Instead of hiring the music composer who wrote Ol’ Man River, I think Playboy would have been better served with a businessman at the helm. But that’s just me.
From http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com- The bunny is money, so look for the Playboy brand on even more products as the media company looks to expand its global licensing business.
Sex toys won’t be among them, however, according to Jerome Kern, Playboy Enterprises’ interim chairman and chief executive. Kern wants to take the iconic bunny more mainstream in expanding what last year was a $40.4 million business for the company, which posted a first-quarter net loss of $13.7 million earlier this week.
Kern also hinted Wednesday that there may be two Playmates when Playboy magazine publishes its first double July/August issue later this year.
The reduction in frequency is part of a strategy to reverse declines at Playboy’s nearly 56-year-old flagship publication. The magazine suffered a 16 percent year-to-year decline in first-quarter revenue and expects its print ad revenue will be down 39 percent in the second quarter compared with the same span in 2008.
“I envision having a magazine,” Kern said. “I don’t want a magazine that’s … in intensive care. I want a magazine that stands for the brand [and] is out with the public, but isn’t going to eat us alive. That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
The magazine’s June issue, set to hit newsstands soon, is being touted by the company as offering “a younger and fresher look,” while Kern has said there need to be “radical changes to the magazine business model.”
Kern spoke briefly with reporters at the company’s Chicago headquarters between Wednesday’s quick, uneventful annual shareholder meeting and subsequent a board meeting in which the company’s directors planned to discuss the search for a new regular CEO.
Playboy is looking for a successor to Christie Hefner, founder Hugh Hefner’s daughter, who left the company earlier this year. The elder retains a controlling stake in the company and the titles of chief creative officer and editor in chief.
In a call Monday with analysts, Alex Vaickus, who oversees Playboy’s global licensing, talked about the company’s branding of apparel, jewelry, accessories, Playboy energy drink, Cody men’s fragrances and resort venues.
“Our goal,” Vaickus said, “is to create products and distribution deals that can work across a wide array of retailers, domestically and internationally, ranging from hip department stores to mass market retailers.”