Playboy Magazine has seen some changes over the years, but it may not be able to survive the latest speed bump. The iconic adult entertainment magazine is shutting its doors due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus. While a lot of industries are temporarily closing up shop, the print edition of the iconic men's magazine may be done forever. The company has announced that the spring edition of their quarterly magazine will be the last of the year and insinuate that it will be their last one ever. While Playboy is doing well as an international brand, its print publication is sinking, just like everybody else in the game.
Magazines and news outlets are doing much better in the digital realm these days. It's been heading that way for over a decade and Playboy, like many others, has been struggling to figure out a way to survive digitally. Ben Kohn, Playboy's CEO released a statement addressing the coronavirus and the print magazine's future. He had this to say.
"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 U.S. print product to better suit what consumers want today, and how to utilize our industry-leading content production capabilities to engage in a cultural conversation each and every day, rather than just every three months. With all of this in mind, we have decided that our Spring 2020 Issue, which arrives on U.S. newsstands and as a digital download this week, will be our final printed publication for the year in the U.S."
Playboy was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan he received from his mother. In the 66 years since its inception, the magazine has changed the pop culture landscape and often been at the forefront of important issues from sex, to politics, and everything in between. With that being said, the magazine and newspapers are increasingly becoming a thing of the past, no matter what they are serving.
While the Playboy publishing side of things isn't doing so well, the brand as a whole is. Ben Kohn revealed that video subscriptions are up 30% and social media numbers are continuing to grow. The CEO says they recently obtained an additional 4 million Instagram followers. While the physical magazine might really be done for good this time, Playboy as a brand isn't going anywhere. Kohn explains.
"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. 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. Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are."
There's a lot of changes going on in the world at the moment, especially in the world of entertainment. As physical print continues to shrink, online will be the way for Playboy to continue, which was inevitable. For now, the coronavirus has everybody hanging out indoors and trying to socially distance themselves, which means business might get even better for Playboy in the coming weeks. You can read Ben Kohn's statement in full over at Medium.