Date
15 December 2017
Hugh Hefner launched Playboy in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. Its decision to turn a new leaf shows the disruptive power of the internet. Photo: Bloomberg, Playboy
Hugh Hefner launched Playboy in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. Its decision to turn a new leaf shows the disruptive power of the internet. Photo: Bloomberg, Playboy

Playboy covers up: No more naked beauties

Marilyn Monroe and Madonna — and a slew of lesser lights — bared it all on its pages.

And its mostly male readers have famously said they like the magazine not for the nude beauties but because it’s a good read.

True or not, the endorsement was embraced by Playboy to point out its redeeming qualities.

Now, by turning a new leaf, it’s hoping to survive the death of porn on print.

From its March 2016 issue, it will stop splashing undressed models and celebrities, according to Bloomberg.

It will be first time the iconic Playboy Playmates won’t be naked since Hugh Hefner introduced the magazine in 1953.

Print magazines, even ones as titillating as Playboy, are struggling for survival as readers flock to the internet, causing advertising and circulation revenue to shrink.

Nudity is easily available online.

“Times change,” Playboy Enterprises Inc. said in a statement. 

The announcement reflects one of the biggest recent changes in the media industry. Hefner took the company private after leading a buyout in 2001.

All publications now depend on social media platforms to distribute their content as fewer people visit website homepages, especially on smartphones.

Many magazines and newspapers have teamed up with Facebook Inc., for example, to host their articles directly on the social network instead of their own websites to reach larger audiences and make Web pages load faster.

The rise of social media presented a unique challenge for Playboy and its racy content.

Facebook and Instagram both ban nudity.

Twitter makes exceptions for artistic nudity, although last year banned porn videos from Vine, its short-video service.

Last year, Playboy.com cleaned up its website to make it “safe for work” and has since seen its monthly unique Web visitors rise fivefold.

The median age of those visitors dropped to 30 years-old from 47 as a result which the company described as “an attractive demographic for advertisers”.

Playboy’s print edition, meantime, will undergo a dramatic redesign, with larger pages printed on heavier paper “to give the magazine a more collectible feel”, the company said in a statement.

Still, one thing will not change.

“Playboy will continue to publish sexy, seductive pictorials of the world’s most beautiful women, including its iconic Playmates, all shot by some of today’s most renowned photographers,” the magazine said.

It will just be leaving some things to the imagination.

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RA

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