According to New York Times, last month, Cory Jones, a top editor at Playboy, went to see its founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion and suggested that they 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.
Due to internet porn, 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.
'You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture,' Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders told the Times.
Playboy's website got rid of nudity last August, and the company says that traffic quadrupled to 16million as a result.
Future versions of Playboy will still feature pictures of women in 'provocative poses', but not full nudity and it is not yet known whether it will keep publishing a centerfold.
Hefner, who still personally selects all the nude spreads for the magazine, was not quoted in the Times piece and has not commented publicly on his Twitter account.
The company insists that its strategy is best for business.
'Don't get me wrong,' editor Cory 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