Playboy goes digital-only due to coronavirus (and because print is dead)

playboy, coronavirus, print

The pesky coronavirus has taken yet another victim: Playboy magazine. Well, sort of.

The iconic brand announced its upcoming Spring issue will be its last printed publication for the year in the US.

“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 US print product to better suit what consumers want today,” CEO Ben Kohn wrote. “We will move to a digital-first publishing schedule for all of our content.”

[Read: Pornhub is handing out free premium subscriptions to help Italy fight coronavirus]

Of course, the virus is hardly the only reason for this change. Kohn adds Playboy has gradually been transitioning to a digital-first strategy over the past few years, boosting its social media presence with original content specifically tailored the internet.

It’s not clear whether Playboy will cede its print efforts outside of the US, but we’ve reached out for comment and will update this piece accordingly if we hear back.

Despite a bumpy shift to the digital age, Playboy hasn’t shied away from experimenting with its content.

Back in 2015, company revealed it’ll be covering up its models to seduce millennial audiences. In fact, its very first non-nudity issue had a distinctive Snapchat aesthetic to it. That didn’t last for long, though.

In 2017, Playboy chief creative officer and son of Hugh Hefner, Cooper Hefner, announced the brand is bringing back nudity.

“Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are,” he said at the time. “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated. Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem.”

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