Hard times, as it were, for Hugh Hefner:
Certainly there is an irony that while pornography is now more plentiful than ever in world history, the rise of the Internet has destroyed Playboy’s profitability. The company lost $48.5 million last year. Hefner recently took Playboy Enterprises off the stock market, offering $6.15 a share for outstanding shares. Exactly what he’ll do with the Playboy “brand” (it’s not just a magazine) remains to be seen. Hef has recently gone back to the idea of “Playboy Clubs,” opening one in Vegas and announcing two others in Sydney and London. But these are not really “clubs,” just Playboy-themed casino/bar/restaurants, a sort of chain operation like the Hard Rock Cafe.
The not-so-big bucks these days come from playboy.com, which has a fairly active pay section — there’s also a Somewhat Safe For Work site which scares up some ad dollars — and from licensing the Rabbit Head symbol, which still has some commercial value. Still:
The value of the Playboy brand isn’t likely long to outlive the man who created the myth on which the brand depends, and of which he is the absurd elderly symbol.
There is, I think, one other contributing factor: Adobe. With Photoshop on every other desktop on the planet, nobody has any faith in anybody’s photographs anymore. The “girl next door” in the centerfold? Not next door to me, you damn betcha. There isn’t a wisp of hair out of place, and often as not there isn’t a wisp of hair in place, so to speak. Furthermore, they’re all apparently nineteen years old these days, and to get me to take up with someone one-third my age would require a hell of a lot of tequila and probably something more.
And anyway, it’s not like Hef and I have similar tastes.