Playboy may end print edition, WSJ reports

George Lazenby’s 007 reading a copy of Playboy in Oh Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Playboy may end its print edition and instead focus on licensing its name and other deals, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Playboy Enterprises Inc. is “doubling down on efforts to make money from brand partnerships and licensing deals built around the Playboy name, ethos and bunny logo, with increasingly less focus on its editorial roots,” according to The Journal.

“We plan to spend 2018 transitioning it from a media business to a brand-management company,” Ben Kohn, a managing partner at Playboy controlling shareholder Rizvi Traverse, told the Journal. Kohn took over as Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive in May 2016.

Also, private equity firm Rizvi “is in talks to acquire” the 35 percent stake that Playboy founder Hugh Hefter left in trust to his heirs, the Journal said, citing a person “familiar with the matter.”

Hefner died in September at 91.

All of this is noted here because Hefner and Playboy (the magazine) was an earlier booster of James Bond in the United States.

Playboy published Ian Fleming’s 007 short story The Hildebrand Rarity in 1960. It also serialized the Bond novels On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, You Only Live Twice and The Man With the Golden Gun as well as additional short stories. Playboy also ran Bond-themed pictorials over the years.

In addition, the Bond films On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Diamonds Are Forever contained references to Playboy.

Under Hefner, Playboy resumed its relationship with the literary Bond, publishing 007 short stories and excerpts from novels by continuation author Raymond Benson.

The Journal said the Playboy magazine has lost as much as $7 million a year. Kohn told The Journal why the print Playboy may become a thing of the past.

“Historically, we could justify the [magazine’s] losses because of the marketing value, but you also have to be forward thinking,” the executive told the paper. “I’m not sure that print is necessarily the best way to communicate to our consumer going forward.”

Most articles in The Journal are behind a pay wall. However, you can read THIS VERSION which is on the website.