Playboy as a Mature Business

Here is an interesting article on Playboy magazine and how it has changed over the years.

Mr Hefner's new respectability coincides with Playboy Enterprises' growing reliance on the sort of porn that people definitely do not buy to read the articles. (There are parallels with Richard Desmond in Britain, a publisher of some fairly hardcore porn magazines who has become chummy with Tony Blair since buying the Daily Express newspaper—and may buy the broadsheet of conservative England, the Daily Telegraph.) According to Nielsen//NetRatings, 33m unique visitors used an adult site in America in October—one in four internet users. In 1994, Playboy was the first national magazine to go online; the firm's sex and gaming sites are now turning a profit. Some 60% of the revenues of Playboy Enterprises now comes from online sites and cable TV. It will shortly launch another cable network, Spice Live, that will let viewers be "more interactive" with adult stars.

I think Christie Hefner has taken the company in the right direction, but I wonder… will there come a day when there ceases to be a magazine? It appears that the print edition is facing the toughest competition, so Playboy may some day become just a cable and internet company. But the magazine has one advantage that the competition doesn't – as far as porn goes, Playboy is considered respectable.