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SO IT REALLY IS THE ARTICLES: John Mayer’s controversial and off-the-cuff interview in Playboy has led some fans to turn their back on the musician, but he has gained at least one new follower as of late: Playboy president Alex Vaickus. During an earnings conference call on Thursday with analysts, the Playboy head thanked the beleaguered musician for the comments he made in the magazine’s March issue, as it’s now been picked up by at least 1,500 media outlets, leading to 500 million media impressions.
The company had a bit more good news to share, with segment income in the print-digital division of $2.5 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $400,000 a year earlier, due to strong sales of the November issue with Marge Simpson on the cover and the decision to combine the January/February 2010 issues. The company noted that because it will publish one fewer issue during the first quarter of 2010, it expects to report a 47 percent decline in ad revenue. Chief executive officer Scott Flanders said the goal for the magazine is to break even by 2011.
Vaickus also said an alliance with American Media Inc. has the ad sales team there packaging Playboy with AMI’s fitness and sports titles and effective with the April issue, AMI will begin handling newsstand distribution for Playboy as well. This should result in further cost savings for the magazine.
Overall, the company reported a net loss of $27.8 million, compared with a loss of $146.8 million the prior year — impairment and restructuring charges were much higher in the fourth quarter of 2008.
— Amy Wicks