Following the successful unveiling of a redesigned safe-for-work (SFW) website last August, Playboy launched its new SFW mobile app Playboy NOW last week, hoping to enjoy similar results. According to CNBC, Playboy.com saw a 375% increase in global unique monthly visitors after this strategic shift to dress up its image.”The customer speaks, the user rules: In today’s media landscape, nudity is just an unnecessary attribute,” said Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy Enterprises.The shift to more mainstream content is due, in part, to the company’s analysis of its audience’s preferences on social media. When Playboy reviewed data from 28 million users on its social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube – it discovered that the majority of sharing and commenting was of non-nude content.”It grew virally with almost no effort or energy,” Flanders said. “All that safe-for-work content from the beginning caused us to think. There’s a real appetite for lifestyle content with the Playboy brand authority on many different topics.”A quick scroll through Playboy’s website reveals no nude content. Instead, readers will find articles about sports, movies, beer, cars and a few sexually related – but not visually explicit – posts. At the top of the page, readers are invited to subscribe to Playboy, and at the bottom, readers can subscribe to the magazine or Playboy Plus, which has a disclaimer that the content is only available to subscribers 18 and older. The paywalled site, available to subscribers from two-days to 12 months, is sexually explicit.
The Playboy NOW app, which is free to download, is a mix of articles, listicles (e.g., 10 most droolworthy cars, 30 worst selfies, etc.), videos and slideshows, all of which are pretty tame and likely deemed SFW. We didn’t see any subscription links on the seemingly endless list of posts or via the menu, which seems like a missed opportunity.Insider Take:It is hard to believe that Playboy, an iconic brand, needed to reinvent itself, but audience metrics don’t lie. It seems that the SFW image for Playboy.com and Playboy NOW is working, at least based on unique visitors to the website. Flanders said that the company’s online presence reaches approximately 47 million readers per month. Its print circulation, however, has declined by 50%. In 2011, total circulation of the print magazine was 1.5 million. According to the CNBC article, Flanders said that magazine circulation is now 750,000. So far, Playboy has not announced a plan to revamp its magazine.