Playboy enters the digital age

Playboy, one of the oldest of the men’s mags, is entering the digital age.

Every story, every picture, that has been in the magazine since it was launched by Hugh Hefner in 1953 – including the famous nude picture of Marilyn Monroe that ran on the cover of the first issue – will be accessible on DVD later this year.

All 630 issues of the magazine are to be transferred on to six discs – one for each decade – which will be available for $100 each. It is believed to be the first time that a magazine known for its sex and nudity has been digitalized.

Just after the announcement, Playboy’s website was inundated for stories and pix of Anna Nicole Smith, the sexy pin -up girl, who died mysteriously in Florida last week and has been making headlines every since.

It’s an indication of what Playboy’s digitalized archives may be used for. It’s also an effort by 80-year-old Hefner to bring his magazine into the new media world.

Playboy has for some time had a website, but no archival system. Old copies of the magazine, if anyone wanted to look up an article or picture, were until now only accessible in bound volumes.

From now on anyone who wants information on say Norman Mailer has only to type in his name and pull up every reference to the American writer in the magazine since Playboy was launched.

To digitalize the magazine more than 115 , 000 pages had to be “converted” – which meant typing up all the text. Then breaking down each page into such elements as cartoons, advertisements, photos and captions. 

Although this is an attempt to update Playboy’s image, it is one of the original American men’s sex mags that is still regarded as number one in its field – even though its sales have dropped drastically from seven million on 1972 to a little over three million today.

Hefner however claims that Playboy is becoming "hot " again. There is now a popular TV show based on the magazine, there is a Playboy casino in Las Vegas – and there is even now a Playboy line of clothing featuring its famous Bunny logo Also in the works: two new Playboy clubs, one in Macau, the new gambling capital just outside Hong Kong, the other in London.

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