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Playboy’s circulation drops 34%; Pretty Soon Hefner’s Going to Be Owning 100% of Nothing

Crain’s — Circulation for Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s flagship magazine dropped 34% for the year ended in June compared to the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

In a report, the bureau said that Playboy’s circulation, including paid subscriptions and single-copy sales, was 1.63 million as of June 30, compared to 2.45 million at the end of the period last year.

The Chicago-based company, which also has a cable TV operation and licenses Playboy bunny products worldwide, has been cutting employees, including 18 in the second quarter of this year, and outsourcing some tasks to try to return to profitability.

Still, the company posted a wider second-quarter loss last week. The company has said it expects to post a profit by next year.

The magazine’s circulation at the end of last year was 2.02 million. Subscriptions and sales have dropped off as competition from other men’s magazines, such as Maxim, has increased.

Playboy last month introduced the new Web site called TheSmokingJacket.com in an effort to provide a more work-friendly screen for its readers.

Playboy didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has proposed buying the company and taking it private.

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