Playboy SA stripped off mag rack

15 May 2013 - 03:21 By ANDILE NDLOVU

After two years of huffing and puffing, Playboy South Africa is to put an end to its magazine run.

Editor Charl du Plessis said yesterday that the "hurdle of conservative readers" had proven too much.

The magazine will now be 100% digital - a decision that was taken as far back as August last year.

Du Plessis said yesterday: "We're told from the consumer side that people don't want to be seen buying Playboy.

"Digital is a more private space, and that is where publishing is heading anyway."

By the end of last year, it became increasingly clear that Playboy was trying to shift its readership to its website.

"The most difficult thing, among others, has been getting retail distribution and that's what killed off Playboy in the '90s - that retailers wouldn't have it on their shelves [because of the worry of it causing a stir]." He said South Africa was not so much a conservative country as a hypocritical one.

In his opinion, many other lad's magazines and even women's magazines often featured cruder material than Playboy SA but were not chastised for it.

At one point last year, the magazine's total circulation plunged to a dismal 3839, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa .

The editor and publisher of advertising and media site, Herman Manson, said although Playboy will save on printing, distribution and some production costs, its technology and content costs would increase.

Nevertheless, he was not surprised by the move. He said it followed a trend "in other markets to close down publications struggling in print and using smaller teams to focus on digital channels".

When asked what his favourite cover had been over the local Playboy's brief history, Du Plessis noted the March edition.

It featured a naked woman and the message "no means no" to take a stand against the abuse of women

In his editor's letter, he wrote: "Playboy is happy-man space. But this month we pulled our scheduled cover to bring home a loud and clear message that there is no place for happiness if not shared by women in our society."