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Thread: Playboy to Drop Nudity as Internet Fills Demand

  1. #1
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    Post Playboy to Drop Nudity as Internet Fills Demand

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/10/13....co/sW7ouNtjUg



    Last month, Cory Jones, a top editor at Playboy, went to see its founder*Hugh Hefner*at the Playboy Mansion.

    In a wood-paneled dining room, with Picasso and de Kooning prints on the walls, Mr. Jones nervously presented a radical suggestion: the magazine, a leader of the revolution that helped take sex in America from furtive to ubiquitous, should stop publishing images of naked women.

    Mr. Hefner, now 89, but still listed as editor in chief, agreed. As part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy will still feature women in provocative poses. But they will no longer be fully nude.

    Its executives admit that*Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered. “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

    For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.

    Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.

    Previous efforts to revamp Playboy, as recently as three years ago, have never quite stuck. And those who have accused it of exploiting women are unlikely to be assuaged by a modest cover-up. But, according to its own research, Playboy’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, along with those of Apple and Nike. This time, as the magazine seeks to compete with younger outlets like Vice, Mr. Flanders said, it sought to answer a key question: “if you take nudity out, what’s left?”

    It is difficult, in a media market that has been so fragmented by the web, to imagine the scope of Playboy’s influence at its peak. A judge once ruled that denying blind people a Braille version of it violated their First Amendment rights. It published stories by Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami among others, and its interviews have included Malcolm X, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter, who admitted that he had lusted in his heart for women other than his wife. Madonna, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell posed for the magazine at the peak of their fame. Its best-selling issue, in November of 1972, sold more than seven million copies.

    Even those who disliked it cared enough to pay attention — Gloria Steinem, the pioneering feminist, went undercover as a waitress, or Playboy Bunny, in one of Mr. Hefner’s spinoff clubs to write an exposé for Show Magazine in 1963.

    When Mr. Hefner created the magazine, which featured Marilyn Monroe on its debut cover in 1953, he did so to please himself. “If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you,” he said in his first editor’s letter. “We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex ...” He did not put a date on the cover of the first issue, in case Playboy did not make it to a second.

    Mr. Hefner “just revolutionized the whole direction of how we live, of our lifestyles and the kind of sex you might have in America,” said Dian Hanson, author of a six-volume history of men’s magazines and an editor for Taschen. “But taking the nudity out of Playboy is going to leave what?”

    The latest redesign, 62 years later, is more pragmatic. The magazine had already made some content safe for work, Mr. Flanders said, in order to be allowed on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, vital sources of web traffic.

    In August of last year, its website dispensed with nudity. As a result, Playboy executives said, the average age of its reader dropped from 47 to just over 30, and its web traffic jumped to about 16 million from about four million unique users per month.

    The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style, said Mr. Jones, who as chief content officer also oversees its website. There will still be a Playmate of the Month, but the pictures will be “PG-13” and less produced — more like the racier sections of Instagram. “A little more accessible, a little more intimate,” he said. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.

    Its sex columnist, Mr. Jones said, will be a “sex-positive female,” writing enthusiastically about sex. And Playboy will continue its tradition of investigative journalism, in-depth interviews and fiction. The target audience, Mr. Flanders said, is young men who live in cities. “The difference between us and Vice,” he said, “is that we’re going after the guy with a job.”

    Some of the moves, like expanded coverage of liquor, are partly commercial, Mr. Flanders admitted; the magazine must please its core advertisers. And all the changes have been tested in focus groups with an eye toward attracting millennials — people between the ages of 18 and 30-something, highly coveted by publishers. The magazine will feature visual artists, with their work dotted through the pages, in part because research revealed that younger people are drawn to art.

    The company now makes most of its money from licensing its ubiquitous brand and logo across the world — 40 percent of that business is in China even though the magazine is not available there — for bath products, fragrances, clothing, liquor and jewelry among other merchandise. Nudity in the magazine risks complaints from shoppers, and diminished distribution.

    Playboy, which had gone public in 1971,was taken private*again in 2011 by Mr. Hefner with Rizvi Traverse Management, an investment firm founded by Suhail Rizvi, a publicity-shy Silicon Valley investor, who has interests in Twitter, Square and Snapchat among others. The firm now owns over 60 percent. Mr. Hefner owns about 30 percent (some shares are held by Playboy management).

    The magazine is profitable if money from licensed editions around the world is taken into account, Mr. Flanders said, but the United States edition loses about $3 million a year. He sees it, he said, as a marketing expense. “It is our Fifth Avenue storefront,” he said.

    He and Mr. Jones feel that the magazine remains relevant, not least because the world has gradually adopted Mr. Hefner’s libertarian views on a variety of social issues. Asked whether Mr. Hefner’s views on women were the exception to that rule, Mr. Flanders responded that Mr. Hefner had “always celebrated the beauty of the female figure.”

    “Don’t get me wrong,” Mr. Jones said of the decision to dispense with nudity, “12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.”
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  2. #2
    Free porn killed them.

  3. #3
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjxZJJtnDpU

    I always thought the content was crappy anyway... I wish I could blame the internet for all of my failures

  4. #4
    Some icons should not be messed with. What next? A Big Mac goes all organic?

  5. #5
    This is a sad day indeed for us pervs that had hidden Playboys to look at in our teens. Really, this was out gateway "drug" to porn....

    But more than that, it's been a part of of popular culture for so many years. I can understand the reason why they're going this route, as it's so easy to get porn off the web for free. But still...what other venue are we going to get celebrities that want to pose for nude pictorials?

    Dunno...maybe Playboy will survive as a non-nude magazine. But with the stigma of being a nudie magazine to begin with, I just don't see it being taken seriously by those that don't normally buy playboy, nor do I see their regular clientele having interest anymore without it being what it once was.

  6. #6
    Their articles better get a hell of a lot more interesting before I pay for a rag like Playboy without nudes. The last time I looked They wanted $8 a mag.

  7. #7
    CaptRenault, I think you are correct about the magazine, as far as significant circulation is concerned. I think it will still exist as a loss leader or break even product for them. I read an article that the shift from complete nudity is to allow themselves to do more licensing overseas, particularly in China. Many lucrative countries, including China, frown on full nudity but are fine with provocative items. Apparently, huge money is at stake if they are accepted as just being provocative in China and they believe the licensing of the bunny ears to clubs in China will be a massive money maker with little or no effort. So they are going mainstream with a liberal bias and hot, but not completely nude, women.

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    Well well, what is the world coming to? Playboy without nudity, i cant phantom this to be a good thing, i read this mag from front to back, enjoy looking for the rabbit on the cover page and also enjoy the beautiful naked ladies, i sometimes compare these pics with ladies i have spent time with and also consider a lot of the Montreal women i have spent time with to be eligible for a center spread, easily.

    But, without nude pics, i hope they are looking at a price drop also, especially if their new target is the younger generation, teens especially, you think they will dish out 8$ for a mag that includes no nudes? As much as i enjoy reading the articles, the cartoons and all the information i get from them, i cant see paying 8$ for a mag for the articles.

    On another note, this change may drive the collectors of old and past editions to a record high, so guys, hold on to your old mags.

    Thor Jr

  9. #9
    The mag goes belly up when the nudes go.

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    Its a shame that playboy and other magazines have gone the commercial route, Maxim also has gone this way, so much advertising and less skin, humor and little tidbits of useful information, all gone cause of advertising. Compare a maxim today to a maxim of last year and you will see a big difference, other mags also are joining in the ads only campaign, its not for me, i love to read, but i don't want to read ads about a suit, shoes and anything else their trying to sell.

    Its a shame also cause where will all the beautiful women that are still out there waiting to be discovered go? I don't want to be exposed to magazines like penthouse or oui or any other mag that goes more the route of nasty, at least Playboy had some taste to their pictorial.

    I will miss Playboy and other mags that have gone the ads route, but it will let me catch up on my book reading, so its a plus in some ways.

    So a big farewell to Playboy, thank you for all the beautiful ladies that you brought us thru the years, from Marilyn Monroe to Pamela Anderson and intriguing, useful information that you have published in the past. Its been a fun and adventurous journey.

    Thor Jr

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    Quote Originally Posted by TD Bank View Post
    The mag goes belly up when the nudes go.
    I agree. There is no substitute for seeing a truly beautiful woman naked. While the Internet is full of free porn, the vast majority of it isn't with drop dead gorgeous women.

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    When is the final 'nudity' issue scheduled to come out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday View Post
    When is the final 'nudity' issue scheduled to come out?
    Hey Doc, last issue with nudity is the January/February issue, its out already out, looking at it now. Pamela Anderson on the cover. March issue will be out in February, we will see what it will give us. I am curious on what will fill the pages.

    Thor Jr

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    I can't figure out why they chose an old former centerfold infected with hep-C for this particular cover, which we've seen nude over and over and over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Holliday View Post
    I can't figure out why they chose an old former centerfold infected with hep-C for this particular cover, which we've seen nude over and over and over.
    I agree, i can think of a thousand or so ladies who would of been a better choice, i was never a fan of Pamela, i watched Baywatch for the likes of Carmen and Nicole. But i think they chose Pamela cause of her history with playboy and also she has more covers then any other lady out there. The only thing that i did like was her name, Pamela is a beautiful.....


    Thor Jr

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