Playboy, Posting Narrower Loss, Looking to Create ‘New Momentum’

CHICAGO — Playboy Enterprises on Thursday reported year-over-year fiscal improvement in its third quarter but still swung to a loss of $1.1 million for the quarter.

In a statement, Playboy CEO Scott Flanders admitted that the adult giant struggles with the problems of a single-brand property achieving scale, and he is looking to enhance the partnerships and licensing opportunities that will add that component while the core Playboy staff does what it “does well … creating content.”

The $1.1 million loss for the quarter was an improvement from the $6.2 million loss of the year-ago quarter. Overall, company revenue has declined to $56 million in the most recent period, compared to $70.4 million a year ago.

With its online adult business, Playboy said lower paysite sales drove the decrease in third quarter digital revenue to $9.6 million, down $1.3 million from the same period last year.

Flanders hinted that Playboy magazine will increase its use of cross-platform integrated programs, mobile as well as online games, and social network outreach to enhance the franchise.

“My goal is to better manage the power of this brand to accelerate the growth of our licensing business, create new momentum in our media businesses and develop a more efficient business model,” he said.

Playboy already has made a number of moves earmarked to shore up declining revenue.

The company recently lowered the flagship magazine's rate base effective with the January/February 2010 issue. And on Thursday Playboy revealed it terminated its deferred compensation plan for executives and has set its sight on “higher cost-recovery initiatives” at its Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

In separate news, former Playboy President Bob Meyers was named president and COO of TRA Inc., a New York-based media market research company. Meyers left Playboy six months ago after spending three years at the company.