Playboy back in the big brand league

Licensing revenue picking up the slack from stagnating publishing arm of adult property.
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US analysts are rating Playboy as a hot property again, saying the company could potentially grow earnings thanks to its licensing commitments.

The adult entertainment media company has been losing revenues from its publishing operations - which includes the flagship Playboy monthly men's magazine - as a result of rising costs. Indeed, the publishing arm has apparently been operating at a loss since 2005.

However, its licensing operations - including branded merchandise and destinations - and entertainment - such as TV, online and mobile - have been picking up the slack.

In the first two quarters of 2007, licensing has bought in $22.4m; if this continues until the end of the year licensing revenues will see double digit growth.

As well as the typical clothing and barware, Playboy has recently expanded its licensing interests to include destination investments, such as the Playboy Club at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas and the newly announced Playboy Mansion Macao, set to open in China in 2009.

It has also increased its push to sell more traditional branded products by building flagship merchandising stores, including an upscale 4,000 square foot retail outlet in London.

Playboy is also developing products for new technologies. For example, in June it launched a mobile service called iPlayboy for the Apple iPhone which allows users to download Playboy content wirelessly to their handset.

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