March 19 (UPI) -- Playboy announced Thursday it's ending the print version of its magazine, a move that's been in the works but was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter posted on Medium, Playboy Enterprises CEO Ben Kohn said this week's Spring 2020 issue will be the last print edition of the publication this year in the United States.
"We will move to a digital-first publishing schedule for all of our content including the Playboy Interview, 20Q, the Playboy Advisor and of course our Playmate pictorials," he wrote.
"In 2021, alongside our digital content offerings and new consumer product launches, we will bring back fresh and innovative printed offerings in a variety of new forms -- through special editions, partnerships with the most provocative creators, timely collections and much more. Print is how we began and print will always be a part of who we are."
Kohn said the COVID-19 outbreak caused disruption to the magazine's print production last week, causing the company "to accelerate a conversation we've been having internally" about the print product's future.
In recent years, Playboy has adjusted its strategy with its print product, temporarily ending all nude images of women in 2016. Then-editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner felt it was time to tone down the nudity in the magazine.
Hugh Hefner's son, Cooper Hefner, replaced his father as chief creative officer in 2017 and brought nudity back to the magazine's pages.
"I'll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake," the younger Hefner said at the time.
"Nudity was never the problem, because nudity isn't a problem. Today we're taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are."