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It’s Over: ‘Playboy’ Hacks Rate Base By 38%; But Read Their Spin

from – Playboy is hacking its rate base by 38%, down to 1.5 million from 2.6 million beginning with its January issue.

The January and February issues will also be combined, just as the magazine did with its July and August issues this past summer, writes Mediaweek.

A Tweet from Hugh Hefner states: “We’re reducing Playboy magazine’s rate base to increasingly focus on quality over quantity as we did half a century ago.”

Playboy has been plagued by falling circulation and ad revenue. The magazine missed its rate base by 5.6% in the first half of 2009, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and ad pages have declined 33% year-to-date. With the rate base cut, Playboy will no longer be the biggest men’s lifestyle magazine. Maxim and Men’s Health will both exceed the title in terms of circulation, at 2.5 million and 1.8 million respectively, once the cut takes place.

Playboy is evolving its editorial in the hopes of becoming more appealing to men in their 20s. With that in mind, the cover of the November issue of the title features Marge Simpson, and inside the issue is a three-page pictorial featuring Marge in cartoon lingerie. The move was “obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek,” new Playboy CEO Scott Flanders told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It had never been done, and we thought it would be hip, cool and unusual.”

Magazine ad pages sank 19.2% in November and are down 21.6% year to date. And, while ZenithOptimedia’s latest ad forecast predicts that global ad spending will bottom out this year and will return to positive growth – though at just 0.5% – in 2010, magazine advertising will continue to decline for at least the next two years.


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