RealTime IT News

Playboy.com Busts Out in Germany

Looking to find placement for its content overseas, Playboy.com Inc. this week teamed with FOCUS Digital AG to form a a joint venture in Germany, making it the first international play for the Internet medium of Hugh Hefner's long legacy.

Playboy.de, with an assortment of engaging articles and pictorials, will target the entertainment and lifestyle interests of young men as usual.

FOCUS Digital AG, a media company which is comprised of four business divisions, will fund Playboy.de and will initially have an 80 percent interest in the joint venture. Playboy.com will hold the remaining 20 percent.

Fueling the site will be an editorial staff based in Munich to create original content, use content from the German Playboy magazine published by Heinrich Bauer Verlag, and translate Playboy.com content originated in the U.S., including streaming video features and live event coverage. Now word was given as to the how many employees will operate the new office.

As part of the deal, Playboy.de will also link to Focus.de, the most highly-trafficked content site in Germany and a division of FOCUS Digital AG, through its entertainment channel.

The Teutonic site will mirror the multiple revenue stream model of Playboy.com, starting with primary moneymakers advertising and the subscription-based Playboy Cyber Club, and will eventually add the Playboy Store, Playboy Auctions and other e-commerce.

The Cyber Club boasts more than 60,000 subscribers paying $70 a year.

"We are excited to be launching our global strategy in Germany, a country where our magazine has been a commercial and cultural success for over 25 years, and the fastest-growing Internet market in Europe," Christie Hefner, chairman of Playboy.com and daughter to the man who spawned the legacy in 1953.

Larry Lux, Playboy.com's president, told InternetNews.com Tuesday that Germany was Playboy.com's strongest market overseas thus far and that the time for the company's international growth was just right.

Lux said fans can expect the site to go live by the end of April 2001. Focus.de will concentrate on localizing the content, which of course will be in German, to that area. On the homefront, Marcus Grindle has been hired as international executive producer and will start this Monday.

And Germany, Lux said, is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We plan to expand aggressively over the next several months, with plans to open offices in Asia and Latin America," Lux confirmed.

Prior to this week, the dot-com's last major play came in August when it unveiled Playboy Bachelor Party, a resource and e-commerce area on Playboy.com. The site provides party tips and city guides and sells bachelor party staples such as shot glasses, videos and cigars.