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Playboy Magazine Will No Longer Feature Photographs of Naked Women

When we heard the news, a few people in our office assumed it was a joke; maybe it was written by The Onion. Playboy magazine, which exists because of nude photography, will not longer feature it.

Playboy magazine had 5.6 million subscribers in 1975 but those numbers have dropped to just 800,000 today. Apparently men don't need to pay for subscriptions to see naked women anymore and that convenience has hurt Playboy's business. In fact, they've found that nudity may actually be harming their business. 

Last year Playboy removed all nudity from it's website and traffic actually grew from 4 million to 16 million page views each month. The average age of their reader also dropped from 47 to 30.

Playboy will still have "sexy" photographs but everything will be PG-13. The new theme of the magazine will hopefully make the publication more accessible and less taboo in the eyes of potential buyers. Playboy's chief executive has said, “The difference between us and Vice,” he said, “is that we’re going after the guy with a job.”

Apparently the true value in Playboy isn't the magazine, it's actually the Playboy brand and logo. The Playboy logo is recognized around the world similarly to Apple and Nike. The power behind their brand alone may be enough to make this the best business decision they've made in decades. 

If your interested in learning more about this somewhat shocking business decision, check out the full NY Times article


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Bill Peppas's picture

Is it April 2016 yet ?

Not a joke ?

So what is Playboy going to "sell" ? Barely scantily clad women photos ?
Oh wait, we already have that for free on the internet, and lots of it, on photography websites such as here on Fstoppers, 500px, flickr, viewbug, etc.

Strictly PG-13 photos of women ? We have that for free and in quantity on the internet.
Oh, and the same thing, only with more pages and free comes with clothes catalogs such as LaRedoute, etc.

They're better off selling the trademark.
I'd rather see playboy featuring "scantily clad and not so much" photos of photographers like "Sean Archer", Peter Coulson, Dani Diamond, Terry Richardson, etc than what they have been offering the past decades :D

Michael Riehl's picture

You know what they say, "Its all about the articles". I guess maybe thats true now. Thought from Wont they still offer nude stuff if you pay? Not that like what you said, it can be found anywhere for free and usually just as tastefully done if not better on sites like Fstoppers or 500px

Doc Pixel's picture

Wanna see something that will make your blood boil:
"The NYT says that the photos in the magazine will be "less produced, more like the racier sections of Instagram."

Yup! Just what I thought <crickets>!

Simon V's picture

Imagination is for many a much stronger experience than full on visuals. The experience of a story by reading a book is much more personal and intense than film / visuals. So if the pictures will be done in such a way that they look more raw and leaving room for imagination; I would be interested to get a copy.

Doc Pixel's picture

Don't need a copy. Head on over to 500px.

I'm sure there's more than a million gorgeous clothed, half-clothed and even (shock to the system!) tasteful nudes... from truly professional photographers the world over. A lot #nofilter to boot.

Or you could stick around here and see some of the great portfolios from some talented people... but at only a few thousand, it might not satisfy more discerning needs. (then see above)

John Cage's picture

hmmm... this must be a joke:) it's like porn sites without porn!?!?:(

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Magazines like Maxim / Stuff / GQ / FHM have successfully done this for a long time. I feel like Playboy is going to be late to the party. I think the only difference is the brand power that PlayBoy will bring to this magazine genre.

Antonio Carrasco's picture

Lol, I think all of those magazines you cited are out of business, except Maxim, which is very much on its deathbed.

Terry Hernlund's picture

Umm... All of those are still pretty big publications. Are you living under a rock?

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Good to hear they are still around. I haven't read any of them since 1999.

Altares 13th's picture

Absolutely adore the illustration you choose for the article.

Derek Madge's picture

Is this Hugh Hefner finally deciding he has done all he can on this earth?

I like looking at beautiful women, nude or not, as much as the next guy. Maybe more, depending on who the next guy is. But I haven't glanced at a Playboy magazine for about two decades.

Playboy magazine was also known for high quality interviews with cultural and political figures, lifestyle news and advice. All if which can be found elsewhere and often free, though usually not as well thought out and written. And, being Canadian and low to middle income most of my life, the American lifestyle, social and political issues and pricey lifestyle "shilling" was not that relevant to me.

My first reaction was...' well definitely no reason to buy it now'... but if it were to maintain, or "up" the editorial content quality, they may just pull this off. Perhaps they should merge with The New Yorker or Atlantic magazines. At least there would still be room for the witty cartoonists.

Louis Baldock's picture

So are they under the impression that the naked women are the reason that sales are slumping?

Lee Morris's picture

I think in the past people bought it for porn while they can find porn for free now.

The nudity makes it less accessible so yes I guess it is partly the cause.

Doc Pixel's picture

So I was wondering: have ya gotten a call yet from PB to use pictures from your iPhone 6 With Hot (Girl Next Door) Neighbor Shooting?

Would seem to be just what PB is looking for... but I hear they're only planning on giving "honorable mention tags" for worldwide exclusive licensing, and you'll probably be asked to deliver a variety with multiple filters applied.

Me personally, I think you and Mel are way better than that! ;)

Doc Pixel's picture

Clipped from ArsTechnica article:

The circulation figures illustrate that fact nicely: from a peak of around 5.6 million subscribers in 1975, Playboy is now down to around 800,000.

The decision to revamp the magazine is no doubt predicated on last year's decision to remove nudity from the Playboy website. In 2014, before the change, the Playboy website had about 4 million users with an average age of 47; today, with no nudity, the site has about 16 million users with an average age of "just over 30."

Also interesting is the circulation numbers for magazines I found in another article. Fazit: print is dying the slow death predicted long ago. The figures are from 2013, but I don't expect that they've risen any since then:

Top 25 U.S. Consumer Magazines for the Second Half of 2013 - See more at: http://auditedmedia.com/news/blog/2014/february/us-snapshot.aspx#sthash....

Brian Rankin's picture

It seems like people forget that Playboy was at one time, a rather highbrow magazine. They published exclusive short stories from people like Hemingway, Garcia-Marquez, and Atwood. The women were eye candy, but the magazine tackled heavy issues, and featured a ton of arts and culture content.

If they can bring it back to that, I'm all in.

Sean Archer's picture

Yes, in early 70's.

michael buehrle's picture

have not looked at one in probably 10 years at least . too much free stuff out there now.

Christian Webb's picture

So long as they keep the engaging articles and incredible writing....really...that's all the matters yeah? I mean....it's the articles we all love right? ;~O

filmkennedy's picture

Talk about identity crisis-which Playboy has been in for a number of years. From switching from their typical "glamour" look to more fashion-like single light/natural light sets... And now to this.

I understand them going non-nude for online purposes so people can link to Playboy on social media, etc. But the magazine going non-nude? Think Hef is going senile... Playboy has been going downhill for years and at least for print will be the final nail in their coffin in the long run

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Most probably all nudity and [soft]porn will move to playboyplus.com (don't ask me where I got this address from).