The owner of Playboy is accelerating the launch of its creator-led website Centerfold after agreeing to buy Dream, a social-content platform, for as much as $30 million (~R440 million).
The site will roll out in the fourth quarter, ahead of the previous plan for the second half of next year, PLBY Group Inc. chief executive officer Ben Kohn told Bloomberg in an interview. Dream will serve as the technology foundation for the new site, which will allow content creators to interact directly with fans, as well as offer access to other Playboy content and merchandise. The platform will also support blockchain integration and NFTs.
“We’ve been a free-expression platform for 70-plus years for some of the biggest talent in the world and this is that next generation of it,” Kohn said. “We are looking to not only provide a great platform for talent to work with us but to then leverage that into a much larger digital membership offering as we move into 2022.”
The accelerated rollout comes after London-based social-media subscription service OnlyFans caused an uproar among sex workers and content creators in August by banning sexually explicit material. The company subsequently reversed the decision after saying it had “secured assurances necessary” to continue operating without the policy change.
Centerfold.com will integrate different subscription abilities, including gifting, tipping and direct messaging, or “meets” with talent. The site will also serve as a larger commerce play, enabling creators to either work with PLBY on its existing brand or products or to create new merchandise tied directly to them that PLBY can sell.
The acquisition of Dream, which will be funded mostly in stock, is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Shares of PLBY have doubled this year to $22.70. Still, they are down sharply from May, when they were swept up in meme-stock and blockchain rallies that sent PLBY to around $60 a share.