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UPDATED: Playboy Philippines First Issue: A lesson in being remarkable?

Sigh. Here we go.

Price: PHP 199.00
Page count: 128 pages including Front, Back, Inside Front and Inside Back Cover
Split: 24 pages of advertising
Notes: The page count is actually more than 128 as some ads are not part of the pagination while some are; note a special execution of a 3 page fold out (6 pages back to back)

Playboy Philippines aims to target a slightly older demographic. The advertisers for the first issue include: Bench Body, Oris, Sofitel, Marlboro, Johnnie Walker, Motor Image (SUbaru), Lacoste Footwear, ALEXIS (watches), Rudy Project, Tabaqueria, Hamilton, and Linden Suites just to name a few.

They seem to have their target market in order with the ads. I obviously can’t tell which of these ads were paid for in cash or via x-deals but knowing how foreign franchises cost (the cheapest I know is USD $1,000.00 per issue) it isn’t cheap. No worries I guess. They have the money given the number of ads for the first ish even if the cash-kind split is estimated to be 60%-40%. N.B. These numbers are not exact figures. I have no way of knowing the exact circulation, ad rates and other details. I’m just assuming.

The front cover features a half body Priscilla Meirelles reminiscent of a very 1970’s cover execution. I’m not sure if this was intentional as part of the editorial guideline but the front cover concept is very weak. I agree with Alvin that the cover lines are as half baked and unimaginative as the cover itself. They should take some lessons from Esquire, or heck, Playboy US!

There are notable names in the editorial staff including Vince Sales, Alfred Yuson, Susan Lara and friend Butch Dalisay. Good people. Great writers. As any editorial process goes, contributors may be involved in the conceptualization of the magazine. I feel a disconnect between the writer and the magazine. I can read Butch Dalisay’s work and wish they were in another publication, like Rogue or MANUAL for instance. I don’t feel Playboy’s influence on the contributors. I don’t feel the pride. Again, don’t get me wrong – the articles, at least those written by sina Butch are a good read.

All in all, the first issue of Playboy Philippines stereotypes the male consumer reducing him to his vital parts: cars, sex, gadgets, interviews and politics. Fine by me if Playboy came into the local market five years ago to issue that statement.

But don’t you get that feeling that you’ve heard this all before? For the life of me, I really don’t want to hear any more top 10 reasons how to get a woman in bed. Judging from the first issue, there is nothing remarkable about Playboy’s content. The investigative journalism articles seem more like “excuses” to be intelligent rather than a highlight by itself. The ability to be remarkable changes, and it changes often. Maybe five years ago this would have been something, but the industry is too saturated with these types of men’s magazines – Playboy doesn’t seem to be a cut above the rest. It lacks something. It lacks soul.

To be fair, this is issue one of Playboy. A magazine revamp is usually more visible after the third issue as it takes about 90 days for circulation to “liquidate” and editorial to absorb and internalize feedback. I think the moment of truth for Playboy comes not now, but after they’ve released a few more issues. The high cost of maintaining a franchise and paying good writers may be a financial burden in the long run. They need to do something remarkable. A hint: they can start by improving their photography. For crying out loud we have some of the best photographers in Asia living here in the Philippines! Oh wait, no more budget? Well it sure seems like it given the quality of the photos. They’re so circa 2003, comparable to the old layout of Toyz for the Boyz.

And another thing – they should change the illustration and art pegs. They look cheap and too comic-like. I highly doubt it appeals to the market.

Brain fart: My former editor had this to say about these “men’s magazines” — if you’re going to sell your soul to this kind of market, then you might as well go all the way. If not, then you’re not only damned, but you’re broke and miserable too.

If I had my way with the investment money and the staff I would rather franchise a local version of Sports Illustrated. Now THAT would click.

Update: Just found out from a source on a rumor — Hugh Hefner ordered the pullout of the first issue from newsstands.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

33 replies on “UPDATED: Playboy Philippines First Issue: A lesson in being remarkable?”

No titties equals no profit. That’s all there is to it gents. Playboy was a young man’s first look at the wonder that is the naked female body. From there, he proceeds to Hentai, pornos, then bukkake. Ah, bukkake, the national Japanese pastime.

Got a copy at home but haven’t read anything yet. But first impression? I agree, the cover is “Weak” and doesn’t grab you, the layout is “So-so” I still like the layout of FHM, and the Photography? I think they should have hired better photographers like versoza or alonzo or others. It just doesn’t cut it. The international playboy is known for it’s great photography. I dunno, but this one doesn’t sparkle or is muddled. The printing may be a factor as well. Hmm.. but it’s still the first issue, they still have time to redeem themselves.

It doesn’t matter how good the photography is if there’s no titties. People buy playboy for the titties. They don’t buy it for tech, for literature, for cars, they buy it for the titties. Now that the internet has made titties so prevalent, this has made it harder and harder for publications like Playboy to survive.

You want to know WHY FHM was so popular back in the day? Because every once in a while men get tired of seeing foreign titties, and they want some local titties. Showing local titties is still taboo in our catholic culture, so it was always a big event when a local starlet bared her titties in a bid to claim or regain some fame. This rarity of local titty on both the internet and paper publications drove FHM’s sales. Now that they’ve banned these magazines from showing any kind of titty, it’s all downhill saleswise.

Hi Alvin, care to elaborate? You’re obviously too lazy to defend your claim that I obviously have no idea what I’m talking about.

If you mean to say that you buy these magazines for the articles, I don’t buy it. When I want quality content about a specific subject matter I go to a mag/site that provides it. For sports, I go to ESPN.com. For tech, I go to engadget.com. For games I go to joystiq.com or 1up.com if I want something more in depth. For movie reviews I go to rottentomatoes or filmspotting. For titties there’s a whole boatload of sites I can go to. The list goes on and on. (yes I’m aware that I mentioned websites but the fact remains that since most content is freely available on the web I don’t bother to buy magazines anymore. I’d rather buy books to satisfy my print needs).

Look I appreciate the idea that Playboy wants to be a magazine that’s high class, that caters to the gentleman who wants a sophisticated magazine to complement his lifestyle. But that magazine’s not playboy, it’s called GQ. The plain and simple truth is that guys go to playboy for the titties, no matter how hard anyone tries to spin it.

You seem to know what you’re talking about, coming from the magazine industry, so go ahead and let me know where I’m wrong. I promise I won’t take offense. I might not necessarily agree with you, but I won’t take offense either.

Ryan,

I apologize on how that came out. The reason I said that you don’t know what you’re talking about is because the only thing I understood in your post is the word “titties”.

I didn’t want to elaborate on what I said because I came from the magazine industry. I know that anything I will say will come out as BS or biased. With that being said, I will be as objective as possible.

1. I think all you need to do is visit the Summit Media website to find out that after all these years, FHM is still #1. This is based on a 3rd party survey that was done by TNS, not by some in house survey.

http://www.summitmedia.com.ph/

Where exactly did you get the information that sales have gone downhill?

2. Any guy can get porn, sports, and videogames on the Internet, but it’s the articles and humor that guarantee repeat purchases every month.

The reason why I told you that you have no idea what you’re talking about is because:

a. No one has banned “titties” from appearing in the magazine. It is the staff’s own effort to self regulate.

b. You have no idea how much work goes into an issue of FHM (specifically the articles).

To tell you honestly, I get most of my stuff from the Internet as well (hence my blog). However, magazines still sell. Perform this simple experiment — get the latest issue of FHM and leave it on a table in let’s say Mc Donald’s. I’ll bet my left nut that the thing will be gone in less than 5 minutes.

I just don’t like the idea of someone who openly disses magazines, when obviously, you’re not a magazine reader in the first place.

3. Regarding your GQ argument (and this is my personal observation), this is the route that Manual used to take when it was still under Adel Gabot. All male cover guys in suits. Sophisticated look. Great articles.

Ever wonder why they only feature female covers now? Because it simply didn’t work.

I’d bet my life that in the Philippines, pit a local version of GQ against FHM, and the latter will win 9 out of 10 times. Not just because of the “titties”.

I just don’t like it when people judge magazines in general, when obviously you don’t read any.

Thanks for the reply. You make some good points but:

I harped on titties because that’s the only reason that I and many of the guys I know would bother to pick up FHM, Playboy, or any other “lad mag”.

On your points:

1. I stand corrected. So sales have continued to rise. I would simply argue that local guys are desperate for local titty content, so they’ll take what they can get.

2. Do you presume to say that there’s no articles and humor on the internet? Have you seen any zeropunctuation? Look it up on google, as a fellow gamer I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Weak argument sir.

a.I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I have my suspicions as to the utter disappearance of areola in the magazine. I simply can’t believe it was all internal.

b.In fact, I do have an idea how much work goes into articles. I have a little travel blog I run with my girlfriend and used to freelance for epldt writing about movies, games and sports. Please don’t get sensitive about this, as I never criticized the work. I have to admit that some of the articles on the earlier runs on FHM were pretty enjoyable. But the bottom line is I bought these issues to see Assunta De Rossi’s tits.

And seriously dude, if you left damn near anything of value on a McDonald’s table someone would pick it up in 5 minutes. That’s beside the point entirely.

3. Yeah I’m aware manual tried that tactic and failed, but maybe that just says something about your market. Perhaps Filipinos just aren’t ready for this kind of magazine, and your opinions are influenced by the people you know (ie smart, sophisticated 20-30 something men).

>>Ever wonder why they only feature female covers now? Because it simply didn’t work.

Man, you’re just digging yourself in deeper here. So MANUAL started using female covers to attract its male users. What do females have that men always want to see? Titties.

Why would GQ Philippines lose out to FHM? Partial titty. If you disagree then please explain to me exactly why GQ would lose, if all things were the same (ie quality of the articles, layout and design, etc.)

I don’t read many magazines anymore, and there are a host of reasons for that. But that doesn’t mean that I never read magazines and that I don’t have reasons for not reading them. Case in point: I stopped reading FHM when they stopped showing me enough titty to satisfy the cost of entry.

Lastly, don’t focus too much on the use of the word titty. Titty is just a word I used to replace men’s desires to see female nudity. would you have taken me more seriously had I used the word nudity? I just like titty better. Rolls of the tongue nicely.

P.S. Thank you for allowing me to indulge in some intellectual masturbation. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. 😉

Jayvee,

Both have different methods. I think I saw you there when they first released the results for Synnovate 🙂

I’m not too familiar with Synnovate method, but from what I know, they use phonecalls to survey so they can “get past gates” and into private subdivisions. I’m not really a research person so I don’t know the nitty gritty of that.

From my own understanding though, it can cause problems for magazines that have similar names.

One good example would be Mega and Meg — it can easily be mistaken as the same title, etc. At the same time, Mega is synonymous with Sharon Cuneta, so familiarity wise, there could be some confusion.

TNS on the other hand, is based on actual newsstand sales. Although Summit commissions the survey to TNS (and pays so much for it because it is part of the media kit every year), the survey is done based on actual receipts of sales for the specific survey period, and is 100% random. This eliminates the possibility of knowing where to funnel all possible trade marketing initiatives to drum up sales. Every year, it is done in September (I don’t know if it still is).

So in terms of reliability, I’d have to say both have different methods, so we’re looking at apples and oranges 🙂

Ryan,

Here’s my answer again, point by point.
1. Just want to clarify, I am not here “to correct” you at all. When you say that sales dip, just provide proof 🙂

2. To summarize this point, the humor you find in each magazine (not just in FHM), you can’t get anywhere else. Each magazine has its own following, which is probably a result of the distinct writing style of each.

If you buy the magazine for Assunta, then good for FHM. That’s still a magazine sold. Just don’t say that everyone buys it just for that. Mashado mo naman minamaliit ang magazine industry.

I also don’t think a blog is comparable to a magazine, because aside from the writing/photography etc, you have so much more to think about. You have to deal with the print quality, and overall flow of the magazine (all 100+ pages of each one). We’re not dealing with random posts here.

3. In your first post, you basically implied that if they had wanted to be “sophisticated”, they should have gotten GQ instead.

My question is this, do you think that would make good business sense?

“Let’s get GQ because we want to be sophisticated”

as opposed to…

“Hmm, let’s get a more known brand name and inject some sophistication into it”

Whether they were successful or not in doing that, is beside the point.

Regarding self regulation, if you’ve been to the Senate one too many times because of inquiries regarding pornography, you would do it too. Oh, I forgot, a blog is supposed to be the same as a magazine 😛

Something to think about:
When Eric Ramos released Pump! after his FHM stint, he showed more and more “titties” with every issue, thinking it could topple FHM.

FHM didn’t respond with more skin — they got more people so they could churn out more quality content.

THIS IS A FACT.

But hey, if you buy magazines for the “titties”, then good for you.

Alvin, I’m disappointed in your responses. You keep trying to defend the magazine industry as if I’m attacking it, when really all I’m saying that men go where the titty is.

1. OK fine I give in. FHM still makes money. I shouldn’t have made that blanket statement.

2. Perhaps there is some humor that is intrinsic into each magazine, but you still suggested that this humor can’t be found elsewhere.

>>Any guy can get porn, sports, and videogames on the Internet, but it’s the articles and humor that guarantee repeat purchases every month.

Do you have a response to that?

>>Mashado mo naman minamaliit ang magazine industry.

I wish you could divorce yourself from the magazine industry. Ang minamaliit ko ang utak ng lalake. suso ang habol natin sa ganyang klaseng magasin, hinde magaling na manunulat.

I never meant to imply that blogs are anything remotely near the complexity of a magazine. I only meant to say that I have an idea how hard it is to come up with quality content.

3. Don’t ask me a question without answering my question first. It’s rude, and it looks like you’re avoiding it. I will reiterate:

You said Manual Magazine started putting females on its cover because having men on it failed. Why are there females on the cover, and why do they attract men? I say titties, or partial titty. What do you think?

Also, Assuming a GQ Philippines came out to challenge FHM as a lifestyle magazine, and suppose all things between the two were equal. The articles were fantastic, the layout was superb, and the photography was world class. The only difference is that FHM features half naked women on the cover and GQ feautres Epy Quizon and Mark Caguioah. Who would have more sales, and why? (I’m obviously assuming FHM would win because of partial titty, but that’s just me).

But, since I’m polite I will answer your question. I don’t think that either GQ or Playboy would be a good idea business wise. In fact, I think it was downright stupid to pay the licensing or franchising fees for Playboy when you’re stripping it of it’s main attraction: titties. It’s a little bit arrogant for people to think that they could “change” Playboy and make it “more sophisticated”, don’t you think?

Regarding self regulation, if you’ve been to the Senate one too many times because of inquiries regarding pornography, you would do it too. <–So basically you admit it wasn’t an entirely internal process. You were forced by external pressures to make some kind of decision.

Pump promised more titty, but unfortunately it just gave us bad or uninspired titty. Also, I think it’s unfair not to factor in summit media’s marketing machine, the glut of “me-too” skin mags at the time and the overall environment that pump was released to.

Bottom line is that yes, there may be more to magazines likes FHM and playboy, but men go where the quality titty resides. All things being equal (equal amounts titty) then yes, the quality of the articles will make a difference.

But as much as you love your industry, the people your work with, etc., don’t fool yourself into thinking that as many people would buy FHM if it didn’t feature half naked women.

If you truly believe that it’s the quality of the content that sells a men’s lifestyle magazine, then release a magazine that has no titty content and let’s see how it does.

Oh wait, didn’t MANUAL do that already? How are they doing these days?

Actually, you know what I’d be interested in? How men’s fitness is doing.

First of all, I do not have any obligation to you, or to anyone here, so I could not care any less if you’re satisfied with my answers or not. 🙂

And two, at the rate we’re going, I think a lot of people may be reading this already, and I may be giving away too much info, so this will be my last post regarding this.

“Don’t ask me a question without answering my question first. It’s rude, and it looks like you’re avoiding it.”

Like I said, same answer as above, I don’t care if you find it rude. But to answer your question, of course FHM will sell more. However, it is a very stupid question altogether. With all things being equal except the cover? Posible ba yun? Lol. We’re talking about actual magazines here, not imaginary scenarios.

You can come up with the most outrageous scenarios known to man to prove your point, but I am providing you actual facts and first hand information. So leave the theoretical stuff out the window please thanks.

“So basically you admit it wasn’t an entirely internal process. You were forced by external pressures to make some kind of decision.”

I don’t admit to anything.

1. This ain’t no kangaroo court, and I can’t answer for the people in FHM. Why don’t you ask them?

2. If I had a say in it, I would not put nudity in every single issue. Based on my 4 years of experience, it just doesn’t work that way.

“Pump promised more titty, but unfortunately it just gave us bad or uninspired titty. Also, I think it’s unfair not to factor in summit media’s marketing machine, the glut of “me-too” skin mags at the time and the overall environment that pump was released to.”

Lol. I didn’t realize you had different classifications for “titties”. If we factor in Summit’s “marketing machine”, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation anymore. Using this logic, Playboy would have been doomed from the very beginning because they’re a start-up.

Don’t give me that argument man, you were clear from the very beginning that the only reason you bought magazines is to see Assunta naked.

“But as much as you love your industry, the people your work with, etc., don’t fool yourself into thinking that as many people would buy FHM if it didn’t feature half naked women.”

Like I’ve said time and time and time and time again, the women bring in the readers, and it’s the articles that keep them. If you don’t believe that, then keep on buying mags for the women.

Men’s Health? I suggest you check the survey information on the Summit Website again. Like I said, if I say more, may bayad na 😛

what i liked about Synnovate was — you’re right — it got through the A and B markets. people would be asked questions like “do you own a digital camera?” “how many?” .. and this really helped magazines in terms of really seeing if they identified their target market and for advertisers to see if they were placing in the right mags. Synnovate needs to be looked at in detail though because statements like “100% of all respondents for so and so gadget magazine own a digital camera” can be misleading. if you check further, the total number of surveys done was only 5.

but still, a phone call with 5/5 hit ratio says something.

as for TNS, what i THOUGHT i found iffy about it was that summit used to brag about it in their press kits. a summit funded survey saying that summit was #1 was kinda … well … but TNS has its merits as well. i feel that both methods have their uses.

for total magazine circulation and sales, i never really trusted the “pass on readership data.” the best way would be to run over to the printer and see the receipt for number of copies actually printed. 🙂

Jayvee,

I can understand the apprehension. If Summit didn’t fund it, there simply is no other way. I doubt if all the publishing companies would agree to sharing the expenses of doing such a survey.

Anyways, I think in the 08′ media kit, Synovate information is used already. 🙂

Why do people put smilies at the end of their sentences if they’re just going to be rude? 🙂

If you’re gonna cop out, just admit to it, don’t hide behind some bullshit reason like “giving away info” and not having obligations to anyone.

It says a lot about a person when they admit to being wrong, and when they find every way under the sun to avoid admitting it.

And for fuck’s sake of course there are classifications for titty. For example Mahal’s titty < Assunta’s titty.

Not that I’m supporting Ryan here or anything, but I will tell you why I buy FHM and why I bought the first Playboy PH issue- to look at the pictures of tits and jack off onto the pages.

I’m not trying to be gross here or anything, and yes, it’s easier to just download porn. I have 40 gigs of porn on my drive. But all I’m saying is that yes, there is a market for tits. ME. I like celebrity tits. I like jacking off to celebrity tits, because I’m damn sure that’s the closest I can come to celebrity tits.

I like celebrity tits. People like me like celebrity tits. There’s a market in it for celebrity tits. Similarly, there’s a market who’d rather jack off to internet porn, and buy FHM to read about Asia’s sexcapades and jack off to that.

Sex sells. It’s a tried and tested marketing strategy.

“First of all, I do not have any obligation to you, or to anyone here, so I could not care any less if you’re satisfied with my answers or not.”

looks like you conceded here…

Ryan is correct. Titties. Deny it all you want, but men buy FHM for titties. To suggest otherwise is hypocritical.

Ryan’s point about the quality of titties is also correct. I would like to add that it’s not just the inherent quality of the titties; the magazine’s photography also contributes to the overall caliber of FHM, thus its dominance in the market.

Playboy Philippines is destined to die out early if it does not live up to the original U.S. version’s legacy (i.e. quality titties). We’ve known for years that the mere mention of the words “Playboy Magazine” already implies tastefully-photographed bare titties.

And you know what? I was looking for comments regarding titty quality in Jayvee’s review of the maiden (pun intended) issue but there was no mention whatsoever. Look bro, I understand that you want to remain objective and inoffensive (particularly to the ladies in the house), but if you’re going to review a magazine known for titties, you’re going to have tell us guys (the publication’s target audience) the quality of the titties in the issue that you’re reviewing.

Men are not interested in details regarding the ads. Only industry insiders are interested in the ads. Men want to know about the titties. So let me ask again: How are the titties?

You guys are so funny, typing titties all the time =P So men buy the lad mags for the breast and nipple thrills? So it’s really not true that the articles are actually good?

My dad used to say that but he refused to show me these fabulous articles. My husband was all too willing and gave me a Playboy US (emphasis on the US, okay?) to leaf through. I then believed the excuse because the articles truly were amazing.

And then I read your exchange here and find that it really boils down to the titties! So funny =D

If a guy says he buys these magazines for those articles, he’s lying. Make no mistake, the articles may be good, but these write-ups do not sell Playboy, FHM, or whatever male-oriented publication you can think of.

They merely bolster the magazine’s overall worth.

Men won’t admit outright that they bought a naughty magazine for the mammaries, but rest assured–they really did. 😉

let’s all just agree that Playboy Philippines would be better off as packaging in a fish market.

i tried wiping my butt with it… but the paper cuts were just too much! OUCH!

True! True! I wanted to pick up a first issue copy for my husband ( surprise bah’) but when I saw the cover…I was soooooo too shocked..like total bewilderment…

I just stood there holding the copy, scanning its cover thinking I picked up Good Housekeeping by mistake!

Fácilmente, el puesto es lo mejor que sobre este tema que merecería. Yo armonicen con sus conclusiones y sediento se espera de sus futuras actualizaciones. Simplemente decir gracias no sólo será suficiente, para la gran lucidez en su escritura. De inmediato le toma el feed RSS para estar al tanto de cualquier actualización. De luminosas de trabajo y mucho éxito en su negocio Enterprize!

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