Playboy Launches in India -- With No Pictures (PLA)

| About: Playboy Enterprises (PLA)
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From the New York Times:

In a little-noticed milestone for the world of sex-related entertainment, Playboy said last month that it would seek to do in India what it had never done before: publish a magazine with its usual fare, except for its name and its nudes.

...One reason for the plan, still in its initial stages, is the usual emerging-market strategy: when profits flatten in the West, companies pivot to India and China. Whereas Playboy's United States magazine sales shrank by 1 percent in 2004, its foreign revenue grew by 13 percent from 20 overseas editions published in countries from Brazil to Serbia.

Foreign magazines' interest in India is understandable. As media growth flattens in the West, India's is booming. It has nearly 200 million magazine readers and is the second-largest newspaper market in the world, behind China, with 79 million copies sold daily. The print advertising market is $1.5 billion a year and growing.

...Indian law prohibits the sale or possession of material that is "lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest" and that is without redeeming artistic, literary or religious merit. Soft-core pornographic magazines are available in India, but are taboo. They lurk behind other publications at newsstands, available only by whispered request. They also attract few lucrative advertisers.

On which Birinyi Associates comments:

I know it’s early in the year, but this one is sure to make the list of worst product launches- Playboy with just the articles. “I only read it for the interviews anyway.