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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 reported their earnings today and it’s interesting to note that their online and mobile businesses create more revenue ($17.7 million) for the company than any other of their entertainment properties which includes domestic and international TV. In fact, online/mobile even generates more revenue for the company than magazine subscribtions do.
We wrote about PlayboyU, the social network that allows students to post non-nude photos and interact with each other around partying. Checking PlayboyU today, it seems they are experiencing a good growth rate in users.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Christie Hefner said, "Looking ahead, our strategy is to grow the company leveraging both the ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch’ attributes of the Playboy brand. In the media businesses, our first goal is to return our online and mobile properties to strong growth drivers. These efforts will entail investments in technology, marketing and content, which should begin to show results by the end of the year."
While monetization of PlayboyU appears to come in the form of advertising for Playboy DVDs, would a free ad-supported model work for the Playboy.com Web site? Maybe a combination? Currently most of the photos and videos are behind a (very expensive) pay wall.
Today marks the invite-only beta launch of PlayboyU. Now my first reaction is that PlayboyU is a social network built around their 40 million college girl photos. But alas, I would be wrong. It's yet another social network that offers no additional value from any other networks. Pete says its a little like Facebook but more like MySpace. Mike believes this is good validation for Ning, the semi-white-labeled social networking service. The bottom line is that Playboy = female nudity and without it is a recipe for social networking failure. This social network is only accessible for those who have an .edu email address (I wonder how many don't have one).
Same features as the other Ning networks and same as all of the other social networks already out there. I guess they forgot one important thing. No one worries about opening Facebook in a classroom. Can you imagine the one dork who opens PlayboyU in the middle of a chem class? Yea, that will go over well. I am sure it will be big in the frats.
How long before nude photos are posted? I start the bidding at 1 week. Want a real Playboy social network? Take every living playmate, give them an account, let people friend them, and get updates, events, Twitters, daily photos on sms, etc. That would most likely work.