China — not online porn — is why Playboy is dumping nude photographs

Oct 13, 2015
Anti-Porn
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China -- not online porn -- is why Playboy is dumping nude photographs

Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous. But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time.

Over the course of a decade, Playboy has steadily transformed itself from a publishing company to a company that sells bunny drawings to T-shirt manufacturers. Revenues from licensing Playboy merchandise went from $37 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013‚ marking about half the company’s revenues at the time (paywall).

Dumping the brand’s association with nudity, however mild compared to online porn standards, gives it a better image in countries where government policies towards pornographers can be highly critical—which just happen to be the two most populous countries in the world. Attempts to open Playboy-branded clubs in India were swatted by authorities twice. China, meanwhile, has repeatedly announced anti-porn campaigns in recent years.

Even with the government’s tough attitude to pornography, Playboy earns 40% of its revenues from China, according to the New York Times.

Playboy founder and publisher, Hugh Hefner - China -- not online porn -- is why Playboy is dumping nude photographs

Playboy founder and publisher, Hugh Hefner

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