Penthouse ends print publication after 50 years, goes digital

Penthouse will end its print edition after 50 years, going exclusively digital.
Penthouse will end its print edition after 50 years, going exclusively digital.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE

NEW YORK (AFP) - Adult magazine Penthouse will end its print edition after 50 years, becoming the latest publication to go exclusively digital.

Parent company FriendFinder Networks said that the magazine will henceforth be released online only and that subscriptions will be converted to digital.

"This will be a new way for its readers to experience the world's best adult magazine," said FriendFinder chief executive Jonathan Buckheit in a statement.

"Reimagined 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 - giving people an open-ended reading experience, available anytime, anywhere."

The magazine division, which operated out of New York, will move to the company's Los Angeles-based office.

Besides publishing Penthouse, FriendFinder Networks operates a number of adult-oriented social networking sites including AdultFriendFinder.com, Amigos.com, AsiaFriendFinder.com and SeniorFriendFinder.com.

The group filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013.

Bob Guccione began publication of Penthouse in Britain in 1965 and four years later in the United States, earning him a fortune estimated at US$400 million at one point with a more explicit alternative to Hugh Hefner's Playboy.

But as the Internet became dominant in porn, Penthouse publisher General Media, which was 85 per cent owned by Guccione, filed for bankruptcy in 2003, which led to its acquisition by FriendFinder Networks.

Guccione died in 2010 after a battle with cancer.

Playboy last year said it would stop publishing nude photos in its iconic magazine, throwing in the towel in the face of rampant online pornography.

Playboy, which broke lifestyle taboos in the 1950s with bare-breasted pictures in a magazine for the mass market, said that "a top-to-bottom redesign" will be unveiled in its March edition.