It’s a new era for Playboy as the company attempts to shift its DNA from risqué adult magazine to a producer of edgy lifestyle content.
The company once known for featuring naked women and those iconic bunny ears is readying to take on a new generation of viewers through a move into digital video production.
Flanders presented a robust slate of new programming at the recent NewFronts in New York, with content covering verticals from lifestyle, documentary and scripted comedy to gaming and food.
“With the debut of our original video slate, we’re continuing to usher in a new era of Playboy. And we’re just getting started,” said CEO Scott Flanders at the May 13 event
Despite a widely felt decline in print, Playboy maintains a strong audience. According to company statistics, the brand reaches more than 150 million customers each month through print, online and digital media. Much of that audience is made up of millennial males.
New digital series coming to Playboy (platforms not yet specified) include:
- House of Waris: Designer Waris Ahluwalia hosts regular dinner parties featuring luminaries from the entertainment industry. The first episode will feature Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black), Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon (pictured), SNL alum Horatio Sanz and filmmaker Liz Goldwyn;
- The Life by Playboy, which takes an inside look at the editing and production process of Playboy magazine’s lifestyle section;
- Tech 360, a VR series hosted by tech blogger Jon Rettinger and model/pro-gamer Amy Willerton, who take audiences on a tour of the most famous tech destinations around the globe;
- Meccas, a docuseries that explores the world’s most sought-after destination, from Cuba’s rum haunts to the most beautiful vineyards in the world;
- Coaching Trees (Chef Edition), which delves into the lives of the world’s most respected chefs;
- Journalista, hosted by Playboy correspondent Yoonj Kim, who takes audiences into the fascinating world of experiential and immersive journalism;
- What the Food?!, in which gastronomist Wylie Dufresne and mixologist Dave Arnold deconstruct and reconstruct innovative new dishes, MythBusters-style;
- Dinner Date with Furious Pete: YouTuber Peter Czerwinski (who boasts 2.9 million subscribers on the platform) teaches men how to cook impressive yet easy meals for their dates;
- The Booze Room, a weekly comedy news show starring comedian Josh Wolf (Chelsea Lately) and mixologist Alex Day, who discuss the news of the week while enjoying a stiff drink;
- Sprout, a scripted comedy series about an overweight, foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Hollywood type who delivers a satirical view of L.A. culture;
- Fronting, starring Viner Jon Paul Piques (3.1 million followers) as the leader of a start-up sports agency run by a team of unpredictable misfits;
- Robots are Hard, a scripted comedy set three years into the future where humans must deal with brilliantly created robots, who have more personality than the humans can handle;
- Strangeplay with Mr. Sark: YouTuber Mr. Sark (one million subscribers) explores the world of gaming through commentary, reenactments and comedy skits; and
- Gamer Next Door starring gamer and Playboy Playmate Pamela Horton, who delivers interviews with popular gamers and influencers and a sneak peak at the latest game previews.
Along with its programming, Playboy has also launched Playboy Studios, an in-house branded content studio for advertisers. The studio will be headed up by Playboy magazine deputy editor Hugh Garvey.
The shift to digital video comes six months after Playboy announced it would no longer feature photos of nude women in its magazine — a change that officially took effect this past March. In a report in the New York Times, Cory Jones, chief content officer at Playboy Enterprises, said, with the prevalence of nudity on the internet, nudity in print has become “passé.”
At the NewFronts, Jones described the past few months as a “content transformation.”
“The slate of original video programming we have introduced today reflects our authoritative voice, advising and entertaining men. We have never had a bigger audience at Playboy and we are all very eager to introduce them to this incredible collection of new franchises,” said Jones.