Playboy Axes Editorial Director

Rhett Pardon
CHICAGO – Playboy’s editorial director is stepping down from his post at the magazine as paid circulation continues to dip.

James Kaminsky was brought on in October 2002 to revive and transform Playboy into a more youthful magazine that could compete better against such titles as Dennis Publishing's Maxim and Emap USA's FHM. The former Maxim editor moved the editorial staff from Playboy's Chicago headquarters to New York, updated section graphics and overhauled the front portion of the magazine to be more humorous and timely.

The magazine's paid circulation fell 5.2 percent to 3 million in last year's second half, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. But newsstand sales grew 4.2 percent to 369,000.

Playboy said Kaminsky will take on a new, unspecified role elsewhere in the company.

Kaminsky is being given a new role as vice president of special projects at Playboy Enterprises Inc. In his new position, Kaminsky will continue to serve in an editorial capacity as a contributing editor and generate spin-offs of the magazine into a variety of new media opportunities including film, television and books.

Meanwhile, Playboy Enterprises announced Monday the successful completion of a public offering of 6 million shares of common stock at $12.69 per share.

The company sold 4.3 million shares in the offering; Hugh Hefner sold 1.5 million shares; and Christie Hefner sold 150,000 shares.

Net proceeds to Playboy from the sale of its shares in the offering are expected to be approximately $51.7 million.

In other company news, Playboy TV International has signed a licensing agreement with The Premium Movie Partnership in Australia for 50 Playboy produced movies. The Playboy movies will air on the premium movie channels Showtime, reaching over 3 million Australian viewers. Starting in June, Showtime will feature one Playboy branded movie per week.

Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises publishes editions of Playboy magazine around the world, owns and operates the Playboy and Spice television networks, and licenses brands worldwide. It recently signed a licensing deal for video game “Playboy: The Mansion,” which will be available in the Xbox and PlayStation 2 formats in December.