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Old Playboys are about to become easier to stash

February 10, 2007|From Reuters

Playboy magazine has occupied a special place in the closets and under the mattresses of men for more than 50 years.

But the magazine's mix of famous authors, celebrity interviews and naked women has been struggling to make a profit and now is turning to DVDs in hopes of finding a new source of revenue.

Playboy Enterprises Inc. has struck a deal to let a private publishing company, Bondi Digital Publishing, develop a series of DVD box sets that will contain all 636 back issues.

"It's kind of like the new version of microfilm," Bondi co-founder David Anthony said.

Bondi and Playboy declined to disclose terms of the deal. Bondi, which also was involved in Conde Nast's project to digitize back issues of the New Yorker magazine, will produce the six DVD sets, which will retail for $100 starting in October.

The move marks Playboy's latest attempt to make money from its bunny brand as sales of its flagship magazine decline.

The circulation of Playboy magazine has plunged to about 3 million from about 7 million in the 1970s.

Having digital copies would allow for easy searching for photos and stories, said Richard Gagliano, editor of in Rochester, N.Y.

"If somebody wanted to know what issue had so-and-so's article, William Saroyan or whomever, for $100 that's not a bad deal," said Gagliano, whose site lists prices for hard-to-find magazine back copies.

Digital archives also mean that collectors would not have to risk damaging rare old editions, he said.

Shares of Chicago-based Playboy jumped 40 cents Friday to $10.63.

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