ANTHONY GEORGIEFF: CONSERVATISM AND PLAYBOY DO NOT GO TOGETHER WELL

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | August 30, 2002, Friday // 00:00

The Bulgarian edition of the legendary Playboy Magazine started attracting soaring number of readers in Bulgaria. For the first time Bulgarian audiences could see domestic showbiz icons stripping not only their souls. The new Editor-in-Chief of the Western-type magazine explains for novinite.com its success among Eastern-type readers.

Mr. Georgieff answered questions of Milena Dinkova

Q: Playboy Magazine stirred great interest in Bulgaria. How would you explain that?

A: I suppose it is a good magazine, isn't it. It promulgates the kind of liberal philosophy and attitude to life that is particularly relevant to Bulgaria. It is a quality publication that offers both good views and good reads. In my opinion, this is a sure recipe for success, particularly in a market not well-known for many Western-type glossy mags. One note: we sell about 60,000 copies per month, by far the highest of any monthly publications in this country. I guess this speaks for itself.

Q: What is your strategy for the magazine as Editor-in-Chief?

A: The PB scheme is well established and has worked well throughout the magazine's 50 years of history. We come out in 15 languages and in 18 countries. I do not intend to implement any major changes except that I will focus more sharply on things Bulgarian that the readers, understandably, find of greater relevance.

Q: What makes famous Bulgarian women want to be on the cover of the magazine?

A: If I may quote Juliana Kuncheva, the cover girl of the first issue of the Bulgarian Playboy, "It [Playboy] has overturned my life. I feel much more feminine and in better shape. I am overwhelmed with job offers, and my relationship with Zhoro [husband] has gone to new heights." Fame and fortune go together hand in hand.

Q: For how long do you think Bulgarian show business could keep up providing faces for Playboy Magazine?

A: Hopefully, for a long time to come. New faces emerge constantly and we are always on the lookout for fresh talent.

Q: Do Playboy sales depend on the cover girl?

A: Obviously. The cover of any magazine is what provides the initial impetus to buy. I would like to point out what I consider to be a major difference between Playboy-BG and a number of other similarly oriented mags in this country. Many of them make a promise on the cover, which they fail to fulfill on the inside pages. We always deliver.

Q: Where does Playboy-BG follow in the footsteps of the US edition and where does it escape the original model?

A: We propagate the kind of liberal attitude to life, which has become the trademark of Playboy-US. But we are based on local culture and tradition. There are no strict guidelines except for good taste.

Q: Most prominent people are being interviewed by Playboy without escaping edgy subjects. What does your feedback imply?

A: Personally, what I remember from the dark days of the 1970s, when I got my first Playboy, is the interview rather than the cover girl. Many Bulgarian readers in 2002, I find out, do the same. We have had major interviews with famous Bulgarian personalities in the area of politics, sports, and the arts, and we will continue this way.

Q: Do you think more magazines for men could be accommodated in the Bulgarian media market?

A: I am not a market analyst, but my personal opinion is that a small market like the Bulgarian one might not be able to accommodate many new mags once it has Playboy. As I have said, we sell about 60,000 per month. Our readership is at least four times that figure.

Q: Are Bulgarians shy?

A: The answer is no, but let me elaborate a bit. As I have lived in Western Europe for about 15 years, I think I can see a number of differences between what people in Germany, Scandinavia, and the UK consider to be indecent and what the Bulgarians do. For one, the Bulgarians used to live in an atmosphere of oppression, including sexual oppression, for five long decades. It shows in their attitude to nudity. On the other hand, the situation has resulted in the Bulgarians getting immune from the kind of neo-conservatism that we have in some Western countries, including the United States. Conservatism and Playboy do not go together well. This perhaps explains why we are so big in Bulgaria.

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