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Playboy updates Web offerings

The print and online giant plans a relaunch of a site featuring its television and home video products as well as games and correspondence.

Playboy's march onto the Web will continue on Thursday with the relaunch of a site featuring its television and home video products as well as games and correspondence using the latest technology bells and whistles.

For the first time, this "site within a site," through a link from Playboy.com, will sell Web ads, said Jeff Jenest, executive vice president of Playboy Entertainment Group. It is another example of the migration by print and television media giants onto the Web.

Playboy is one of the most aggressive, offering both free and subscription-based sites, as well as e-commerce. This summer, Playboy opened a Web-based subscription service dubbed Cyber Club.

Making money on the Web is difficult, but Playboy's Web strategy, despite some delays in launching Cyber Club, largely has been successful. It came during a period of more sluggish growth on the print side. Playboy.com, the free, advertising-supported site, is profitable and the company expects Cyber Club to break even (excluding launch costs) in the fourth quarter, a spokeswoman said. Playboy.com is one of the most visited sites on the Web, generating 40.4 million page views and more than 4.3 million visits for the month of October. Cyber Club has more than 18,600 paid subscribers.

The Playboy Entertainment site is free. It offers a 3D "virtual bachelor pad overlooking a modern cityscape" where users navigate on the site. It lists the programming on Playboy TV, along with upcoming releases from Playboy's line of home videos. Users also can sign up for regular email updates on the latest Playboy news.

The site was developed with Zentropy Interactive, a content, Internet service, and software company.