Playboy vs. Maxim: Which is better?

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Difference between Playboy and Maxim

Playboy has traditionally held the throne for being one of the most popular men's magazines in the business, although you can bet that a number of usurpers have attempted to wrest its title over the years with varying degrees of success. One of the magazines that have managed to come close is Maxim, and as you will see from this comparison, it may just enough of the goods to offer some serious competition, although not necessarily grab the market from Playboy.


Target Audience

Aside from its adult oriented content, Playboy obviously caters to a more sophisticated set than Maxim, a focus that is emphasized by its decidedly more intellectually stimulating news and features content.

As for Maxim, its focus is clearly towards attracting a much younger audience, and much of its content is a bit more informal and irreverent.

Current State Of The Company

Both Playboy and Maxim have weathered numerous storms in their lifespan, much of which has occurred in recent years. Playboy recently took on Scott Flanders as its new CEO, and the company is currently involved in efforts to revamp its business strategy. Flanders is known in the industry for his extreme cost cutting measures, and he clearly has his work cut out for him in reviving what is obviously a floundering enterprise. One of Flanders’ most recent moves is the closing down of the company’s offices in New York City.

Maxim isn't faring any better than its biggest competitor, and the company is now under the ownership of Cerberus Capital after a recent takeover. Reflective of the current turbulent state of the company is the closing down of the print version of Blender magazine, which was established by the previous parent company of Maxim, Alpha Media Group. Bender currently exists only in an online version, and with Cerberus’ recent plan to close down Maxim as well, the future of the company seems quite bleak.


For all its irreverent–and some would say, juvenile content–Maxim does have some interesting articles from time to time, although its focus seems to be on easily digestible content. While this obviously limits the magazine's audience to a less serious market, it does make it a lot easier to read.

Playboy on the other hand, is of course known for its adult-oriented content, although there is a definite depth and maturity to its non-sex oriented content as well. While Maxim seems to be geared towards the 20-something set, Playboy clearly has its sights set on a more mature and sophisticated audience.



  • Recently took on a new CEO
  • Currently trying to stabilize operations
  • The company was recently offered for sale at $300 million
  • The brainchild of Hugh Heffner
  • Offers more sophisticated and mentally stimulating content than Maxim


  • Currently owned by Cerberus Capital
  • Parent company is the Alpha Media Group
  • Targets a younger market than Playboy’s
  • Launched a successful U.K. edition in 1997


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