Playboy prowls for Net manager

CHICAGO: Playboy Online, the Internet division of Playboy Enterprises, is searching for a PR manager and may possibly be taking on an outside PR agency as well.

CHICAGO: Playboy Online, the Internet division of Playboy Enterprises, is searching for a PR manager and may possibly be taking on an outside PR agency as well.

CHICAGO: Playboy Online, the Internet division of Playboy

Enterprises, is searching for a PR manager and may possibly be taking on

an outside PR agency as well.



In September, the company announced plans to sell a minority stake in

its online division via an early-2000 IPO. But even before that decision

was made, it was evident that Playboy Online was generating intense

interest from media outlets and needed its own PR manager, according to

Playboy director of corporate communications Rebecca Theim.



Theim said that the company is looking for ’someone who has a passion

for the Web,’ and will charge the successful candidate with

differentiating the Playboy site from similar Internet offerings.

Playboy is conducting the search without the aid of a search firm,

looking for someone who has done PR for online entertainment sites.



While the new PR manager will initially report to Theim, the online

venture is also searching for a president and the PR position could

eventually report to that person. The new PR manager, who will either be

based in Chicago (where Playboy is headquartered) or New York (where

Playboy online has business staff), will probably be hired by the end of

the year.



As the company’s online arm searches for additional staff, Theim has

been handling corporate and online PR, as well as overseeing public

appearances for Playboy chairman Christie Hefner.



Theim refused to comment on her search for a PR agency to work with the

online division, but onlookers said any assignment is likely to be

sizable.



Playboy online includes Playboy.com, a free web site; the Playboy Cyber

Club, a subscription-only site that has roughly 33,000 members paying

dollars 6.95 a month; and the Playboy Marketplace, a site where

consumers can buy Playboy-branded merchandise. Revenues from online

businesses reached dollars 3.1 million in the second quarter, though the

division lost dollars 1.7 million during that period (compared with

dollars 1.5 million during the same period last year).



The site was redesigned in August to add more features targeting 18- to

35-year-old men. In October, Playboy started its first ad campaign for

the site, running print spots in Advertising Age and Brandweek, and

planning ads in young men’s magazines such as Icon, Interview and

Detour.



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