End of an Era: Playboy to Halt Regular Print Editions

The late Hugh Hefner’s men’s magazine will pursue “digitial-first publishing” in 2021

Playboy magazine signed by Donald Trump
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Playboy is halting regular print issues, effective immediately, CEO Ben Kohn announced on Wednesday in a move he said was expedited by the coronavirus pandemic.

This week’s spring issue will be the last for the men’s lifestyle magazine, which has struggled in recent years even before the 2017 death of founder Hugh Hefner as the nude pictorials that used to be its almost-exclusive calling card have become more passé in the internet age.

The publication, which was published monthly as recently as 2017, will embark on a “digital-first publishing schedule for all of our content including the Playboy Interview, 20Q, the Playboy Advisor and of course our Playmate pictorials,” Kohn wrote in a Medium post Wednesday.

The post noted there will be “fresh and innovative printed offerings in a variety of new forms” in 2021 and highlighted Playboy’s strong brand appeal.

Kohn added, “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. 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.”

He also blamed the coronavirus pandemic for speeding up the company’s decision. “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,” he wrote.

Playboy has undergone a lot of rebranding and overhauls in recent years. It announced in 2017 it would bring back nude models and launch a “Naked is Normal” campaign in an upcoming issue after a year of covering up centerfolds in a failed effort to help the magazine attract mainstream advertisers.