New York, May 7 (Reuters): Attention men! Prefer journalism to wacky story blurbs' Cool martinis to frothy beer' Nearly naked female celebs to fully naked unknowns' Playboy’s new editor James Kaminsky says he has a magazine for you.
After months of nips and tucks to stop the signs of ageing at the 50-year-old publication, founded by sexual revolution icon Hugh Hefner, Playboy is fresh from its makeover.
Kaminsky, 42, said he is ready to showcase a magazine that is similar in substance but different in style — and put some of the clothes back on.
With a new editorial staff, Kaminsky and Playboy magazine are set to recapture the throne that Hefner, now 77, refuses to abdicate. The magazine lost ground on news stands with the arrival in the late 90s of so-called “lad mags” like Maxim, Stuff and FHM.
The new formula' More photos teamed with still strong journalism, more lifestyle, leisure and fashion and more pictorials of celebrities with perhaps a bit more clothes.
“My goal is to take this great editorial package that has worked for 50 years and move it forward for a new generation, without losing the things that have worked so well to date,” Kaminsky said in an interview.
Playboy was founded in 1953 by then 27-year-old Hefner. By combining pictures of beautiful women — Marilyn Monroe was the first nude centrefold — with literary and journalistic pieces Hefner, or just plain “Hef,” made Playboy a household name.
The magazine now has a US circulation of 3.2 million, still the largest in its category, but about half of what it had during its hey day.
With Maxim, FHM and Stuff crowding the news stands and the industry facing the worst advertising slump in recent history, Playboy’s news stand sales suffered and its glossy reputation dulled.
For the first time in 2002, Playboy Enterprises’ TV, movie and video revenue eclipsed publishing, which was hurt by lower magazine sales.
Kaminsky was lured from Maxim in September to replace Arthur Kretchmer, Playboy’s editorial boss for nearly four decades.
But how do you change the magazine without it appearing like it’s in mid-life crisis'
“We need to add new people on the news stand... by making the magazine more visual, making it livelier and relevant,” Kaminsky said. “It’s an evolution, not a revolution. I don’t want to lose those 2.8 million” subscribers to the magazine.
But grabbing the attention in times when generous flesh display is common on supermarket and book store magazine racks may be tough.
Playboy’s pictorials with well-known movie and TV stars in the buff have always been among their best selling issues, but getting A-list actresses, singers and models to appear totally nude has been difficult.