UnNews:Hefner to take Playboy private
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10 January 2011
The company's flagship magazine, Playboy, has struggled financially in recent years as the Internet recently surpassed it as a more reliable purveyor of fine pornography. The magazine recently experimented with animation on its pages, to better compete with 4chan. The animations were activated by riffling the pages of the magazine, a process that Mr. Hefner stresses the reader could do with a single hand. But circulation did not improve. Mr. Hefner says, "It was the biggest failure since our experiment with Scratch 'n' Sniff."
The Board heard Mr. Hefner's proposal Sunday night and decided to recommend it to shareholders. Board member Scott Flanders said, "I had never met the fellow--he seems a bit of a recluse--but his figures were sound. Only, what's with the pajamas?" Mr. Hefner already owns 70 percent of the company and could have driven the company to ruin single-handedly, as it were, if the Board had not agreed.
Playboy was the pioneer in the field technically known as men's entertainment, but recently had established an unfortunate niche as the least raunchy of raunchy magazines, being repeatedly overtaken even by Sports Illustrated. Playboy itself noted that its reliance on soft-core (formerly known as hard-core) porn has made it the favorite magazine in the last decade--as bird-cage liner. Some Playboy executives even believe that some men may buy the magazine for its articles rather than its boring, motionless images of generically attractive women with airbrushed vaginas.
The company shifted strategy, toward putting its trademarked bunny-ears design on virtually anything that people will buy. Most people do still recognize the Playboy bunny design. Unfortunately, the typical wearers of the Playboy trademark are sleazy, money-hungry bimbos with daddy issues. This has tarnished the Playboy brand.
The Board disclosed intriguing subscription statistics to shareholders. Eighty percent of subscribers are men over the age of sixty, solely because they are now too frail to complete the exhausting subscription cancellation process, or any other process that is exhausting and normally associated with Playboy.
A group led by Penthouse magazine had made a slightly higher offer, valued at $210 million. But the Playboy Board believed that such a merger of virtually identical publications in decline would be as ill-fated as, say, if the New York Times were to buy the Boston Globe.