Playboy to offer Web subscription service

Hugh Hefner promises to deliver the full catalog of the men's magazine, from the 1953 debut onward, in all its glory.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

Oops! Hef misspoke about the iPad offering. Twitter

Playboy plans to bare it all anew in March with a Web subscription service that offers the full catalog of the venerable men's magazine.

The news was revealed yesterday by none other than the magazine's famed founder and bon vivant, Hugh Hefner, though it turns out that Hef's tease was a bit astray off the mark. In his Twitter feed, Hefner declared that all issues of Playboy, past and present, would be coming to the iPad--and that they'd be uncensored to boot.

That last comment naturally triggered some questions. Apple is notoriously strict about what type of content it allows on the App Store. The company has in the past banned apps that contained certain sexual material and at one point even rejected an app from Project Gutenberg because it provided access to the Kama Sutra.

Apple's App Store already features a Playboy app, which offers digital copies of the magazine's print edition. But it's a watered-down version with no nudity.

Released last September, Apple's new App Store guidelines simply state that "apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as 'explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings,' will be rejected."

In response to CNET's inquiries, a Playboy spokeswoman today confirmed the March rollout for the subscription service, which would allow access to all issues of Playboy--but which has nothing to do with Apple, the iPad, or the App Store.

As a Web-based service, which would include archival material stretching back to the debut issue in December 1953, it would be accessible on any device that can surf the Web, including the iPad. The spokeswoman added that a dedicated iPad app from Playboy is still in the development stages but once completed it would follow Apple's guidelines, which does mean no nudity.

Playboy's archives have previously been available, both on DVD and on an external hard drive. What's new, then, is that this is the first Web-based subscription that would give access to all the issues.

Looks like Hef spoke too soon and confused a lot of people with his tweets. But if the newly engaged octogenarian was tweeting from the Playboy Mansion, we can understand why he might have other things on his mind.

Correction 2:05 p.m. PT: This story initially followed Hefner's lead and misreported the nature of the Playboy offering. It has since been updated with clarification from Playboy.