By Ciara Linnane
Playboy has an estimated 97% unaided brand awareness that gives it a reach of more than $3 billion in global consumer spend. The only similar brand is Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.38% , said Kohn. “It would take billions of dollars and multiples of our market cap to replicate it,” he said.
Of course, PLBY Group is not currently capturing all of that $3 billion in spending. The company’s recent first-quarter earnings showed net income of $5.5 million, or 12 cents a share, a turnaround from a loss of $4.9 million, or 17 cents a share, a year ago.
Revenue came to $69.4 million, up from $42.7 million a year ago, for a growth rate of 63%. The FactSet consensus was for a loss of 6 cents a share and revenue of $68.5 million, and the stock rallied on the numbers.
“There’s a massive dislocation between revenue and consumer spend,” said Kohn. “We’re basically a 69-year-old startup.”
The plans for CenterFold were in the works for months and the platform is expected to act as “top of the funnel” for other products and services. Rapper Cardi B, the platform’s first creative director in residence and founding creative director, hosted an afterparty for the recent Met Gala.
The party was livestreamed, and Cardi B offered subscribers access to behind-the-scenes content for a fee. Playboy outfitted dancers at the event in bunny costumes, and between social media posting and press coverage reached more than 2 billion consumers in a week, said Kohn.
Playboy has since recruited model and entrepreneur Amber Rose as a founder creator, and has signed 40 others to promote its merchandise on their social channels, including lingerie brand Honey Birdette, which it acquired in 2021, and Yandy, another lingerie brand acquired in 2019.
Playboy has also entered the market for nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, the blockchain-powered marketplace for digital art. While the NFT market seems to have slowed, for now, Kohn is confident the company can still find ways to monetize its archives, which include original artwork, photography, cartoons, interviews and multimedia.
One plan is for a series of podcasts on the Audible platform, in which actors will perform famous celebrity interviews from the magazine’s past. “The Playboy Interviews” include Taye Diggs starring as Muhammad Ali and civil-rights icon Charles Evers; Michael Shannon voicing Tennessee Williams; Maya Hawke as Helen Gurley Brown; Gael García Bernal as Salvador Dalí; Kevin Corrigan as Frank Sinatra and Gina Gershon voicing Oriana Fallaci, among others.
Another big shift for Playboy is that its customer base now skews far younger and is evenly split between men and women. Roughly 78% of its consumers are Gen Z and millennials.
Kohn says he opted to quit the private-equity world for an operating role “because it was the biggest opportunity in my career.”
“I would not have done it with Hefner alive, because it couldn’t evolve,” he said. “But with his passing, the question became, ‘What’s the value of Playboy?’ And then to move from there.”
Chardan Global Insights, which rates the stock a buy, agrees there is “substantial value” in the company.
“At a roughly $350mn market cap, PLBY remains compelling,” said analyst Brian Dobson, citing the brand, Honey Birdette, CenterFold, and the media and art portfolio as strong assets.
“We continue to project a roughly 25% revenue compound annual growth rate through 2025, driving operating margin to expand to about 16%,” Dobson wrote in a note to clients last week.