Monday, May 11, 2009

Playboy to Cut Issues, Circulation, Ad Rates?

Look for Playboy magazine to combine two issues into one this year to save printing and postage costs. That's just one of several "radical" changes the 55-year-old periodical is considering as it reacts to the vicious downturn in the economy (amidst a continuing slump in circulation, though still at about 2.5 million), according to a report in today's Chicago Tribune:
Playboy plans to combine its July and August issues into a single edition to reduce printing and distribution costs, and it is looking at trimming its circulation and reducing its advertising rates, officials said. Playboy is also planning to roll out a redesign in its June edition aimed at bringing a "younger and fresher look to the magazine," [interim chairman Jerome] Kern said.
Leaving aside the fact that the magazine did a redesign starting with its January issue, does anyone really think the problem is the magazine's design? Furthermore, must we really take seriously this "younger and fresher" silliness? Didn't we learn from the days earlier this decade when the magazine was rumored to be trying to ditch its readers who were over the age of 25?

If they want to cut circulation, might I suggest they raise prices? Stop selling subscriptions at such cheap rates. Raise the cover price. That'll naturally deter some readers, which is apparently the new goal. And it'll also bring in more revenue. Make it a reader's magazine again. Beef up the content; don't kill it.

Oh, and for the hundredth time: Do something about the advertising situation. With 2.5 million in circ, the mag should certainly get more ads than GQ or Esquire, both of which are well south of a million.
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