in 1998, New Frontier Media services have replaced Playboy services in more than 60 million network households. No Playboy service has ever replaced a New Frontier Media service in a U.S. cable household.

In documents released to affiliates earlier this month, Playboy announced the discontinuance of the following network brands effective November 1, 2006: Spice, Spice 2, Spice Hot, Spice Live, Spice Platinum, Hot Zone, Hot Network, Hot Net Plus, and Playboy TV Classic. Playboy's Taste of Spice and Spice HD were cancelled earlier this year.

New Frontier Media's subsidiary, The Erotic Networks, has grown from a standing start in 1998 to over 126 million network households today. The Company's careful focus on operator requirements has made it a consistent performance leader.

"We believe we approach the adult business from a smarter perspective," said Mr. Boenish. "Today, we feel that even our competitor has acknowledged this point."
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 12:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The times they are a changing. Let's just hope the magazine stays.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 04:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think what you're seeing is a direct reflection of the shift to the religious right in our country. From what I can remember ... 20 years ago, there were three categories of magazines that featured nude women -- Playboy, porn ... and National Geographic. I subscribed to Playboy for almost 30 years, and felt comfortable occasionally leaving an issue lying on the coffee table (under my National Geographic).

Today, almost everyone is uptight about ANY type of nudity or sexy images. The three categories have been narrowed to just two – non-nude and porn. If you doubt me, just leave a Playboy, Maxim or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue out in a workplace … and you'll risk getting fired for sexual harassment. Heck, we just had a teacher get fired for taking elementary school students on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art ... where they saw some nude paintings and statues! Ohhh Nooo! Museums are covert porn galleries?

So, Hefner’s strategy seems clear -- recreate that third category: “Acceptable Nude Entertainment” If they can’t recreate that category, they are doomed.

Of course, that's just my opinion ... I could be old.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 04:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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no, I don't think you're old. I'm not too sure about the national shift to the religious right. Maybe it's because I live in the buckle of the bible belt.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 05:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If Hustler and Penthouse are doing things to make improvements, but Playboy
is seeing a recent decline, I am not quite sure what religion would have to do
with any of this. Other businesses have shown declines but nothing about
religion is associated with them.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTFORMS View Post
If Hustler and Penthouse are doing things to make improvements, but Playboy
is seeing a recent decline, I am not quite sure what religion would have to do
with any of this. Other businesses have shown declines but nothing about
religion is associated with them.
i tend to agree. if anything, the prevalence of "harder" fare with easy access to it (the web) has been playboy's greatest enemy. i also think they've made some questionable acquisitions. when the old man passes on to that big bunny club in the sky, i think you'll see a different direction for the company... and that direction probly won't be influenced by the religious right. whether they'll be successful or bite the dust completely remains to be seen. one thing is for sure: they have a "brand" that worth an incredible amount and brands don't die easily.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 05:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyd View Post
i tend to agree. if anything, the prevalence of "harder" fare with easy access to it (the web) has been playboy's greatest enemy. i also think they've made some questionable acquisitions. when the old man passes on to that big bunny club in the sky, i think you'll see a different direction for the company... and that direction probly won't be influenced by the religious right. whether they'll be successful or bite the dust completely remains to be seen. one thing is for sure: they have a "brand" that worth an incredible amount and brands don't die easily.
Brands can die and some do die very quickly. A brand as big as Playboy doesn't die easily.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 06:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dynamike View Post
Brands can die and some do die very quickly. A brand as big as Playboy doesn't die easily.
you're right, mike. playboy's brand won't die easily but it can die... either by suicide, murder, or naturally occuring causes. (i think the latter is the most likely and i also think, if it happens, it will be a slow, withering death.)

in the print world, the flagship magazine has been, in more recent years, trumped by maxim and other lad-mags. those zines did it with softer-than-playboy fare.

in the cable-casting world, their business model simply didn't work.

on the web, they're competing with harder stuff.

but when it comes to the playboy brand, they topple everyone and that's their strongest hand and that, imo, is where they should be looking at exploiting in the largest ways possible.
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 06:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyd View Post
you're right, mike. playboy's brand won't die easily but it can die... either by suicide, murder, or naturally occuring causes. (i think the latter is the most likely and i also think, if it happens, it will be a slow, withering death.)

in the print world, the flagship magazine has been, in more recent years, trumped by maxim and other lad-mags. those zines did it with softer-than-playboy fare.

in the cable-casting world, their business model simply didn't work.

on the web, they're competing with harder stuff.

but when it comes to the playboy brand, they topple everyone and that's their strongest hand and that, imo, is where they should be looking at exploiting in the largest ways possible.
I agree, Jimmy. I think that they need to focus on the print magazine. The Empire grew and grew for years. Everyone was buying their stuff.

I think their web venture is what really hurt them. Rather than staying focused on quality, they thought that quantity would win. There's just so much stuff out there that they thought they needed to produce loads of content and the quality suffered. That's just my opinion, btw.

Mike
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Re: For Playboy, it seems, "Sex Doesn't Sell"
Old 10-12-2006, 06:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamike View Post
I think their web venture is what really hurt them. Rather than staying focused on quality, they thought that quantity would win. There's just so much stuff out there that they thought they needed to produce loads of content and the quality suffered. That's just my opinion, btw.

Mike
and then there's stuff like this which a friend emailed to me just today-- "After loaning (Vivid and others) the money to buy it (the Spice Channel), then buying it back for a reported 80 million dollars (which is WAY more than they originally loaned for the purchase), and now they are shutting it down. This makes me wonder if they do anything (purchase-wise) with forethought, or if they simply react to the days mood. Will we one day see them close Club Jenna and forfeit that 17 million too?
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