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Playboy (NYSE: PLA) is planning a mix of new sites that it hopes will appeal to a variety of readers and advertisers, company execs said during its Q1 earnings call. In addition to expanding its mobile presence, Playboy is working on a “free, safe-for-work site” it’s calling TheSmokingJacket.com, as well as additional subscription content. The strategy is clearly aimed at slightly tamer rivals like Maxim, which has captured much of Playboy’s targeted readers over the past decade, despite past troubles of its own.
While the Q1 performance exceeded analysts’ expectations, due to cost cuts of 7 percent, Alex Vaickus, EVP and president for Global Licensing, said the company still has more slicing. After noting that Playboy has cut over 100 positions since last year, its headcount is likely to shrink further from its current 573 employees.
However, the company does expect to do some more staffing up in its social media. In the past month, the company has made two high-profile hires, most notably Peacock Equity’s Paul H. Lee to handle digital ventures.
— Update: A Playboy rep told me that the company is not ready to discuss any more details about the forthcoming non-nude TheSmokingJacket.com site. He did confirm that the primary goal is to help attract additional ad revenues from marketers who may be skittish about appearing on a nude site. No word on when the site will make its debut.
In the meantime, Playboy will continue fine-tuning its other digital plans, such as a mobile version of Playboy TV and an interactive chat room, which launched in February. On top of that, Playboy is also testing new pay options for its site and content, including a pre-paid subscription card.