Christie Hefner, Chairman & CEO of Playboy Enterprises

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, December 12, 2001.

BRENDA BUTTNER, HOST: It's one of the world's most recognizable brands. But long gone are the days that Playboy meant just a magazine subscription and bunny ears. The company was created nearly 50 years ago by notorious playboy Hugh Hefner. It's now run by his daughter. And well, you could say, "you've come a long way, bunny."

Joining me now, chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Christie Hefner.

Thanks so much for joining us.


BUTTNER: Well, magazines such as yours tend to do well during war time. Are your subscriptions up?

HEFNER: I would say we are recession resistant. I think, generally, entertainment magazines, home videos, even movie ticket purchases — when people maybe are deferring big trips — do well, because people want a little escapist entertainment.

BUTTNER: And the company is much more than about just the magazine now. You're licensing, you've got new Playboy underwear for men and women right now, offered at Bloomingdales.

HEFNER: Yes, what we've really done is take the success of the magazine, which has remained the best-selling magazine for the men in the U.S. and the world for over four decades, and leveraged that into higher margin, higher growth businesses — specifically, licensing and electronic entertainment. And as you say, we've just begun a very exciting expansion on the licensing side.

We've noted with interest Victoria's Secret's success, felt that there was a role for Playboy in both men's underwear and women's lingerie, and are now in Bloomingdales and Macys and Lord & Taylor for the Christmas season.

BUTTNER: Your image, though, is so important. It's sort of like the girl next door, undressed. But you've added three hard core pay-per-view cable systems, cable networks. Aren't you afraid that by kind of stepping over into porn, you're going to have people running away from your product and investors running away from your stock?

HEFNER: What I think is important is, we have a dual brand strategy for Playboy Enterprises. So the Playboy brand positioning, which is very much the sexy lifestyle entertainment positioning that allows us to have the licensed products and the on-line business, is separate from the Spice movie services. It's rather like Disney owning Miramax. It's a separate business marketed separately to the consumers. And there is clearly a large number of adults who would like to see sexually oriented content, that itself could be done very well, in a way that couples enjoy sharing it.

So what we're really doing is leveraging our television relationships with large MSOs like AT&T and DBS suppliers, like DirecTV, to provide them the content that their consumers want. The adult content under the Spice brand, and the more lifestyle, playmate girl next door content under the Playboy brand.

BUTTNER: OK, thank you so much. Christie Hefner, CEO of Playboy.

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