Before there was HBO or Skinemax (Cinemax), there was Playboy. For every teenager seeking a look at a nude body, the choice was this or National Geographic. And while Playboy can be credited for its part in America's sexual revolution, the revolution passed them as cable television and then the internet could offer even more explicit fare.
Playboy's competitor, Penthouse, tried a different approach to match changing morals. Like the movie The Untouchables. Penthouse tried to match them, a knife for a knife, a gun for a gun. But trying to be as explicit as cable and the web only seemed to hasten its demise. Playboy suffered too. But in a new approach, Playboy is trying a 360 and starting in March 2016, the nudity will go away. Instead, the focus seems to move toward better editorial and articles. Heck, among the things that made Playboy great, beyond the photos, were articles from such renown authors as Jules Pfeiffer. The hope is that they find that right blend of stories and humor that will catapult Playboy to a profitable position.
Can this new strategy work? As long as it doesn't try to dumb down its features like other, more teenage boy, magazines, Playboy may have a chance. It may go counter to how they started but shaking up society is how Playboy first got noticed. It seems time to do it again.