Speed Reads

changes

Because they're 'passé,' Playboy will stop publishing nude photos

People who read Playboy for the naked pictures will soon have to look elsewhere for their titillation: Starting with the March 2016 issue, the magazine will do away with full nudity.

The decision was made by top editors and founder Hugh Hefner, who agreed that Playboy and its nude women don't pack the same punch they did when the magazine launched 62 years ago. As CEO Scott Flanders so delicately told The New York Times: "You're now just one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture." The revamped magazine will keep its investigative pieces and interviews, and introduce a "sex-positive" female columnist and "PG-13" version of the Playmate of the Month.

The U.S. edition loses $3 million a year, but it's used as a marketing tool for the licensing business and international titles that do make money ("It's our Fifth Avenue storefront," Flanders said of U.S. Playboy). The print circulation is now at about 800,000, the Alliance for Audited Media says, but web traffic is up: In August 2014, Playboy removed nudity from its website to make it safe for work, and traffic soared from four million unique visitors per month to 16 million, The Times reports. The average reader went from 47 to just a bit older than 30, which is in line with the magazine's new target demographic: Young men living in cities. Even though it made business sense to shift Playboy's focus, it was still rough for the editors. "Don't get me wrong," says Playboy editor Cory Jones. "12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it's the right thing to do."