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Playboy abandons nudity, blames the internet

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In a move that’s a bit like McDonald’s suddenly announcing it’s turning into a vegan food chain, Playboy has pledged to stop publishing fully nude women.

What’s particularly interesting is the reasoning behind the decision; Playboy is blaming the internet for its bold move away from nudity.

“That battle has been fought and won,” says Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive, speaking to the New York Times.

Flanders continues: “You’re now one click away from every sex imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

He adds: “Don’t get me wrong, 12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it’s the right thing to do.”

When Playboy first launched back in 1953, it was one of the few easy ways someone could get their hands on images of scantily clad women.

Fast forward to 2015 and it’s estimated that nearly 5% – that’s one in 20 – of all desktop visits on the internet are to adult websites.

A separate report reveals that the most popular adult website handles 4.4 billion page views per month.

Playboy is wise not to compete on that hard-fought front, and has already seen success in that regard on its own website, which has been nudity-free since last August.

As a result of the move, the average age of the reader dropped from 47 to just over 30, while web traffic rose from four million unique users per month to around 16 million.

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Playboy Magazine will now be “PG-13” and look “more like the racier sections of Instagram”.

According to Flanders, the target market is now young men who live in cities; but Playboy wants to differentiate itself from rival youth-focused publication Vice.

“The difference between us and Vice is that we’re going after the guy with a job,” says Flanders.

Do you think Playboy is right to avoid competing with the internet’s rampant pornography industry? Let us know in the comments.

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