Playboy is an American men's magazine, founded in Chicago, Illinois by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., reaching into every form of media. Playboy is one of the world's best known brands. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.
The magazine is published monthly and features photographs of nude women, along with various articles on fashion, sports, consumer goods, and public figures. It also has short fiction by top literary writers, such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood. The magazine has been known to express liberal opinions on most major political issues. Playboy's use of "tasteful" nude photos is classified as "softcore" in contrast to the more "hardcore" pornographic magazines that started to appear in the 1970s in response to the success of Playboy's more explicit rival, Penthouse. Today, Playboy is a significant producer and distributor of hardcore pornography due to its 2006 acquisition of ClubJenna Inc and its ownership of several adult cable channels such as the Spice Network.