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Someone killed the rabbit: Playboy posts loss, outlook weak

NEW YORK– Adult entertainment publisher Playboy Enterprises Inc posted a quarterly loss Tuesday because of a drop in publishing and domestic television revenue and said its improving licensing business would not offset weaker media results this year.

The publisher of the iconic men’s magazine reported a loss of $3.1 million, or nine cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.5 million, or four cents a share, in the first quarter a year ago.

The quarter includes about $1.1 million in restructuring and severance charges, Playboy said.

Revenue fell eight per cent to $78.5 million.

“Out publishing and domestic entertainment businesses continue to face unprecedented change in the way consumers access and use media content,” Chief Executive Christie Hefner said in a statement accompanying the financial results.

Hefner forecast the company’s licensing business to grow throughout the year, but said Playboy does not expect it to offset the weaker results it anticipates in its media business.

Domestic television revenue in the first quarter fell 16 per cent to $16.5 million compared with last year, despite a growth in monthly subscription revenue at Playboy TV. The company said those gains were offset by lower pay-per-view revenue as more people switch to video-on-demand services.

Publishing revenue fell 14 percent to $20.1 million as circulation and ad sales at Playboy magazine fell. International revenue for the magazine rose. Advertising pages in the second quarter will be down five per cent compared with last year.

Online revenue fell three per cent to $15.2 million because of lower pay site revenue. E-commerce, advertising and mobile device revenue rose, the company said.

Hefner said the company is redesigning the Playboy.com Web site to attract more visitors and create a better portal to its other properties.

“This will be a transitional year, as we are still in the investment stage of the retooling process, and results won’t be apparent until year-end at the earliest.”

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