Playboy nudes are old news

By: Aldo Nicolai, Gerardo Moreno, Kenia Carreón, Witold Wroblewski.

Why we wrote this?

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how even a company as consolidated in the past as Playboy, nowadays has been forced to change to survive in the industry, a change that even though affected their founding ideals, but a change that represented their last opportunity to change or die. This article describes the main reasons why adult magazines, in specific Playboy, are deciding to stop publishing nudes by not following the trend of the adult market anymore. In this article we will explain how Playboy will try to pull itself out from the sexualized focus of nudity which they have been working on for many years ago, and how they will try to conquer  a broader new audience, on social media but also the shelves of the general public.

Video from Youtube Euronews. “No more nudes in Playboy”.

Playboy history

Monthly since 1953, Hugh Hefner was responsible for reaching the hands and eyes of men around the world through its magazines with adult content. Playboy was a pioneer in United States because they started posting pictures of completely naked women in a men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine, showing how liberal this country was many years ago, and how liberal was the content they were promoting. But this situation changed last September of 2015 when Cory Jones, top editor at Playboy, with the approval of the founder of Playboy company, Hugh Hefner, took a radical decision about the future of the magazine, they will stop publishing images of naked woman since October of 2015, renouncing to the standards and the funding ideals they followed since their birth. This decision represented the last chance of Playboy to evolve or die, nowadays people can see this kind of content by free in any web page, so naked women in magazines are not a business anymore. This situation explains the decision of the company of not following the trend of the adult market anymore, and the decision of evolve with new content.    

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A lot of men used to say before “I buy Playboy because of the articles” as a running joke, but now it’s a reality.

In distant years, Playboy’s circulation has dropped from about 6 million printed copies in 1975 to about 800,000 printed copies in 2014, according to data of the Alliance for Audited Media. Something that made this magazine so great in the past was that men enjoyed reading these articles with the plus that they also had pictures of naked women in it. Playboy will try to go for a more erotic and sensual style, now instead of showing naked women and heavily retouched (very pornographic), women will appear with more clothes. Fortunately for Playboy, the magazine was never solely about photos of naked women, they have articles, reviews, and opinions, directed to the mid-class professionists men that live in cities and have a job, but that is interested in products and in having a high lifestyle. A lot of men used to say before “I buy Playboy because of the articles” as a running joke, but now it’s a reality.

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January 2016. Model: Pamela Anderson. Last nude number in Playboy’s history.

The new Playboy

For their first non nude cover in their history, Playboy decided to publish the 20-year-old american model Sarah McDaniel, a very popular star in social media like Instagram and Snapchat. This girl is famous because of her beauty but also because she has a rare condition called Heterochromia, which make her having two different eye colors, green and blue. For the cover the model appears with a white transparent shirt in a very provocative position with a descriptive message that a message that greets and invites the readers, similar to the messages on Snapchat. Playboy will now use the formula of publishing popular social media girls, with more clothes but posing as their were sending provocative messages to their boyfriends.

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March 2015 cover. Model: Sarah McDaniel

Playboy will now use the formula of publishing popular social media girls, with more clothes but posing as their were sending provocative messages to their boyfriends.

As Kristina Cisnero mentions in her text “10 Benefits of Social Media for Business Every Skeptic Should Know” it shows that Playboy is going in the right way with the transformations of the company as the several points explain ahead. With social media the company can take advantage of an easy way to learn about their audience; Heffner and his company are now working to implement a system in which they will be more involved with their audience but also will know what they want, through the the tool of social medias. Social media can also help the company on finding new customers and expanding their audience in their website traffic and searching traffic, what can represent a larger diffusion in terms of advertisement and incomes for the magazine. Finally, with social media the company will be able of sharing contents in an easier and faster way through different social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and other tools  where full nudity is not allowed.

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Playboy’s social profile on Instagram.

Regarding the results, it has been prolific and Playboy is quite happy with the changement. According to data, new publications of Playboy, have opened the market because Playboys audience has increased by the fact of not having explicit content. This is one of the main reasons why they decided to take this decision, so the magazine can have a larger audience with the new contents. In the online publication, subscribers grew by 60% since they stop publishing completely naked women because their market to a larger audience that has an age range that goes from 13 to 80, according to Heffner. Another strategic point is that by not showing explicit images, publications may also be available in social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, situation that can help them promote the magazine and reach a larger audience. According to data from Playboy, traffic on their platforms on social media has quadrupled in the last five months, and they hope it will continue growing.   
On the website Playboy.com, the audience has raised by 400% and the age of the visitors has considerably diminished. Even more, it is their relation with one of its main stakeholders – the advertisers – that has improved since the change. They now are less reluctant to see their name appearing on the magazine and it has been profitable for Playboy as it is one of its main source of revenue. Scott Flanders declared that the revenue from advertisements raised by 75% in comparison with  the first quarter of 2015. “We are exceptionally proud of the end result and are confident that everyone will enjoy reading it as much as we did creating it”, he said.

Youtube. “Miss April 2016 Camille Rowe Looks Right at Home in Her Bunny Suit”.

What’s next for this magazine? 

Playboy is on the middle of the road of the most significant change in their whole history since they started publishing magazines with adult content in 1953, but they are not the only magazine that had decided this in the past months, another magazine called Penthouse took the same decision and they are a lot of other companies that are taking or will take the same path all around the world.  This decision represented the last chance of Playboy to evolve or die in the industry, the main reason is that nowadays people can see this kind of content by free in any web page, so naked women in magazines are not a business anymore. Playboy magazine will try to focus on a more erotic and sensual style, now instead of showing naked high retouched women, models will appear with more clothes. Playboy will now use the formula of publishing popular social media girls, with more clothes but posing as their were sending provocative messages to their boyfriends.   

Fortunately for Playboy, the magazine was never solely about photos of naked women, they have articles, reviews, and opinions, directed to the mid-class professionists men that is interested in products and in having a high lifestyle. The keypoint of this decision is that now Playboy can take advantage of social media and this whole new opportunity that opens for them, with social media the magazine will be able of sharing contents in an easier and faster way through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and other tools  where full nudity is not allowed. But also with social media the company may expand their audience and the website and searching traffic, situation that can represent a larger diffusion in terms of advertisement and incomes for the magazine. At the moment the consequences of the change have been positive according to data of the company, their website audience has raised by 400% and the age of the visitors has considerably change to 13 to 80 years, in the online publication subscribers grew by 60%, traffic on their platforms on social media has quadrupled in the last five months, and the revenue from advertisements raised by 75% in comparison with  the first quarter of 2015. It seems that Playboy took the right decision about the change of their business, but there is still a long way to go to determine if this change was a success or an error.  

References
Cisneros, K. (2014). 10 Benefits of Social Media for Business Every Skeptic Should Know. 13 Feb 2016, de Sitio: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-for-business/
Falzone, D (2013). Celebrity sex tapes bankrolling porn industry. 14 Febrero 2016, de Fox News Sitio web: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/09/23/source-celeb-sex-tapes-are-saving-porn-industry/
Greenberg, Julia (2015). Playboy’s “no nudes” is what happens when platforms rule. 14 de Febrero de 2016, de Wired Sitio web: http://www.wired.com/2015/10/playboys-no-nudes-is-what-happens-when-platforms-rule/  
Mccrum, Kristiee. (2015). Beautiful ‘imperfect’ young model drives internet crazy with her different coloured eyes. 15 Febrero 2016, de Mirror Sitio web: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/beautiful-imperfect-young-model-drives-66
Miller-Young, Mireille. (2015). Playboy quiere ser reconocida por sus artículos. 15 de Febrero 2016, de El Economista Sitio web: http://eleconomista.com.mx/entretenimiento/2015/10/24/playboy-quiere-ser-reconocida-sus-articulos
Robbins, Mel. (2015). Why is Playboy giving up to nudity?. 13 de Febrero 2016, de CNN News Sitio web: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/13/opinions/robbins-playboy-no-more-nudity/
S/A. (2013). Building the Bunny: Hugh Hefner’s life. 13 de Febrero 2016 de Playboy Sitio web: http://www.playboy.com/articles/hugh-hefner-playboy-timeline
S/A. (2016). Pamela Anderson poses for Playboy magazine’s January/February 2016 double issue. 15 de Febrero 2016, de Playboy Sitio web: http://www.playboyenterprises.com/news/pamela-anderson-poses-for-playboy-magazines-januaryfebruary-2016-double-issue/
S/A. (2016). Playboy. 13 de Febrero 2016, de Wikipedia Sitio web: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy
S/A. (2016). Playboy unveils a new magazine for a new generation of readers. 15 de Febrero 2016, de Playboy Sitio web: http://www.playboyenterprises.com/news/playboy-unveils-a-new-magazine-for-a-new-generation-of-readers/
Somaiya, Rami. (2015). Nudes Are Old News at Playboy. 15 de Febrero 2016, de The New York Times Sitio web: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/business/media/nudes-are-old-news-at-playboy.html?_r=0
Vincent, James. (2015), Yesterday’s nudes: Playboy will stop publishing images of fully naked women, October 13, 2015. http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/13/9517993/playboy-stops-nudity

 

 

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