Published 1:15 AM EDT Mar 21, 2020
Playboy magazine is the latest victim of the coronavirus.
The iconic magazine founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953 is suspending production of its print edition amid the global pandemic, CEO Ben Kohn said in an open letter posted on Medium Wednesday.
“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,” Kohn said.
Playboy had considered discontinuing its magazine long before the coronavirus outbreak because of the wide accessibility of free pornography on the internet and the decline of print in the digital age. As a result, the company scaled back the once monthly publication to bi-monthly in 2017 and quarterly in 2019.
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“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.,” Kohn added.
The company plans to move forward with content on a “digital-first publishing schedule” with hopes of producing “special edition” print publications in 2021.
“Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are,” Kohn said. “Over the past 66 years, we’ve become far more than a magazine. And sometimes you have to let go of the past to make room for the future.”
Despite shuttering the print edition, Kohn assured fans that “the Playboy brand is more successful than ever before” and driving “over $3 billion in annual consumer spend worldwide.”
At its height in the 1970s, Playboy magazine had a circulation of more than 7 million. Marilyn Monroe covered the first-ever issue in 1953. The likes of Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian and Carmen Electra have gone on to be Playboy cover models.
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