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Playboy exploring men’s magazine for India

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Playboy (PLA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is in talks to launch a men’s magazine in India, but one that does not include its trademark nudes or even its name, Chief Executive Christie Hefner said on Thursday.

The top-selling men’s magazine in the world, which is rolling out an edition in Argentina soon, also wants to return to Italy and Australia, and is discussing joint ventures with local publishers in those countries.

Playboy also has ambitions for a British edition, where it now sells its U.S. version, to complement its other media ventures there.

But she considers that among the company’s boldest ventures would be the possible launch of a magazine in India — its first without the Playboy name on its cover.

“This is quite a departure for us,” Hefner told the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit. “We are interested in the possibility of going to India, but it wouldn’t be what we call classic Playboy.

“It would be an extension of Playboy that would be focused around the lifestyle, pop culture, celebrity, fashion, sports and interview elements of Playboy,” added Hefner, daughter of Playboy founder and publishing icon Hugh Hefner,

“But it would not have nudity and I don’t think it would be called Playboy,” she said.

India, the world’s most populous democracy, is attracting investment by foreign media companies trying to catch the wave of young urban migrants seeking jobs in the thriving customer service industry.

Founded in 1953, Playboy has about 20 local editions around the world that cater to local taste rather than simply export and translate its U.S. content. It would do the same in India, Hefner said, tailoring a magazine there to the standards of the marketplace.

Meanwhile, Playboy is also talking to publishers in other countries from which it has withdrawn, and others where it has never had a local edition.

“There are a couple of markets that we’ve been in and are not in right now because I learned long ago that it was better not to publish if we weren’t going to publish a first-class magazine,” Hefner said.

“I would like to go back into Italy and back into Australia with the right partners,” she added. “We haven’t been there for a little bit.”

Playboy also would like to have a UK edition tailored to local readers. The British men’s magazine market is among the most cutthroat with monthly titles cramming newsstands, and two weekly titles geared toward younger males.

“While it’s a competitive market, it’s also an important market,” Hefner said.

“Our merchandise is doing great there, our TV is doing great there and we just launched a local Web site,” she added.

“For all those reasons, I would like to have a local magazine. We have to attract interest from someone we think could do it well, and who knows how to do it in that market,” she said.

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard)

Date posted: December 1, 2005 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 533