Hugh Hefner'' s company resides on, though as a shadow of itself

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017|6:01 a.m.

NEW YORK– Playboy Enterprises has outlasted the creator of its renowned magazine, though mainly as a shadow of its previous self.

Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, a magazine established to celebrate his “Playboy Approach” of sexual freedom, affected sexual mores and popular culture for decades. A service empire outgrew that, but it’s shrunk considerably for many years. It now survives on mostly as a set of bunny ears slapped on items worldwide.

Hefner died earlier today at 91.

The magazine itself, whose blood circulation peaked in the 1970s at 7 million, is now viewed as more of a marketing tool that supports the licensing operations at the heart of the contemporary business.

“The publication is sort of the small part of the formula now,” said Samir Husni, director of the Publication Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.

PLAYBOY THE MAGAZINE

Playboy, born in 1953, is still putting out print concerns. However today its circulation has actually fallen below 500,000, according to industry tracker the Alliance for Audited Media.

The free-for-all of web publishing that has actually squeezed the paper and magazine markets has done likewise for Hefner’s brainchild. Pornography for just about any taste or flavor is now available free of charge online.

For those who read Playboy for the articles … well, there’s no scarcity of engaging journalism spread throughout the web and offered in your Facebook newsfeed.

THE PRIVATE EQUITY ERA

In 2011, as Hefner and private equity company Rizvi Traverse Management arranged to take Playboy private, then-CEO Scott Flanders highlighted its shift to a “brand management business.” Playboy intended more high end, dropping licensing deals that were more low-market in the United States. It sold its adult TELEVISION and digital operations to a web pornography business. Then in October 2015 it stated that the magazine would no longer release the nude pictures it was famous for.

Media reports from spring 2016 stated that Playboy was seeking to sell itself for $500 million, more than double the cost paid in 2011. Private equity companies normally acquire troubled companies, then attempt to slash expenses, enhance success and resell them for a greater cost.

Playboy didn’t end up offering itself, but made a string of modifications anyhow. Flanders left, and the CEO now is Ben Kohn, a handling partner at Rizvi Traverse, Playboy’s bulk owner.

Hefner’s kid Cooper, then 24, was generated as primary imaginative officer in July 2016. Then the company sold the Playboy Mansion for $100 million to neighbor Daren Metropoulos, owner of Hostess (maker of Twinkies, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs).

The publication reversed itself on its no-nudes policy previously this year, saying nudity became part of its identity.

CERTIFYING EMPIRE

Playboy Enterprises today pulls in most of its profits from accrediting its brand name– its name and those immediately identifiable bunny ears in a bow tie– for whatever from perfume bottles to men’s shoes. It wants to as soon as again conjure up a hip and hot image, leaving the cheese factor that’s ended up being associated with it in the United States. The most significant market is Asia, and Playboy says it has actually been especially successful in China.

“Playboy isn’t really simply the magazine– the brand has evolved to end up being a ‘lifestyle’ brand with a glamorous, smart, and cultured image,” Karina Masolova, executive editor of the trade publication The Licensing Letter, said in an e-mail. “The top quality merchandise is constantly going to offer (a minimum of decently well) in the mature American and European markets.”

Masolova included that while the Playboy brand name’s growth may be tapped out in the United States and western Europe, Asia is an intense area where Playboy is cultivating a premium image in males’s style.

The magazine also has a worldwide presence with 25 foreign editions, with Germany the largest, and owns a membership adult-entertainment channel, Playboy TV, available in more than 60 nations. A string of Playboy Clubs still dot the world; one is even opening in New york city later on this year, total with Bunnies, more than 3 years after the initial New york city club closed.

Still, as a personal business, Playboy’s financial resources are nontransparent. In its in 2015 as an openly traded company, income fell 10.5 percent to $215 million in 2010, and it had actually posted three years of yearly losses. Its financial resources then point towards Playboy’s direction today: licensing fees weren’t the greatest earnings source, but they accounted for almost all the revenue.

Some think it is far too late for a Playboy resurgence, and say the brand will never approach the prominence and affect it as soon as had. “The times have actually passed Playboy,” Husni stated. “Without a consumer base, without consumers, there is no magazine. With no magazine, there’s no brand.”

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