Penthouse, the girly magazine that took on Playboy by going hardcore in the 1990s only to see its market overcome by the tsunami of Internet porn, has gone digital-only, owner General Media Communications said today. The folding of its print publication follows the announcement from Playboy last October that it would stop running photographs of nude women. Penthouse has been on a downward financial spiral for years.
Founded in 1965 by Bob Guccione, Penthouse initially shadowed Hugh Hefner’s Playboy, publishing celebrity interviews and serious journalism by the likes of Seymour Hersh to accompany the photos of naked women and sex-advice columns. By the 1990s, Guccione, who died in 2010, was a wealthy man who lived a comparatively quieter life in New York than his Chicago-based, ever-pajamed rival, if one no less drenched in luxury. Guccione turned the magazine seriously hardcore in the late ’90s and was not averse to publishing unauthorized photos of starlets in their salad days. But beginning in 2005, new owners steered Penthouse away from hardcore and back to less explicit content.
“This move will keep Penthouse competitive in the future and will seamlessly combine our unmatched pictorial features and editorial content with our video and broadcast offerings,” said Jonathan Buckheit, CEO of FriendFinder Networks, parent company of General Media, in announcing the change.
“As FriendFinder Networks is one of the innovators of online social media, it is only appropriate that our valuable Penthouse flagship magazine now join our other web offerings, available through FFN’s established worldwide network,” added Buckheit.