Hugh had better watch out. Some investors may start viewing Playboy (NYSE:PLA) as a growth stock. The adult entertainment empire announced Monday that it was looking to grow earnings by 20% to 25% in 2006. That's on top of predicted earnings growth this year from $0.30 a share to a projected range of $0.54 to $0.59 per share.

Further kindling the embers of growth, the company's profit targets for next year include a hit of $0.10 a share related to expensing stock-based compensation. If it were not for that line item, next year's earnings would be soaring by better than 40%. So, in the paraphrased words of the once-mighty J. Geils Band, can your angel be a centerfold?

There are plenty of reasons to appreciate Playboy, and none of them have to be fraught with ribaldry. We're clearly in the middle of a profitable growth spurt at Playboy, despite the company's recent small step back in the offline world.

Yes, back in October, Playboy did something that it hadn't done in 10 years. It revealed that it would scale back the monthly circulation of its namesake magazine. The company also disappointed investors last month, when its quarterly report showed weakness at its flagship publishing business, despite healthy gains in its licensing efforts.

However, you can't judge an adult entertainment stock by its cover. The company's prospects in the digital distribution arena are strong. Over the summer, Playboy finally decided to make its magazine available in digitized form. The company was never really much of a stranger in cyberspace, but this was the first time that it began offering its entire monthly magazine online. That's why the reduction in print copies was no big deal.

Now, let's take the Playboy story one step further. The digital distribution of video -- specifically short clips -- is what Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL) is aiming to popularize with its new line of video-enabled iPods. With Playboy's growing library of risque video vignettes from centerfolds, one would think the company would be among the biggest winners in the movement toward monetization of digital video.

Sure, it may also work out well for the more hardcore peddlers, such as New Frontier Media (NASDAQ:NOOF) or the online arm of Rick's Cabaret (NASDAQ:RICK), but Playboy's softcore adult entertainment has always been more socially acceptable than most. That's why Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) recently announced a video-on-demand deal with Playboy.

With file-sharing networks like Grokster and WinMX going dark, media focus has been on how this improves the prerecorded music industry. However, many of these peer-to-peer systems were also hotbeds of adult video distribution. It's just one more reason why things are looking up for Playboy, and it's all part of a cheery outlook that needs no airbrushing.

Fools, now is the time to open your hearts and wallets to worthy causes! Please support our five Foolish charities at .

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recently wrote about sin stocks. He has no idea whether online centerfolds come with staples. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.