Playboy is latest coronavirus casualty as iconic magazine goes online-only

Playboy magazine has given up printing its regular print edition as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Sales of printed copies had been dwindling for some time and the brand’s biggest audience is now online, according to offical company figures.

The magazine, one of the world’s most recognisable titles, published its first issue in December 1953. The magazine, which featured an iconic nude centrefold of Marilyn Monroe, was an immediate success.

Over the years stars such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, Dolly Parton, Jessica Alba, Charlize Theron, Carmen Electra, Lindsay Lohan and Pamela Anderson have appeared on its cover.

The magazine’s final print issue will be the Spring 2020 edition – which is due to arrive on news stands this week.

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An announcement from Playboy Enterprises CEO Ben Kohn said: “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.

“We will move to a digital-first publishing schedule for all of our content including the Playboy Interview, 20Q, the Playboy Advisor and of course our Playmate pictorials.”

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He explained: “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 … "

He insisted that the company would still publish occasional print specials, starting next year.

Kohn continued: “In 2021, alongside our digital content offerings and new consumer product launches, we will bring back fresh and innovative printed offerings in a variety of new forms – through special editions, partnerships with the most provocative creators, timely collections and much more.”

He added: “Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are.”

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In October 2015 it was announced that, starting with the March 2016 issue, Playboy would no longer feature full frontal nudity.

A combination of pressure from feminist groups and the widespread availability of much more explicit material online made the Playmate of the Month feature irrelevant.

The magazine U-turned on that policy with a second announcement on Twitter in February 2017 with the hashtag #NakedIsNormal.

In 2017 it went from monthly to bi-monthly, and the following year dropped to quarterly editions.

In response to widespread speculation that Playboy would be disappearing from newsstands, the magazine’s management said that would never happen.

  • Coronavirus

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