Playboy pulls print edition due to coronavirus pandemic
Playboy says its current magazine edition will be its last physical publication due to coronavirus.
The famous men’s magazine had been planning to go digital for some time, but publishers day disruption due to the spread of COVID-19 has led them to “accelerate the conversation”.
Established by Hugh Hefner in 1953, the bowtie-wearing bunny mascot has since become one of the most recognisable American brands in history.
Playboy Enterprises chief executive Ben Kohn announced the decision in an open letter on publishing platform Medium.
Kohn wrote: “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 to better suit what consumers want today.”
A “revamped” version of the magazine has been published quarterly since 2019.
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Khon admitted that due to “changing media consumption habits” that Playboy printed content “reaches the hands of only a fraction of our fans”.
He went on to say that the Spring 2020 issue would be Playboy’s last.
Kohn said the magazine will now “move to a digital-first publishing schedule for all of our content”.
However, he said limited printed offerings would still be produced for special editions, creative partnerships and select collections.
He wrote: “Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are.”
The first issue of the magazine in 1953 featured nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe and sold more than 50,000 copies.
As well as nude pictures, the magazine also included articles from writers including Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as interviews with Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King Jr and John Lennon.
In 2015, Playboy stopped publishing images of naked women, citing the proliferation of nudity online.
Pamela Anderson stripped off for the final nude edition, however, by 2017 they had reversed the decision.
Hefner, who claimed to have slept with more than 1,000 women died later that year.
Recognising the need for change, Khon told Playboy fans: “Sometimes you have to let go of the past to make room for the future.”
After opening his letter by sharing his “deepest wishes for the health and safety of our global community”, he signed off “stay safe”.