Playboy’s Losses Narrow; Everything Still Shrinking; Hints More Layoffs


Playboy Enterprises (NYSE: PLA), still clinging on to the hope that it can be turned around, has reported its Q309 results, and while the losses have narrowed, all major lines of business — print, TV and licensing — saw revenues drop for the quarter. It had losses of $1.1 million compared to a net loss of $6.2 million in Q308. Revenues declined to $56.0 million from $70.4 million in the prior year quarter. In its print/online segment, revenues declined to $22.9 million, down from $32.7 million last year, in part reflecting the combination of the July and August issues of the U.S. edition of Playboy mag into one editorial package. Digital is down about 12 percent, to $9.6 million for the quarter.

It is clear the hope for the company lies in licensing business, as new-ish CEO Scott Flanders said: “My goal is to better manage the power of this brand to accelerate the growth of our licensing business, create new momentum in our media businesses and develop a more efficient business model.” Meanwhile, media side of the business remains hammered and Q4 will not get better, Flanders warns. He also hinted at more layoffs coming:

“Although the improved Q3 results demonstrate the significant strides we have made in reducing the cost structure of our mature media businesses, more is needed. Playboy magazine will remain the flagship of this company, and a powerful content generator, but it needs to operate more efficiently. We already announced that we will lower the magazine’s rate base effective with the January/February 2010 issue, and we are looking at other opportunities to improve profitability.” He also said repositioning of Playboy TV is coming, though not much details; he’ll likely talk about that in earnings call, and more from that later.

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