Instead, the magazine will publish titillating photos of partially clad women, much like other men’s category magazines, such as Esquire, GQ and Maxim.
The move, in part, is aimed at boosting advertising. Most major corporations seem to tolerate ads running next scantily clad women, but not fully nude women.
The move also means the end of hefty six- and seven-figure paydays for fading celebrities who doffed their clothes for photo spreads.
Playboy has no plans to compete digitally either. It stopped publishing nudes on its web site last August, according to The New York Times, which broke the story.
The proliferation of free online porn ultimately drove the king of men’s girlie mags to the mat.
The numbers tell the story. Playboy’s paid circulation topped 5 million in 1975, but has fallen to about 800,000 now, forcing wave after wave of cutbacks.
Founder Hugh Hefner took the company private in 2011 after its publicly traded stock tanked. He hired Chief Executive Scott Flanders two years ago to revamp the publication.
The magazine closed its New York City offices a few years back and has slashed 420 employees from 585-member staff since Flanders came on board.
The new target audience according to Flanders is affluent urban males, the kind who live the lifestyle that Playboy pioneered.
The magazine was founded in 1953, a time when the nation was enjoying unprecedented prosperity following World War II. Rising affluence fostered a culture eager to expand its horizons both socially and sexually.
Although it’s best known for publishing photos of nude women, Playboy was also an early and strong advocate of women’s rights and the First Amendment. It was also a forum for radical ideas from influential artists and intellectuals.
In many ways, the magazine is going the way of print media in general, which has been upended by the disruptive nature of the Internet.
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