Christie Hefner: Newspapers Can Learn From Playboy’s Digital “Success”


imageIf you are snickering here, wait…Playboy (NYSE: PLA) CEO Christie Hefner is “blogging” for about the future of newspapers and gives her deep-thought opinion on what they should be focusing on. She talks about a code worth cracking: “rather than seemingly focusing on cost-cutting their way out of their problems, perhaps newspaper owners should be focused on first, how to make their online content and the online experience on their sites as compelling as possible, including (buckle your seat belts here!) marketing their sites; second, how to consider offering some of that content or some of those experiences in a disaggregated (i.e., not needing a subscription) manner with simple a la carte pricing — the iTunes model…” Which is all fine of course, and everyone’s trying. but then this: “So can newspapers learn from magazines? From what Condé Nast’s done online? From Playboy’s ability to grow its combined print and online audience and advertising last year?” What growth is she talking about? Playboy’s digital revenues have been flat to shrinking over the last few quarters, and the growth even before has been slower than industry average.

But to be fair, Playboy was among the earliest movers in the online and mobile space and went international with its mobile business earlier than anyone. Even on the interactive TV and VOD site, it was early. It certainly has the right digital execs. But it hasn’t been able to capitalize from there on. Yes, there have been some transitional issues with its e-commerce business, and opening up of its subscription site, but as I have said before, the company needs to do something more drastic, like what they call a “transformative acquisition” in industry lingo. Developing a social network is not the complete answer…


Juan Carlos

Playboy is not succesfully on line and less succesfully in print because lost the sophistication , and creativity . All began when arrived Christie Hefner . A bad Hef decision .Less special issues more lights in the month issue and a new art director with more creativity . We are tired of the same cover with different colour and girl month to month . I am a playboy collector from 40 years and I am very unhappy with this playboy way .

Ryan Holiday

And you're giving her a little too much credit on the social networking too. Didn't they just build it on Ning? Please tell us more about innovating on the web Playboy, you're such a groundbreaker.

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