“Far less than 50%” of Playboy consumption now happens on its owned-and-operated properties, and 80% of its traffic is coming from smartphones and tablets, according to Morelock.
“I would say I aspire to grow our on-platform audience by looking at ways to drive community engagement to keep audiences on our properties, but also to entertain people wherever they are,” he said.
“The relevant question is whether you’re building a brand, an audience and a fan base that wants to engage with you. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter what your distribution strategy is.”
Although he didn’t name specifics, Morelock said traffic “really exploded” after Playboy removed nudity and adult content because it could take advantage of wider distribution opportunities.
Prior to that, Playboy largely got its traffic from search.
As such, social video has become increasingly important to the publisher. Playboy monetizes video in a variety of ways, including through YouTube, direct-sold pre-roll and a partnership with TubeMogul for audience extension off-site, as well as on Instagram and Facebook, a platform which, Morelock joked, “is making us all phenomenally rich."
Playboy has a “pretty robust ad stack,” and licenses most of that technology, according to Morelock. He said Playboy’s data management platform integrates with buyers’ systems to tap into its audience data set pretty consistently.
One segment Playboy promises advertisers access to are gamers who aren’t “Gamers” with a capital G, but see gaming as part of their off-hours lifestyle.
“We’ve already booked more gaming revenue [in four months] this year than all of last year,” Morelock said. “It’s going to be a phenomenal growth category for us.”