The first of the company’s platforms to feature the new wallet will be Playboy TV. The wallet will accept Playboy’s Vice Industry Token (VIT) in order to gain access to exclusive content. Customers will pay and earn VIT tokens to view original content.
“As the popularity of alternative payment methods continues to grow around the world, along with the reach of Playboy’s digital platforms, we felt it was important to give our 100 million monthly consumers increased payment flexibility,” Reena Patel, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Operations, said in a prepared statement.
Cryptocurrency will enable millions to enjoy the content, as well as those who will participate in the company’s Casual Gaming, AR and VR platforms. Customers will have more ways to pay, and in the case of VIT, the chance to be rewarded for engaging with the brand.
VIT will reward viewers for watching content. The decentralized, cryptographic token launched earlier this year and is undergoing a crowd-sale that will end in March. Information about the token is available at Vicetoken.com. Playboy’s digital wallet will be available later this year. The company also expects to integrate cryptocurrency to its AR, VR and Casual Gaming initiatives. VIT has also partnered with Penthouse, Extras, Playmen, RedHot TV, SkineMaxHD and other entertainment companies, according to the white paper.
VIT has an advantage over cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin because it serves as both as a medium of exchange and as a tool for capturing viewer engagement data in a single token, according to a white paper on the token’s website. In addition, VIT’s engagement optimization tools can permit content producers to tailor content to the needs of each individual fan.
Playboy struggles to monetize content, but the brand is strong
Though Playboy launched as a print magazine in 1953, today the majority of its profits come from the trademark and licensing agreements that have made Playboy Vodka and Playboy Bunny recreational wear a thing. Playboy doesn't share its financial information, but in 2015, the company made $38 million from its magazine and digital publishing efforts, and $55 million from licensing, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In January, The Journal reported that Playboy is considering folding its print magazine, which reportedly looses as much as $7 million annually, to focus on Playboy as a brand. One of the issues for larger companies in the adult film industry is that so-called "tube sites," like RedTube and PornHub, often host pirated content — at least until the copyright infringing videos get flagged and removed, but it's often a game of whack-a-mole as others are uploaded. This means advertising dollars are spread thin, and not always making it into the pockets of the companies creating the content.
It is 2018, after all. Porn is free, and print is dead. But maybe, just maybe, crypto could help monetize the struggling industry. It is entirely possible that we will be seeing many more entertainment companies shifting to the acceptance and adoption of various forms of cryptocurrency in the future.