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Playboy teams with MindSpring

The companies strike a deal to launch a new cobranded Internet access service.

Playboy is joining ranks with Internet service provider MindSpring to launch a new cobranded Internet access service.

The service will launch December 1 and subscribers will pay the standard $19.95 a month for unlimited Internet access. Subscribers also will receive a free two-month membership to the Playboy Cyber Club.

The deal is similar to many that have been cut between portal sites and Internet access providers. AT&T, for example, provides access for several portals, including leading brand Yahoo.

The Playboy and MindSpring partnership allows companies to provide complete online services--with access and content--by simply joining together, rather than by trying to do it all on their own as services like America Online and Prodigy did.

Under today's deal, Playboy, one of the most successful Net subscription properties, will receive a bounty payment from MindSpring for each subscription to the service.

"Playboy Online's financial strategy relies on growing all three of the business' revenue streams: e-commerce, advertising, and subscriptions," Christie A. Hefner, chairman and chief executive officer of Playboy Enterprises, said in a written statement. "This alliance with MindSpring enables us to drive subscriptions to Playboy Cyber Club and receive bounty revenues for subscriptions to this cobranded service, while incurring little additional marketing expense."

The cobranded site will be available at both Playboy's and MindSpring's home pages.