New Initiatives, Playboy-Mexico to launch South American and US

Mexican magazine publisher Grupo Sayrols will expand its Playboy-Mexico edition to the Chilean, Argentinean and Venezuelan markets. Gerardo Ramirez, marketing director of Playboy Mexico, told Portadatm that he expects to start distributing the magazine in these countries at the end of 2003.

Ramirez said that the US Hispanic market could also be included as a new distribution target. Grupo Sayrols now owns the franchise rights for Playboy's Spanish edition in the Americas for eight years. Playboy International publishes another edition for Latin America in Portuguese (Playboy-Brazil).

Playboy launched a US-Hispanic edition in October 1997, but the magazine, published by franchisee Group Seven Communications, did not achieve its circulation targets. Competition from Playboy's English edition caused its demise. (Playboy-USA was the 15th most read magazine in the US in 2001 with a circulation of 3,157,000 copies according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation). As a result, Playboy Enterprises turned over the rights for the US Hispanic market to its Mexican franchisee. Playboy Enterprises also owns Playboy TV en español, a US Hispanic network reaching more than three million Hispanic households.


A Mexican success story?

Playboy-Mexico was launched in October of 2002 (Portadatm No. 1 January/February 2003, page 5). This was Playboy's fourth attempt to crack the Mexican market. This time success seems likely. Grupo Sayrols raised the circulation of the first issue from 50,000 to 70,000 copies after the magazine was sold out in the first 48 hours at the newsstands.

In November 90,000 copies were published, and by year-end 4,000 readers had subscribed to the monthly. Ramirez expects an additional 1,000 subscribers by March.

According to Ramirez, Playboy-Mexico has a built in audience – customers who previously bought US or European Playboy editions. Playboy-Mexico sells for 40 Mexican pesos (US $3.6), while the US edition sells for 59 pesos (US $5.4) in Mexican newsstands.

Manuel Martinez, editorial director of Playboy-Mexico, who worked previously at DirecTV magazine and Cinemanía, is trying to inject coverage of Mexican issues – such as a story about the Mexican soccer legend Hugo Sánchez – into the publication. He also hopes to include more sensual as opposed to sexual content. Unlike Penthouse or Hustler, Playboy-Mexico does not publish photographs with pornographic content or images of sexual positions.

This is also reflected in the publication's advertising policy. Playboy-Mexico does not accept ads for “gentlemen's clubs” or escort services. The magazine is targeted at men between 25 and 45 years old with high purchasing power. A full page color ad costs 75,000 Mexican pesos, (CPM of US $75).

To reflect its editorial content, more “glamourous” than “explicitly sexual,” the magazine has sponsored golf tournaments and car rallies, as well as cultural events such as a “Les Miserables”

performance. Sayrols is also developing editorial additions to the magazine like the Playboy-guide.

Changes in Spain

Playboy-Mexico is one of Playboy's 19 locally produced editions which have a combined readership of an estimated 5 million adults. In 2003, Mundo Revistas, a company owned by Barcelona based, La Vanguardia publisher Grupo Godó, took over the publishing of Playboy-Spain.

Mundo Revistas replaces RBA Revistas as Playboy's franchisee in Spain. Advertising sales will be handled by Publipress, also a Grupo Godó subsidiary. Executives at Chicago-based Playboy International noted that Mundo Revistas is a company that appropriately represents the Playboy's attempt to reduce its sexual content and improve the quality of its articles. During the last few years Playboy's circulation has lagged due to competition with sexual content on the Internet.

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