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Streaming Drives Success At Playboy.com

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In a keynote at Streaming Media East, Playboy CEO and chairman, Christie Hefner showcased how Playboy is using streaming technologies to drive its success in the offline and online worlds.

Hefner spoke to a captivated crowd about the power of content, explaining that a vast majority of content on Playboy.com is not repurposed from its TV or magazines, but rather is created exclusively for the web. "On the web, consumers can be the editors," she said.

Hefner said streaming media gave the company the opportunity to develop compelling content where visitors could "spend time and spend money."

Hefner talked about some of the limiting factors of its offline properties saying that it couldn’t fit everything in its magazines or TV shows. She said that Playboy.com has pictures that were not printed in the magazine, behind the scenes clips from its videos and even text that couldn’t fit in the magazine. Although Playboy.com relies heavily on new content, Hefner said it is looking to take advantage of its existing assets, too.

Hefner said Playboy.com is a whole new market for the company. "Visitors to the Web site are not regular readers of the magazine," she said.

Hefner outlined the five areas where they are using streaming: e-commerce, subscription, advertising, gaming and internationally.

In advertising, Playboy.com showed off a spot where an animated Hugh Hefner was incorporated into a Jack Daniel’s Flash ad. "It was funny, drove traffic and created incredible buzz," she said. Although early advertisers for the Web site were dot-com companies, about 70% of advertisers are from traditional advertisers.

Mostly, success has come through Playboy.com’s subscription site which offers much of the exclusive content. Hefner said that live events, such as parties, lingerie fashion shows and even Mardi Gras webcasts are big drivers to that site. Using streaming, Playboy.com shows teasers of the events, in order to drive subscription to the live and on-demand shows. Choosing a subscription model was key, said Hefner, because they didn’t want minors accessing adult content, and because the success of Playboy TV showed that people are willing to pay for content. She said the subscription had a 50-percent growth rate last year.

Teasers are also used to drive customers back to Playboy TV. Hefner said that clips of its Playboy TV reality show called "7 Lives Exposed" are on the Web site, and that traffic has increased tremendously —from 10,000 visitors a week to 50,000.

Playboy.com’s business is growing so fast, that it is building a new $20 million studio in L.A. to create more streaming and television content, including the ability to do more live shows. In the future, Hefner said that it is looking to video-on-demand as well as finding better ways to make content searchable.

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