If we imagine Vice and GQ at two opposite ends of a spectrum -- Vice having the most substantive intellectual content but with a grungy punk aesthetic that wants to challenge and discomfort you, and with GQ having absolutely vapid content solely meant to showcase whatever suits or whiskey a sponsor is pushing but doing so with beautiful photography that's a pleasure to look at -- then it sounds like Playboy is positioning itself in the middle, like a thinking man's GQ or a convivial gentleman's Vice.
But after I saw this announcement, I checked out their revamped website and it just looks like a slightly more grown-up version of Total Frat Move: skeevy clickbait for bros in the back half of their twenties. If they really want to go after the Vice fans with jobs, I hope their content editors ramp up original material (which Vice does extremely well) instead of repackaging viral videos and listicles for referral traffic.
I agree that they should probably move some of their serious content to their website, though. If only for marketing reasons. It would make the notion of reading Playboy for the news far less humorous.
I get the feeling that the magazine will die along or even before Heff does.
But a good editor and/or a strong website relaunch could make up for lost time pretty quickly - see Josh Topolsky's work on Bloomberg or the New Yorker's web overhaul 2 years ago.
Granted, I can't quite imagine how they can leverage their brand's err core identity without seeming hopelessly out of date. Cleavagey models would seem just as archaic.
Perhaps their last great deep dive was the series of articles on the Amiga computer.
The most striking is perhaps how much of a tone change there was for one editor that moved to the site primarily to write about Android. Ever since he changed employer his articles seem to be all about highlighting what is wrong about the OS.
All in all i fear the site has gotten very agenda driven in recent years.
For example: http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/16/3740422/the-life-and-death...