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Iconic Playboy may soon end print magazine, report says

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LOS ANGELES – Very soon, one of the most iconic magazines in American history may no longer be available in print.

Playboy is reportedly considering doing away with its print magazine, ending a decades-long run in which the publication was a cultural symbol of a bygone era.

The Wall Street Journal reports Playboy Enterprises Inc. is thinking about killing off the magazine and focusing its efforts on branding and licensing deals.

Created in the 1950's by Hugh Hefner, Playboy became an instant sensation with its pictures of nude women. The Playboy lifestyle soon swept throughout the U.S. as television shows, clubs and hotels portrayed an image of a life free from the norms of previous decades.

However, since hitting peak subscription numbers near 6 million in the mid-70's, the magazine has suffered due to the advent of home video and the internet. According to the report, Playboy's current circulation has dropped below 500,000.

In 2011, a private equity firm gained control of two-thirds of Playboy and agreed to keep publishing the magazine until Hefner's death, which occurred in September.