Is Boink the next Playboy?

Marketplace Staff May 8, 2006

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Parents with smaller children with them right now might want to turn down the radio for this next story. It’s about a new porn magazine that’s been getting a lot of attention of late. Boink Magazine is produced by and for college students. But in an oversaturated adult entertainment market, does it have a chance? Sean Cole recently picked up a copy of Boink — mostly for the articles.

SEAN COLE: One of the founders of Boink is Alecia Oleyourryk. She’s 22. Graduated from Boston University a year ago, shortly after the magazine launched.

ALECIA OLEYOURRYK: My dad’s like “Wow that’s $160,000 very well spent. Clearly.”

The other founder and the main photographer is Christopher Anderson. He’s 38. A fact that’s not lost on the reporters who’ve interviewed him. Including me.

SEAN COLE: Speaking of which, and I’m sure you’ve gotten this question a hundred times.

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON: I’m the dirty old man right? Is it the dirty old man question that I’m gonna get?

SEAN COLE: I guess. I mean…

ALECIA OLEYOURRYK: And yes it’s true…

[ Anderson laughs ]

What I really wanted to talk to them about though was money. Particularly when I read that the students writhing across the pages of Boink only make $100 a shoot. But Anderson says the models approach them.

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON: People don’t do this for the money. I mean, $100, you know, even for a college student, it’s something, but it’s not enough to entice you to do something that wouldn’t do.

And it’s more than the $15 or $20 he gave Oleyourryk when she modeled nude for his portfolio two or three years ago. That’s how they met, and became friends, and one day they got to talking about a student magazine at Harvard called H-Bomb, a more artsy journal about sex that Anderson had done some shots for.

ALECIA OLEYOURRYK: And then we kind of talked about maybe not just making a magazine about sex but making pornography and, you know, kind of unabashedly just calling it what it is. We wanted to put out something that was going to turn people on and you can’t do that and then call it “a magazine that talks about sex.”

The thing is, art and literature magazines about sex can be sanctioned at universities. H-Bomb got $2,000 from the Harvard student government to launch its first issue. A similar magazine at Vassar called Squirm is listed on the school’s Web site as a student program. Boink’s different. It’s a business, and Boston University in no way supports or endorses it.

SEAN COLE: Did you cost it out first?


SEAN COLE: Did you research how much money other magazines make?

ALECIA OLEYOURRYK: These are all going to be no. This was a fly by the seat of your pants endeavor. I mean, no.

Fortunately, a BU alum gave them about $14,000 toward printing the first glossy full color issue, a little more than a third of what it cost. At $7.95, Boink is about $2 more than the May issue of Playboy. And the way Oleyourryk talks, Boink might just be the next Playboy someday.

ALECIA OLEYOURRYK: Like TVs. Like, you know, starts off with one in every home and it gets to be like eight in every home that’s exactly what we want, sky’s the limit. We want it everywhere.

Right now, Oleyourryk is still waiting tables and putting Boink’s tiny profits right back into the magazine. But she and Anderson just signed a 6-figure book deal with Warner Bros. So maybe she’s making the most of her journalism degree after all.

In Boston I’m Sean Cole for Marketplace.

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