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The Internet The Media

Playboy Drops Nudity As Internet Fills Demand 200

HughPickens.com writes: Ravi Somaiya reports in the NY Times that as part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy Magazine will still feature women in provocative poses but they will no longer be fully nude. "That battle has been fought and won," says CEO Scott Flanders. "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture." According to Somaiya, 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. The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style. 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," says Flancers. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.
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Playboy Drops Nudity As Internet Fills Demand

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  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @12:46PM (#50718559) Homepage

    So after 60+ years Playboy is going to make themselves completely irrelevant? I mean, who is actually going to buy it now?

    Sure, the internet is full of smut, but Playboy was always a little classier.

    Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

    • What's really weird is that just over 20 years ago I can remember them being regarded as the #1 Internet porn site, if not one of the most visited sites overall.

      • People who use porn can get it for free anywhere. They need to reinvent themselves or go out of business.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          People who use porn can get it for free anywhere. They need to reinvent themselves or go out of business.

          Yes, but what Playboy offered was Quality nudity. The models were good looking and clean, and the photography was well done. Sure, you can get all kinds of porn online but frankly speaking there's a large portion of the Naked Population who I, and many others, really do not care to see in the nude. Or even partially nude.

          And as digital cameras become so pervasive, so does the amount of porn. But the quality just keeps dropping overall.
          I think the bigger problem Playboy had was an over obsession with one par

          • by ChrisMaple ( 607946 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @09:01PM (#50722685)
            It's been 10 years since I looked, but by then they had already shifted from enthusiastic, friendly looking, curvy girls to stiff looking skinny ice queens exposing their crotch. A too-avid pursuit of "high quality" models results in mannequins.
          • I would consider playboy a relatively safe venue for starlets to release professional nude photos.

            We all remember the recent leak: hundreds (thousands?) of terrible quality nude selfies flooded the internet. And people went nuts for it.

            There's a big market for famous people's private parts. Play boy is probably the only group with the right mix of clout and crass to make it happen

        • People looking for sexy women in bikinis can get that anywhere, too.

          They've "reinvented" themselves out of one over-saturated market and right into another.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      It's worse. The catalog at least had attractive women on every page.

      Playboy will now be just like every other men's magazine like GQ, Maxim, et al - maybe an article or two worth reading, many pages of paid product placements in articles, and a bunch of clothing no sane reasonable person would ever wear or buy.

      • by Panoptes ( 1041206 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:09PM (#50718761)

        "a bunch of clothing no sane reasonable person would ever wear or buy."

        You might say they're exchanging tit for tat.

      • Yeah, I'm thinking at this point..."What's the Point?"

        Sure, nowadays, you don't buy PB for the 'thrill' of seeing a nekkid women so much...but while you do thumb through it, it *is* nice to see nude , really good looking classy ladies...which you don't generally see on the internet sex sites.

        They aren't all tattooed up, etc....pleasant to look at while reading through the magazine. Classy....

        But if not with that, well, not sure if the rest of the content is enough to warrant interest really...to me it wa

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          So it all has become rather pointless and should likely really just end, if for no other reason than the very politically incorrect title playboy, 'play' in this case relating to non reproductive sexual proclivity and 'boy' being an prepubescent male. Nothing lasts forever and pretty much playboy or more politically correct meaningfullrelationshipman, sort of has no market any more.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        They jumped the shark years ago. Marge Simpson, really?

    • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @12:53PM (#50718621)

      It's not really about the magazine anymore, nowadays they're trying to manage it as a lifestyle/luxury brand. They have branded merchandise that's highly profitable and expanding in China [cnn.com], for example. They're also trying to get bigger into the "online content" thing, which was being harmed by the nudity... not having nudity makes it easier for people to share stuff on Facebook or email articles to people and whatever.

      • They may believe by eliminating nudity that more advertisers will be willing to buy ads. More and more companies are reluctant to do anything that might get them on the non-PC list, including where they advertise.
    • by garcia ( 6573 )

      I envision this as a response to Maxim or FHM. People still buy those, even though there's no nudity. Playboy was always able to find some level of legitimacy through their articles and I assume they will still attempt the same level of content even by removing the nudity.

      Honestly, I don't see the point in this and they should just retire the magazine and create a new one w/o nudity to compete with the others in that genre; however, they clearly feel they will be able to capitalize successfully on their est

      • Honestly, I don't see the point in this and they should just retire the magazine and create a new one w/o nudity to compete with the others in that genre;

        And give up 60+ years of brand recognition?? They're not nuts. Way easier to use a recognized brand name for eomething completly unrelated

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        Honestly, I don't see the point in this and they should just retire the magazine and create a new one w/o nudity to compete with the others in that genre;

        You know nothing about brand valuation. The brand is really the only valuable thing here. The crossroads is China - China wasn't about to put up with porn, and Playboy decided to cover up so they could leverage their brand across the lucrative Chinese market.

        And just to be clear, Playboy's brand = sexy not necessarily nude. It's been light fare ever since Larry Flint and Hustler. You could say they're doubling down on their brand.

        • It's been light fare ever since Larry Flint and Hustler.

          Playboy and Hustler were never competitors. Hustler was always deliberately lowbrow (it started off as advertising for strip clubs), but the point of Playboy was always the fantasy lifestyle.

          A playboy is affluent, worldly, just intellectual enough (without which the "I read it for the articles" joke wouldn't make sense), and likes looking at glamorous women. Even the nudity made the pretence of having artistic merit by the standards of the day.

    • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:05PM (#50718719) Homepage

      The I read it for the articles joke was actually not so much of a joke for many. Tities notwithstanding, there were some good material in that magazine, including famous writers participations. Asimov being one of the many.

      But without the pink, there will be little left in there that can't be gotten online anyhow.

    • Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog

      Exactly, precisely this, plus: While it's completely true that you can find 'every imaginable sex act for free' on the Internet, the quality of the women in online porn videos is rarely, if ever, up to the standards that Playboy has traditionally upheld. Playboy was always the gold standard in that regard; women featured in the magazine didn't need to be masturbating (with or without toys), or engaging in intercourse, in order to be incredibly arousing. Second-tier was always Penthouse, featuring almost Pla

      • by jason.sweet ( 1272826 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:30PM (#50718957)

        the standards that Playboy has traditionally airbrushed in

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:40PM (#50719047) Homepage

        the quality of the women in online porn videos is rarely, if ever, up to the standards that Playboy has traditionally upheld.

        Standards? Maybe that was true a decade or two or more ago. Any more pictures are so heavily airbrushed/photoshopped/whatever that the picture is just an digital artist's representation of the actual person. The only standard that is there is not real.

        Spend some time in a gonewild subreddit or an amateur photographer's portfolio that includes nudes and you'll see far more beautiful women of all different shapes and sizes then what's ever appeared in Playboy, often with little or no retouching.

      • It's been a good run, Playboy, but I guess you're more likely to go the way of the dinosaur, if you stick to this plan of action.

        It's possible that's what they're actually going for [slashdot.org].

    • Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      Right, what's the point? If you don't want to do what you do anymore, just cash out. Don't waste all your assets trying to transform yourself into "The New Playboy", or whatever.

      "The internet ate our lunch, so we decided to eat dirt instead."

    • Who's gonna buy them? Dads that want to troll their kids. Honestly, it's a long game troll, but it'll be a good one. Subscribe, make sure you get and keep (organized, even) every non-nude issue, in a place that looks like you were trying to hide them, but where your son will be sure to discover them in his early teen years. Then, make sure he sees every single movie and TV reference to stealing dad's Playboys to see boobs.
    • Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      Sounds like they want to be more like Maxim. It's an old joke, but Playboy has always had solid journalism and editorial content.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I actually read Playboy for the articles. No....really.

    • by sudon't ( 580652 )

      I mean, who is actually going to buy it now?

      All those guys who "just read it for the articles".

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:55PM (#50719175)

      So after 60+ years Playboy is going to make themselves completely irrelevant?

      As per the article, the Playboy website ditched nudity a while ago. The traffic to the site increased fourfold...

      The key to understanding what they are doing is that they were always a lifestyle brand, nudity not even being the primary reason why people paid attention to them. That was just one aspect of forward thinking based around personal freedom they embraced.

      Playboy is shedding nudity to reach a broader audience and it's plainly working. Too many these days want to shun expression of sexuality altogether, and Playboy is perfectly positioned to rebel against this prudish movement (currently led by feminists).

    • Exactly, it's just that now they have to compete with Victoria's secret, Maxim and so on. We flooded the nudity market with boobs, so their value went down. Playboy had a meeting and asked a very vital question, "Whatever happened to that Princess Leia outfit?"
    • Hugh Hefner handed top control spot of the company to his daughter Christie in 1988. She resigned on the 2008/2009 new year boundary.

      The magazine's market performance has apparently been gradually declining since then, starting by dropping back to 11 issues per year in 2009. (What mix, if any, of Chistie leaving because the writing was already on the wall, the third generation's changes resulting in a slide, and/or other factors may be a good subject for a post-mortem analysis and publication, some time i

    • So after 60+ years Playboy is going to make themselves completely irrelevant? I mean, who is actually going to buy it now?

      Sure, the internet is full of smut, but Playboy was always a little classier.

      Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      Well its PG-13 so presumably highschool kids...

    • It's just going to become another Maxim. I'm okay with it - Playboy actually has some decent articles.
    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Well, at least I will be able to put them on the magazine rack in my church now. But it's really going to lose its allure with 12-year-olds going through their dad's closet.

    • At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      I dunno -- I was never much of a fan of their articles.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Wasn't Playboy always kind of going out of business once Penthouse and Hustler came around and starting showing women with their legs spread? After that Playboy became kind of irrelevant as pornography.

    • Now they're, what exactly? I just don't see people wanting to buy Playboy with no nudity. At that point, get a Victoria's Secret catalog.

      What are you talking about? Everyone buys it for the articles.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      According to another site, Playboy's website had 4mil visitors per month, but after they switched to no longer have nudes on their website, their visitors went up to 16m per month.
    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      they've always had a strong journalistic bent.
      not a large one, but still strong and well respected.

      personally, i see what they're saying and why they're doing it.
      but i am still gonna miss it.

  • by spads ( 1095039 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @12:49PM (#50718579)
    ;P~
  • Articles (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Now you really will be reading it for the articles!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They always stated that it was about the women, but really it was the fantasies they sold it. The one thing they have missed out on for years is the lingerie.

    This is an opportunity for them to work with lingerie companies. At least this way "reader" will know what each model/actress is wearing and by that for their partners.

  • by khelms ( 772692 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:13PM (#50718807)
    stock prices for implant manufacturers dropped 50% today.
  • They are down from 4.5 million subscribers to 800,000.

    Is it even note-worthy that they finally admit defeat?

  • We dont read as much about his romances anymore. There was an interesting documentary a few years ago about how he regained control of the magazine after letting other people manage it for while and goign off directions he didnt like.
  • Worldwide? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dafradu ( 868234 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @01:27PM (#50718925)
    Playboy in Brazil is mostly models, sub-celebrities and even tv stars to its pages, so at least it has that incentive to keep selling magazines. Sure there is tons of porn and nudes on the internet, but not from these women we fantasize.
    • No, not worldwide. At least the Dutch Playboy has already said they won't be dropping nudity any time soon. Lucky me :-)
  • Playboy has been putting out monthly glossy "books" and other products (e.g. videos, etc.) of classy nudes for decades now, in addition to their flagship magazine. I suspect that it is just that magazine that is going PG, and that their other revenue streams from nudes will be preserved.

  • $15 mo for 1 channel that does not have porn anymore?

    HBO / MAX still has some and they have good TV shows and movies. With like 8+ channels.

  • I don't think anyone has bought Playboy for the nudes in a long time. For over a decade, anyone literate bought Playboy for the articles. In the '70s, it was nice to check out Miss November, but by the time I was in college, and I found the stories by Nabokov, Marquez, DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, and articles by the top essayists, journalists and fiction-writers in the world (and coincidentally found out about web porn), the nudes in Playboy had ceased to be much of a draw.

  • Don't need any nudie pics.

    I only read it for the articles, you know.

  • Obligatory: WoW "The Internet is for Porn"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    Then again, the only thing more pathetic than buying Playboy for their tepid, over-airbrushed nudes would be Playboy with "clothed women in provocative poses"

    Seriously, isn't that Maxim? Who the hell buys their circulation of 2.5 million?

  • Sports Illustrated (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @02:31PM (#50719481) Homepage

    The SI swimsuit edition is always a blockbuster [businessinsider.com], even though there's no actual nudity (though lately it's become pretty darn close.)

    So there's still a huge market of guys [I assume it's 99.99% guys] who pathetically pay to ogle sexy women in magazines, even if the women are partly clad.

    • It's about the quality of the models. SI swimsuit models are stunningly beautiful. Playboy used to have that niche too... there were playboy bunnies, and then there were the rest of the porno mag girls. At some point, though, and I'm not sure when, they seem to have lost that edge.
  • by LibertarianLawyer ( 1881666 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @02:48PM (#50719637)
    Esquire was more racey pre Playboy. In response to Playboy, Esquire tuned down it prurient appeal and survived. Nothing new here just the usual course of the revolutionary becoming established and being displaced by the new revolution. Playboy may or may not survive but it is wise to try to adapt.
  • The girl next door. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @02:49PM (#50719647)

    Hugh Hefner based Playboy on the idea of revealing the sexy side of "the girl next door." It was an innocent notion, part fantasy, part reality, presented with taste and class over several interesting decades of changing social values.

    Well done, Hef. The internet has made you obsolete, but will never replace you.

    • by RandCraw ( 1047302 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @05:07PM (#50720857)

      Agreed. Playboy also brought glamor photograpy to a fine art form. Pompeo Posar, Richard Fegley, Suze Randall, Kem Marcus and others rewrote the book on representing the ideal female figure. Their artistry refined our awareness of fashion's evolution through the years (and their readers' journey to adulthood). In their case, they captured not merely styles of attire but the female form itself, in presentation, fitness, demeanor, and more.

      Yes, much of the magazine's appeal was superficial, but for perhaps 40 years its writing ably reflected and refocused the deep changes that befell America's postwar mores and priorities, especially among adult males, and it seldom failed to entertain and illuminate in doing so. No magazine since has earned a comparable iconic status for either gender of reader. Credit Mr Hefner for that. No small feat.

      The fact that Playboy's heyday also accompanied the women's revolution of the 1970s made its role as social observer all the more central to the discussion. Fortunately the magazine also attracted many of the best writers of the day, making its contribution to the discourse more than merely a feast for men's eyes.

      Farewell dear female fantasy. Your simpler times may be lost but they're not forgotten.

  • For decades we've sworn we buy it just for the articles. Sales may actually improve with the last wives objection gone.

  • Yeah, I'm going to come right out and say it: Playboy has been on a fairly steady decline ever since Hef let his daughter start running the joint. They not only failed to gain a significant place in the online world, they also failed to deal with the wave of competition they had from the likes of Perfect 10 back in the 1980s.

    If you look at any of their videos from the last 15 years or so, you'll want to slap their directors and cameramen and tell them to quit it with the artsy shit and actually hold a sho

  • It will open up a lot of new distribution channels for them. You'll see them up front in airports and reputable gas stations and the like. The brand is the main thing that will separate it from GQ type magazines, but you won't be a pervert for picking one up for the plane ride.
  • "We're Playboy, and we're embracing our own irrelevance!"

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @05:44PM (#50721231) Homepage

    Playboy without nudes would be like Sports Illustrated without swimsuits. Wait, maybe I need to rephrase that.

  • As a former investor in Playboy Enterprises, I got to see first-hand that the basic problem with the company is Hef. No matter what is on the masthead of the magazine, NO decision of any import happens without Hef signing off on it.

    As the creator of the brand, certainly he is due some consideration.

    But I have to be extremely blunt and say that Hef is simply out of touch with what readers wanted, and it's been this way for years. Hef has yes or no approval on every centerfold, so if it seems like a lot of

  • As Playboy removes nudity from its magazines, subscriptions to National Geographic suddenly skyrockets! Or for those who can't afford National Geographic, there's always the Sears catalogue. :P Recall Moe on the Simpsons? [youtu.be]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 13, 2015 @09:55PM (#50722903)

    As a former Playboy photographer, I can attest to the change in Playboy in the past 20 years. It went from being a magazine that provided some of the most stunning figure photography of the most stunning females to average photography of mostly average females. I was once told by a snot nosed twenty-something photo editor that the image editing department could make a Polaroid photo look like it was shot by Pompeo Posar. So much for the hours spent getting perfect lighting, flawless makeup, and just the right poses. A bevy of Mac computers and Photoshop were the end of it. I can remember one centerfold that mysteriously lacked a navel, and another that had five fingers and a thumb, thanks to the Photoshop geniuses.

    I can honestly say that I have never looked at an issue since quitting Playboy more than twenty years ago.

  • If you want nudity, at least there's still Playgirl.
  • ...the articles are crap.

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