Playboy May Kill Their Iconic Print Magazine
Only months after the death of Hugh Hefner, Playboy Enterprises Inc. is considering killing the publication of the print magazine. In a new Wall Street Journal report, Playboy is allegedly considering axing its iconic print magazine to focus on brand partnerships and licensing deals.
“We want to focus on what we call the ‘World of Playboy’ which is so much larger than a small, legacy print publication,” said Ben Koh, managing partner of private equity firm Rizvi Traverse and Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive. “We plan to spend 2018 transitioning it from a media business to a brand-management company.” After Hefner died in September, there has been a shift in the company’s ownership from his family to the largest shareholder, private equity firm Rizvi Traverse. Koh told the WSJ that the print magazine is a financial albatross. “Historically, we could justify the [magazine’s] losses because of the marketing value, but you also have to be forward thinking. I’m not sure that print is necessarily the best way to communicate to our consumer going forward.”
Playboy magazine has reportedly lost up to $7 million annually in recent years. U.S. circulation of Playboy has dropped to less than 500,000 an issue from a peak of 5.6 million in 1975 and the iconic magazine now only publishes six issues a year. That’s because you can see anything and everything on the internet without the shame or guilt of having someone find nudie mags under your bed. In 2011, Rizvi Traverse helped take Playboy private and in return received control of nearly two-thirds of the company. As part of the deal, Rizvi Traverse agreed to keep publishing the magazine for as long as Hefner lived. Hefner died on September 27, 2017, at the age of 91.