This isn't funny, bunny.
For the second quarter in a row, Playboy
In nearly every way, this morning's report is even worse than the way that the adult entertainment giant closed out 2007. At least revenue clocked in flat last time. Now we find Playboy's revenue falling by 8% to $78.5 million in the first quarter because international gains weren't enough to offset domestic media weakness. The net loss of $0.09 a share is also wider this time around, even if a good chunk of that came from one-time items.
Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.06 a share on $84.9 million in revenue. In short, you're going the wrong way, Playboy.
The shortcomings are everywhere. Domestic television revenue dipped as Playboy TV cable subscription gains weren't enough to offset lower pay-per-view business. Publishing revenue fell, given the double whammy of falling circulation and ad pages. Even online revenue fell by 3%, but that has been typical of what other public companies with more hard-core Web properties like New Frontier Media
The only upside is a 5% increase on the licensing side, if you rightfully ignore artwork sale gains from last year.
There is hope there. The Playboy brand is still a global icon. The company is creating concept stores, and a massive entertainment complex will open in Macau next year.
As one of the rare Rule Breakers stock picks posting top-line declines, it's hard to argue that it's much of a growth story these days. My concern is that Playboy's popularity may be fading as quickly as my hopes of ever being invited to a party at the Playboy mansion.
Cyberspace was supposed to be a gold mine for adult entertainment, but where is Playboy? Last year's attempt at social networking -- the poorly conceived PlayboyU -- has been a bust (pun perhaps intended). It's certainly not eating into the market share of Facebook, News Corp.'s
Playboy needs to make a difference online. It can't let that beachhead get away, even as amateur video-sharing sites are giving porn away. Until then, pity the market if it somehow believes that Playboy will post a profit or grow revenue again in the current quarter.
The Playboy has no clothes.
For more Foolishness:
Playboy is a Rule Breakers pick. Find out what other cutting-edge picks the growth stock newsletter likes with a free, 30-day trial subscription. It may be free but it's more than just amateur exhibitionists. Time Warner and Apple are Stock Advisor selections.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz invests with a moral compass, although he wouldn't have a problem with the soft-core specialty of Playboy. He does not own shares in any companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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