Playboy Enterprises did not rule out the possibility of the magazine returning in the future

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 19, 2020 04:33 PM
Charley Gallay/Getty

Playboy announced that it will stop publication of its iconic magazine for the rest of 2020 and focus on its digital growth — plans the company said they were considering but decided to accelerate due to coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Playboy Enterprises CEO Ben Kohn detailed the plans in a post to Medium, explaining that the magazine’s Spring 2020 issue — out this week — will be the last for its foreseeable future.

“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,” Kohn wrote in the blog post, adding that the company was becoming focused on its daily content rather than the three-month publication schedule of its issues.

“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.,” he continued. “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.”

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The company did not rule out an eventual return of the magazine in 2021 or later.

“Over the past 66 years, we’ve become far more than a magazine,” Kohn wrote in his post. “And sometimes you have to let go of the past to make room for the future. So we’re turning our attention to achieving our mission in the most effective and impactful way we can: to help create a culture where all people can pursue pleasure.”

Playboy was founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner, who also launched the media and lifestyle company, Playboy Enterprises, that same year. He served as a board member until the time of his death in 2017.

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The magazine became world-famous for the women featured in its pages. But Playboy was also known for its literary contributions, with notable figures such as Hunter S. Thompson, John Updike, Ian Fleming, Joseph Heller, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Margaret Atwood, Jack Kerouac and Kurt Vonnegut all contributing articles.

In its early days, Playboy was selling 5 million copies a month, according to the New York Post. In 2019, the magazine switched from producing six issues a year to four.

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