Launched back in 1953 by Hugh Hefner as a lifestyle magazine for men, Playboy has spread into the broader media landscape.
Encompassing print, online, TV, apps, and interactive experiences, Playboy has pounced on its popularity to become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Its products are sold across more than 180 countries and reach over 50 million people per month around the world.
That’s a lot of content for a lot of people in a lot of languages. To cope with this complexity, Playboy decided to suit up and select a new content management system. And they had one key consideration in mind: it should enable its editors to create content that adapts to any device and platform used by Playboy readers.
The CMS platform that Playboy decided to go with was Contentful.
The strengths of Contentful were soon realized by the Playboy team upon the relaunch of its website.
Facilitating the story
Playboy continually rolls out special features, trending topics, and new storytelling formats – meaning content teams need to build and maintain new content type templates while continually publishing regular content.
“Typical ways in which readers interact with, discover, and recommend our content evolve faster than traditional CMS vendors can adapt to these changes” said Rachel Melville, senior director of product management at Playboy. “Which is why it is so important for us to have control over how our content is structured and presented.”
Most traditional content platforms can have quite a difficult-to-use database setup. With the implementation of Contentful, content teams can move with agility. “Beyond saving us tons of time,” said Cullie Laws, senior director of digital media ops, “the ability to define content structures independently means we can surprise our fans with innovative features and respond better to new trends in media distribution.”
As of today, Playboy’s media archive is made up of 100,000s of files – and is continually growing. In managing these, a few challenges spring up. “At our scale,” added Cullie, “working with media assets is fraught with problems at every step of the way: from managing sizable uploads and locating specific assets to optimizing images for viewing on mobile devices and ensuring their long-term availability.”
Fortunately, Contentful comes with broad out-of-the-box capabilities that can address these problems. These include simplified asset importing, tools for image editing, smarter algorithms, and easy external integrations. “We host, encode, and serve our videos from the Ooyala video platform,” said Rachel. “Being able to search for and preview these videos without even leaving my content editor has dramatically simplified our workflow.”
A platform for multi-device modernity
Creating and publishing content are only part of the media business. Today, organizations must think about more scalable ways of getting content out. “As a global brand,” said Phillip Morelock, chief product officer for digital media, “we do not choose between desktop and mobile, Android and iOS, English and Spanish. We want our readers to find us in any format, on any device, in any language.”
Playboy’s selection of Contentful to power its digital content, which saves information in structural ways that are not tied to the front-end presentation layer. And through the use of APIs, the content management system lets editors publish new pieces across all apps and platforms at the same time.
“Having one publish button for all websites, apps, and device types is exactly what we looked for in a CMS,” added Rachel. “No need to maintain multiple versions of an article. No painful delays in syncing content. No need to guess which images will break the small-screen layout.
“With Contentful, our contributors can abstract themselves from the technical nitty-gritty and focus instead on what they do best – entertaining and surprising the readers.”