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Playboy puts entire 57 years of magazines online

This publicity image provided May 18, 2011, by Playboy Enterprises, Inc., shows a sample of the member home page for the web site, i.playboy.com, as viewed on a tablet device for the web-based subscription service Playboy is scheduled to launch Thursday, May 19, 2011. The service allows viewers to see every single page of every single magazine, from the first issue nearly 60 years ago that featured Marilyn Monroe to the ones hitting the news stands today. (AP-Yonhap News/Playboy Enterprises)
This publicity image provided May 18, 2011, by Playboy Enterprises, Inc., shows a sample of the member home page for the web site, i.playboy.com, as viewed on a tablet device for the web-based subscription service Playboy is scheduled to launch Thursday, May 19, 2011. The service allows viewers to see every single page of every single magazine, from the first issue nearly 60 years ago that featured Marilyn Monroe to the ones hitting the news stands today. (AP-Yonhap News/Playboy Enterprises)

CHICAGO – Good news for those who thought their copies of Playboy were gone forever when their moms found them and threw them away.

Playboy launched a Web-based subscription service Thursday called i.Playboy.com that allows viewers to see every single page of every single magazine — from the first issue nearly 60 years ago that featured Marilyn Monroe to the ones hitting the newsstands today.

"They no longer have to store 57 years — 682 issues — of Playboy under their mattress," said Jimmy Jellinek, Playboy's chief content officer.

Chicago-based Playboy has seen its circulation plummet from 3.15 million in 2006 to 1.5 million today and has been trying all sorts of gimmicks to attract readers in recent years. One issue, for example, included a set of 3-D glasses to better see a centerfold shot in 3-D; another turned over the cover to a cartoon character, Marge Simpson.

But if those moves were widely viewed as efforts to attract a younger audience, this one is also aimed baby boomers and even their parents, who might recall pictorials of long gone movie stars, interviews with the likes of John Lennon and Dr. Martin Luther King and the time Jimmy Carter famously revealed the lust in his heart.

And for those who have claimed they bought the magazine for the articles, the online service also offers a way to look at the works of such writers as John Updike, Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson and Norman Mailer just by typing in their names.

Jellinek is optimistic people will pony up the $8 per month or $60 per year for a service that's "meant to appeal to that sense of collective nostalgia and affinity." He calls the website "the world's sexiest time machine" and "an anthology of cool" for a magazine he refers to as "the Mount Rushmore of literary greatness."

But one industry analyst makes Playboy sound more like a tired, dusty half-empty amusement park.

"The problem with Playboy is it not only lost its powerful interviews, but it lost its lead," said Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi School of Journalism. "This is no longer the 50s and 60s when people talked about the interviews. And who cannot see the girl next door naked in this day and age?"

Husni doubts the service will do much for the company at all.

"The questions are: `Do I need it? Do I want it? Is it relevant to me?'" Husni said. "The answer is: `No, no and no.'"

Husni also said it is likely those who do subscribe will drop the service once they see whatever issues they were curious about.

Jellinek concedes the whole thing is something of an experiment aimed at a niche audience, but he also insists the service has value because it offers a unique window into the past.

"We're not trying to achieve mass scale here and move the needle for the company in a great way," he said.

Down at Stocks and Blondes, a tavern in downtown Chicago, opinions were mixed as to how many subscribers will be drawn to the website.

"The guy who would want to go back and see them (the magazines) already has them stacked up in his crawl space," said Internet ad salesman Bill Youngberg.

But his buddy, Ron Golminas, suggested such a guy is precisely the person who would jump — if he could — at the chance to subscribe.

"He can't get to them," Golminas said. "He's too old."

<한글 기사>

플레이보이, `인터넷 서비스' 개시

남성 성인잡지 플레이보이가 창간 이후 발행한 모든 잡지 내용을 인터넷으로 볼 수 있는 서비스를 19일(현지시각) 시작했다.

플레이보이는 메릴린 먼로가 표지 모델로 나온 1953년 12월 창간호부터 최신호까지 지난 57년 동안 발행한 모든 사진, 인터뷰와 기사를 인터넷 사이트(i.Playboy.com)에서 제공한다고 밝혔다.

플레이보이 측은 인터넷 서비스 구독료를 월 8달러(약 8600원), 연간 60달러(6 만5천원)에 책정했다.

플레이보이 콘텐츠 총괄인 지미 옐리네크는 이번 서비스를 "세계에서 가장 섹시한 타임머신"이라 부르며 "지난 시절에 대한 향수와 친밀감을 자극할 것"이라고 말했다.

이번 서비스는 베이비 붐 세대와 같이 왕년의 여배우 사진이나 존 레넌, 마틴 루서 킹, 지미 카터 전 미국 대통령 등 과거 유명인사의 인터뷰를 다시 보고 싶어하 는 독자층을 겨냥한 것으로 보인다.

플레이보이는 최근 젊은 독자층 확대를 위해 3-D 사진을 게재하고 유명 만화 캐릭터를 표지 모델로 삼는 등 여러 시도를 했으나 2006년 315만명이었던 구독자는 현재 150만명으로 줄어들었다.

그러나 일부 산업 분석가는 플레이보이 부진의 원인을 다른 데서 찾으며 인터넷 서비스의 성공에 회의적인 입장을 보였다.

미시시피대 저널리즘스쿨의 사미르 후스니는 "플레이보이가 성인잡지의 선도적 역할을 하지 못하는 것이 제일 큰 문제"라며 "지금은 플레이보이 인터뷰가 널리 회자되던 50~60년대도 아니고 누구나 발가벗은 여자 사진을 쉽게 볼 수 있는 시대"라 고 말했다.

그는 또 독자들이 이런 서비스를 원하지 않으며 과거 잡지를 보고 싶은 독자는 궁금해하던 사진이나 기사를 찾는 순간 구독을 중지할 것이라고 전망했다.

 (연합뉴스)

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