It was a joke for decades when someone said they “only read Playboy for the articles.” Nobody believed it, even though the articles were often amazing: in-depth, relevant stories from top journalists and authors. But face it, Playboy was built on nude pictures of women. From Hugh Hefner’s first issue in 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe, the magazine set the standard for sexy entertainment and often served as sex education for adolescent boys. Things are different now. If Hef wasn’t still kicking around at age 89, he’d be spinning in his grave. As it is, Hefner himself saw the writing on the wall, and Playboy will stop publishing pictures of nude women. The stated reason is because pornography is readily available for free on the web. That’s true, but are there any positive reasons for Playboy to change so radically?
The magazine had already made some content safe for work, Mr. Flanders said, in order to be allowed on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, vital sources of web traffic.
In August of last year, its website dispensed with nudity. As a result, Playboy executives said, the average age of its reader dropped from 47 to just over 30, and its web traffic jumped to about 16 million from about four million unique users per month.
The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style, said Mr. Jones, who as chief content officer also oversees its website. 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,” he said. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.
That’s it. Safer web browsing leads to more views. Changing the magazine to something that would be okay to leave out in a dentist’s office might lead to more magazine sales. Read more about Playboy’s big change at the New York Times. -via Digg
Related: The funniest twitter reactions to the news.