Sanoma minimalizes Dutch magazine portfolio, including Playboy. We spoke to its editor-in-chief: Patrick Goldsteen.

Hester Gras

Yesterday’s news hit the media world like a brick. Sanoma Media Finland has decided to restructure its Dutch magazine portfolio as part a larger redesign of  their customer media operations. The move is expected to affect approximately 500 jobs (read the press release here). As a result, 32 magazine brands must yield for 17 remaining magazines. Playboy is one of these great magazines that no longer belongs to Sanoma. Its editor-in-chief Patrick Goldsteen, however, remains very positive. imgZine got the chance to ask him four questions about this famous men’s magazine.

Playboy magazine stops at Sanoma

Sanoma wrote that one of their reasons for taking this big step was ‘to continue the magazine brands that share the capability to transcend into digital media formats.’ What do you believe are the opportunities for Playboy?

“Playboy is a brand. I put the emphasis on ‘brand’, because today we cannot only talk about print media anymore. With regards to social media we are in Sanoma’s top, and together with our site visits and print magazine readers we have never been this strong before. Our target is to convert this into sales; a challenge for many other publishers worldwide.”

“We have to try out a lot, trial and error. For instance, we have recently launched a t-shirt with My-Brand. The good is purchased very well by shops, so we are now looking to extend it. It’s totally different from producing content, but our reach, and thus our brand, is our advantage. By reaching a big audience through our content, we recoup by another form of e-commerce.“

What part can digital media play in this, including tablets and smartphones?

A big role, there is a big shift from print media to screens. Today, people are getting used to consume content online. This is still mainly ‘snackable’ content, but books and articles are upcoming. Consumers just expect us to be there.”

Do you think a digital-only magazine might be possible in the future?

“Up to now, we are still selling enough magazines to make a profit. Therefore, we would love to give people access to Playboy’s content in digital areas. Unfortunately, Apple does not favor Playboy. We have to search for and work with alternatives such as Blendle.”

“I truly believe in this concept, because Blendle serves content on user’s reading behavior / preferences, and gives recommendations. For example, it recommends articles based on what your friends are reading. Readers can separately buy articles or buy a whole Playboy issue. As a result, readers who never read Playboy before can suddenly become aware of an article based on their preferences. This means new readers. And our existing users can simply read Playboy from their chair.”

Sanoma will investigate whether titles can be merged with other Sanoma magazine titles. Do you see this happening with Playboy? 

“Playboy stays Playboy: a brand and a license. I don’t really see it happening. Playboy always was and will be a unique magazine for fans of highbrow journalism, lifestyle, in-depth interviews and revealing reports.”

What do you think about Playboy’s developments? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! If you want to stay informed with the latest news and research papers on digital magazines and reading behavior on tablets, follow imgZine on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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