Playboy magazine has decided to suspend its print edition, marking the end of regular publication by one of the world’s most-recognized periodicals.
The magazine for men has struggled in recent years, as founder Hugh Hefner died and the print advertising industry dived. Playboy has tried to adapt to a changing world, briefly experimenting with a “no nudity” policy before returning to its roots. But the internet has created tough competition for its once risque offerings.
CEO Ben Kohn of Playboy Enterprises said the disruptions from COVID-19 were too much to overcome for the publication, which first appeared at the end of 1953.
“Last week, as the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic to content production and the supply chain became clearer and clearer, we were forced to accelerate a conversation we’ve been having internally: the question of how to transform our US print product,” said in a letter posted to Medium. “We have decided that our Spring 2020 Issue, which arrives on US newsstands and as a digital download this week, will be our final printed publication for the year in the US.”
“It’s no surprise that media consumption habits have been changing for some time – and while the stories we produce and the artwork we showcase is enjoyed by millions of people on digital platforms, our content in its printed form reaches the hands of only a fraction of our fans,” Kohn said.
Playboy has been on a quarterly printing schedule since last year. Kohn claims the Playboy business as a whole is strong and generates $3 billion in global consumer spend each year, with video subscriptions a key component.
“Over the past 66 years, we’ve become far more than a magazine,” Kohn said. “And sometimes you have to let go of the past to make room for the future.”