going gay? That's what Christie Hefner, chief
executive of Playboy Enterprises and daughter of founder
Hugh Hefner, hopes to do with an unspecified gay brand the
company intends to launch in the United Kingdom.
the Playboy brand to women, and where there is
a meaningful gay market, launching under a different
brand is something we are very comfortable doing," Christie
Hefner told The Times newspaper in London. "In
the U.K., our television people are very interested, and I
wouldn't be surprised if we launched something this year,
given the importance of the market in Britain."
which describes itself as "pro-sex" rather than
pornographic, wants to launch a new gay brand as it tries to
boost revenues beyond last year's $329 million.
Playboy's plans to focus on the gay market are part of
a strategy of diversification away from the company's
Playboy magazine, which, despite its 3 million
circulation, is only just profitable.
The company has
developed a more lucrative product-licensing division
that targets women with clothing and accessories. It also
wants to maintain growth by supplying adult mobile
The company has
been publicly listed since 1971, although Hugh Hefner
remains in control with the help of a dual-share structure
comprising voting and nonvoting stock. Last year's
pretax profit was $14 million, ending several years of
losses that stemmed from investment in Internet
expansion. The company, which is based in Chicago but has
operations in New York, is worth $466 million,
according to The Times. (The Advocate)