Playboy Magazine to Halt Publication Indefinitely

After 66 years, the print mag has finally given up the fight

Marilyn Monroe graced the first cover of the iconic mag back in 1953.
Photo 12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Like many things these days, Playboy magazine is shutting down, perhaps forever.

The brand’s CEO, Ben Kohn, announced the print magazine would be halting its 66-year run in an open letter published Wednesday.

Citing changing “media consumption habits” that have long threatened print media as well as new and mounting threats to all manner of supply and production posed by the growing coronavirus fallout, Kohn announced Playboy made the decision to end publication for the year with the Spring 2020 issue. And while Kohn only specified that the issue would be the last of 2020, the state of both print media and our bleak economy renders any future resuscitation of the traditional print product rather unlikely.

The long-predicted end of Playboy magazine comes after decades of decline punctuated by various comeback attempts, some more successful than others. In its most recent era, the magazine was transformed into a quarterly publication featuring photography of a more artistic nature than that which captured Playmates of yore as part of a “newer, woker” rebrand.

However, while the most recent rebranding couldn’t save the print mag, digital business for the brand is booming, and Kohn reassured Playboy fans and detractors alike that the iconic brand will live on despite laying its print product to rest. “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,” the letter read, adding that readers mourning the loss of the print product would have “fresh and innovative printed offerings in a variety of new forms” to look forward to in 2021, including “special editions, partnerships with the most provocative creators, timely collections and much more.”

“Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are,” wrote Kohn. However, he 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. ”

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