Penthouse drops print magazines to deal with internet porn (updated)

It's the end of a horny era.

Internet porn just claimed another casualty. Penthouse has announced that it's dropping its print magazine after 51 years of publication -- from an unspecified point in the future, you'll have to go online to get those articles and racy photos (okay, mostly the photos). There will be a transition period, if you're not yet ready to ditch paper. Also, the move will see the magazine close its New York City offices and move into the Los Angeles location of its parent company, FriendFinder Networks.

FriendFinder isn't specific about the reasons behind the decision besides a plan to "keep Penthouse competitive." However, it doesn't take much to read between the lines. Much like Playboy, Penthouse is struggling in an era when it's trivial to find porn online, including the kinky stuff. It had to either give its print mag a better reason to exist (Playboy's strategy) or else cut that overhead completely. Given that FriendFinder stared bankruptcy in the face just a couple of years ago, it's easy to see why the company would rather play it safe and go all-digital.

Update 1/20: Good news if you're a Penthouse reader -- it's not a death sentence for paper after all. While FriendFinder did shutter the New York office and consolidate everything in LA, it plans to keep the print magazine running for as long as it turns a profit. That, of course, is the tricky part. The cost-cutting helps, but there are no guarantees that Penthouse can stay above water without going digital-only.

[Image credit: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images]