Online Lingerie Show Attracts 565,000

Magazine publisher Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. announced today that the Webcast of its Tuesday night lingerie fashion show, known as “Playboy’s Club Lingerie,” attracted more than 565,000 visits.

This volume might seem small compared to the 1.5 million visits that Victoria’s Secret attracted for its Webcast fashion show in February, but Playboy’s number might actually be more impressive.

Victoria’s Secret, after all, benefited from an expensive Super Bowl commercial that promoted its free Webcast. Playboy’s Webcast, meanwhile, was free only to subscribers of its Playboy Cyber Club online service, which features online chats and access to Playboy’s pictorial and TV programming libraries. Viewers who were not members of the Cyber Club, which costs $6.95 (US$) a month or $59.95 a year, had to pay $5.95 to watch the Webcast.

In addition, Playboy’s fashion show was simulcast on Playboy TV, which reaches more than 23 million households.

“The success of the event is further evidence of Playboy’s unique ability to generate traffic through its own marketing vehicles without having to spend the huge dollars other companies do,” said Christie Hefner, chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

Playboy Plans Future Webcasts

Playboy’s Webcast, which was the largest non-news event ever streamed by INTERVU, was sponsored by RealNetworks, whose technology was used for the Webcast. Playboy says that 70 percent of the Webcast streams were delivered at broadband speeds.

Playboy also estimates that its Web site will receive 20 million page views in the week after the Webcast, with visitors checking out the site to view the archive of the show.

Playboy says it will produce its next live Webcast from the Playboy Mansion on New Year’s Eve. It will also offer a four-day Webcast from Mardi Gras in New Orleans on March 4th-7th of next year.

Playboy Planning IPO

Playboy announced earlier this year that it is planning to take its online business public in early 2000, subject to market conditions. In addition to offering content and the Playboy Cyber Club on its Web site, Playboy operates the online Playboy Marketplace, which sells Playboy-branded products, as well as items from retailers such as Amazon.com, sharperimage.com and Gourmetmarket.com.

With a wide variety of offerings and the company’s brand awareness, Playboy’s IPO of its online business is expected by many to generate a lot of buzz. Playboy also operates online stores that are unrelated to its adult offerings.

These stores include Critics’ Choice Video and Collectors’ Choice Music.

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