The Internet has just claimed another casualty, and some may consider it a surprising one. After five decades, Penthouse Magazine is shuttering its print edition, because why buy in print when you can read (and of course also look) online? It’s yet another blow to the adult magazine world, which has doubtless been feeling the pinch of web-based content’s ubiquity. But don’t fret — Penthouse isn’t gone for good. It’s just going full digital.
“This will be a new way for its readers to experience the world’s best adult magazine,” publisher FriendFinder Network said in a statement. “Re-imagined for the preferred consumption of content today by consumers, the digital version of Penthouse Magazine will combine and convert everything readers know and love about the print magazine experience to the power of a digital experience.”
It’s not of course that pornography has gone out of style — it’s just that its medium for consumption has shifted dramatically since the mid-20th century that marked the heyday of publications like Penthouse, Playboy, and others. But now, consumers have traded glossy pages for websites, and may be in the process of shifting again to virtual reality headsets, with much of the adult industry jumping on top of the VR experience.
The industry at large has experienced some pretty serious changes — Playboy recently announced its decision to stop publishing nude photographs in its magazine, and the mansion associated with the magazine (and with its original publisher Hugh Hefner) is up for sale. Penthouse itself actually went bankrupt in 2004, and remains far from its glorious zenith, when it regularly sold over 5 million copies.
“This move will keep Penthouse competitive in the future and will seamlessly combine our unmatched pictorial features and editorial content with our video and broadcast offerings,” FriendFinder CEO Jonathan Buckheit noted in a statement. So while Penthouse may never again see its full glory, at least it’ll stay relevant for a bit longer.
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