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Playboy has released their earnings results for the first quarter of 2009 and a comparison with same quarter 2008. Normally we don’t cover earnings releases but I thought this one was interesting.
The company has reduced headcount 25% since last October. Playboy also noted in the release that they expect to report a 39% decline in Playboy magazine advertising revenues in the 2009 second quarter compared to last year.
Playboy Interim Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jerome Kern said, “A revamped Playboy.com free site, which we recently introduced, creates a web experience that is more attractive to both consumers and advertisers. In spite of the difficult economy, we believe that the new web site coupled with cost reduction measures we’ve implemented will create a trend of improving margins and higher profits in the digital business by year end.”
The net revenue statement shows the Digital segment net revenues dropping from $15.2 million last year to $9.3 this year.
Boston-based Mzinga has announced a new partnership with Playboy today. The partnership means that Mzinga will power many of the social media components for Playboy. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Mzinga notes, “Various Mzinga social media applications — including discussions, article comments, ratings, reviews and social profiles — have been embedded throughout the Playboy.com site, enabling users to connect and interact with Playboy writers and each other on news and topics of interest, and post and read reviews of the best new movies, music, video games, places to travel and more.”
I felt it necessary to do some browsing on Playboy to verify that the social media applications were in fact embedded and from what I can tell by going under the covers (hey!) it does look like Mzinga is embedded. It looks like some of widgets actually note Prospero, which Mzinga acquired last year when they raised $32.5 million.
Interestingly, PlayboyU is still hosted by Ning – I wonder if there are plans to move that to Mzinga in the future.
Playboy has announced the launch of a mobile web episode series today named Interns. While Playboy appears to be pushing the ability to watch the episodes on a mobile device, you can watch the episodes on the Web and on MySpace. The episodes track three Playboy interns at the NYC office.
"We wanted to ensure that the INTERNS program was not only entertaining but also relevant to this target demographic, which will drive students to engage with Playboy via their mobile phones," said Lisa Kolodny, Head of Youth Marketing, Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
Playboy seems to be struggling with an online strategy. They have tried jumping into bed with YouTube and let’s not forget the Ning social network, PlayboyU. Playboy does appear to be cross-promoting Interns with PlayboyU which is smart.
One day they will realize the power of the magazine in an online world.
Playboy is announcing today the launch of an online search for the best video submissions from hopeful Playboy models which they call the first “Social Media Casting Call”. YouTube is acting as the video host for this exciting competition. From what I can gather, this is the first time YouTube is being used to host a contest that will eventually lead to nudity. Is this too far for YouTube to go in terms of the family-friendly view the public holds for YouTube?
The prizes include a trip to Los Angeles, a spread on playboy.com, and a "chance" at being a playmate. I put quotes around chance as the site clearly states that this is not a guarantee even though the marketing suggests that it is.
The contest details are here and the YouTube channel is available for your entries. One interesting bit from the FAQ:
What role will the YouTube community have on this search?
We are counting on the democracy of the YouTube community to help lift the best videos to the top, based on most-viewed, highest-rated, etc. That’s not to say that Playboy’s editors won’t have their own ideas about which ones are best; our editors will have the final word, but we definitely have our eye on what the community thinks.
Of course, per the YouTube TOS, no nudity is allowed in these demo videos. I’ve embedded an instructional video in case you would like to submit an entry into the Playboy contest. The video is safe for work if you are allowed to view a woman in a bikini/covering her assets.
ON a related topic, Playboy is seeking a vice president of content.