Through the Fly's Eyes: Playboy
From Larry Ramer of Theflyonthewall.com
Playboy Enters the Social Networking Arena
News Corp.’s (NWS) MySpace and Facebook have a new competitor to contend with in the social networking space – Playboy (PLA). The Playboy bunny has decided to hop into the online social networking field, by launching “PlayboyU.com,” a social networking website targeted specifically at college students.
PlayboyU.com will have at least two advantages over MySpace and Facebook. The first one is fairly obvious – PlayBoyU will presumably have a little more leeway when it comes to “risqué” content. It seems to be widely accepted that one of the reasons young men and women use social networking sites is to see and be seen. Sometimes they let a lot of themselves be seen, and that is likely viewed as a positive thing by many teenagers and young adults. Playboy will probably be able to be much more lenient in how much skin is shown on their site than Facebook and MySpace. That may allow them to quickly draw more young men and women away from these competitors.
The second advantage is a little less obvious. It has always seemed strange that there is very little media specifically targeted to college students, even though they are so sought after by advertisers. For example, although there are well-known magazines targeting men (“GQ”), women (“Cosmopolitan”), and children (“Teen” and “Highlights”), there doesn’t seem to be any prominent magazines that specifically cater to college students. So Playboy may have found a somewhat unexploited – and lucrative – niche.
But Playboy does face at least two big challenges as well with the site. PlayboyU probably won’t make too much money for the company if it becomes just another soft porn website, catering only to men. Playboy will have to walk a fine line, between showing a little more skin than its competitors, while taking care not to alienate female viewers. And, like all social networking owners, Playboy will have to figure out the best ways to monetize the site while keeping viewers happy.