Larry Flynt

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FROM FORBES: Larry Flynt’s New Hustles

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Over the years, Larry Flynt has peddled pornography, fought for freedom of speech, been shot at, and run for office. The pioneer of pornography in America has two new hustles planned for this year: a digital revamp of his iconic magazine – Hustler – and a major expansion of his retail stores.

In a conversation with me this morning, Flynt said Hustler’s website will port the offline experience of its magazines into an online one by the end of this year. This includes forty years of archives, movies, and notable content from the magazine’s offline avatar. “We will include a lot of material to entice viewers to become members of our site,” he told me.

That may be a tough sell, given the ubiquity and popularity of free porn on the Internet. Alec Helmy, publisher of Xbiz, an industry trade site, says print adult magazines are not commercially viable anymore because the bulk of consumption for such material occurs online and is visual and interactive in format (Print magazines are predominantly text-based). “Consumer psychology has changed due to free porn,” he says. As a result, customers are wary of paying for adult content when they can get it for free on sites subsidized by advertising dollars.

According to Helmy, Hustler’s reinvention of its digital presence is an attempt to maintain the brand’s perception and association. “It (the site) may end up being a loss leader,” he says.

Flynt says the Hustler brand is “as strong as ever.”

A Well-Diversified Hustle

Hustler’s print product, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary this year, has been on its last legs for some time. At its peak in 1976, the magazine sold two million copies per month. With the onset of cable television and DVD rentals, the magazine ran press runs of a million copies in 1997. According to a New York Times story that year, on average more than half of those copies were returned unsold. To revive the magazine’s fortunes, Flynt promised to publish the “most outrageous magazine out there.” But, he could not stem the online onslaught.

(For full article, click here)

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