STANSTED, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and his wife Crystal Harris arrives at Stansted Airport on June 2, 2011 in Stansted, England. Mr Hefner is back in the UK to mark the launch of the new Playboy Club in Mayfair, which opens on June 4. The club's opening will welcome back the iconic Playboy Bunny to London after a 30 year absence. Famous Bunnies have included Debbie Harry and Lauren Hutton. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Like many other pre-Internet companies, Playboy has been, to put it diplomatically, struggling to remain relevant as business has gone online. It makes sense that Playboy, which is headquartered in Chicago, has fallen on hard times: All you need to get some porn online is access to Google and a dirty (or innocently curious) mind. With such a low -- and free -- barrier to access to such materials, why should people trek out to the newsstand and shamefully buy magazines in person from a snickering clerk?
But it's unlikely anyone at Playboy is laughing. The once dominant media empire is trying to claw its way back into the spotlight, and while it certainly can't be blamed for some network called NBC canceling the Playboy Club after just three episodes, its fair to say that gimmicks like 3D porn haven't been as lucrative as it would have hoped.
Case in point: On Monday, Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced it will relocate its Southern California offices closer to Beverly Hills City Hall. A consolidation of offices can be seen as a positive or a negative, but it's a big shift either way.
What's a little more clear is Playboy's Chicago offices are seemingly the appendix of the operation. "All of its top executives are in LA," Lynne Marek of Crain Chicago Business told WBEZ in late October. "[That] seems a little funny."
The Chicago offices digitally produce the content for the magazine. But, you know, things haven't exactly been rosy in the publishing world for quite some time now.