Q&A: Tony Cochi, LFP's New EVP Looks at What's Ahead

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — This week Hustler founder Larry Flynt bolstered his executive brain trust with the appointment of industry veteran Tony Cochi as executive vice president in charge of broadcast and Internet operations — undoubtedly two of the most important segments of any adult company serious about competing in the 21st century.

Armed with an impressive background in broadcasting for mainstream Hollywood corporations and adult cable distributor Trans Digital Media, Cochi brings a unique combination of skills that he tells XBIZ will help him fulfill his ambitious new vision for the company.

And having an iconic brand that’s instantly recognizable heralding its products and services including broadcasting in more than 55 countries, 60 websites, 12 magazines, a film studio and casino operation, doesn’t hurt.

But Cochi realizes that to stay on top of the game in the always-challenging adult arena, a company has to seek new opportunities and leveraging a brand to its fullest — even one as well known as Hustler. And as Cochi now joins a beefed-up management team announced by LFP last May that Flynt said comes after the company’s best year ever, he’s primed to scale new heights.

With barely a chance to get his executive chair warm, Cochi was kind enough to answer 10 questions for XBIZ on what he’s thinking about —  first concerning his new post and also what lies ahead in the near future for the adult juggernaut.

XBIZ: What’s your first order of business at your new post at LFP?

Tony Cochi: Hustler has been a global leader in adult entertainment for more than 40 years with many lines of businesses such as broadcasting, casino/gaming, retail, Internet, publishing, video and licensing. My first order of business is to tap into these synergies in order to maximize revenue and continue our global growth and expansion.

XBIZ: How has your prior experience prepared you for the tasks at hand?

Cochi: Having worked with leading organizations such as Warner Bros. and Cablevision, I have extensive knowledge in programming, demographics, marketing and consumer satisfaction. We are in a very competitive landscape, so being cutting-edge and giving customers what they are looking for is key.

XBIZ: What were your major challenges at Trans Digital Media?

Cochi: The biggest challenge was not having a well-known brand and trying to compete against well-established incumbents. We overcame this by coming up with unique creative programming. It’s called thinking outside the box.

XBIZ: What can we expect to be different/improved on the broadcast side of the business?

Cochi: I can’t tip my hand, as I know my competitors are reading this interview, but you can certainly expect a new vision and more strategic approach. I bring many senior level relationships to the table and intend to work closely with them, in the spirit of good partnership, to expand our broadcast business.

XBIZ: How will LFP’s Internet division be handled under your stewardship?

Cochi: I will work closely with them to expand our current business, and will be taking a close look at pricing, packaging and the overall customer experience.

XBIZ: Do you have a plan to increase paid membership, considering the glut of free content?

Cochi: Yes, absolutely. Hustler, like Hollywood studios, provides unique quality programming that consumers are willing to pay a premium for. As discussed in the previous question, it’s all about determining the proper pricing and packaging. Perceived consumer value not only gets customers to sign up, but more importantly gets them to stay on as customers past the initial sign-up.

XBIZ: Programming and acquisitions are your strong suits. Do you have specific content you’re pursuing?

Cochi: Yes. Traditionally, every adult distributor has followed the lead of their competitors and programs into existing genres. Going forward, I will be looking at unique new themes, and either producing content or acquiring programming that will fill those voids.

XBIZ: Will the HUSTLER brand be affected in any way?

Cochi: The Hustler brand is iconic. We are the world leaders in adult, and it’s my role to keep us on top of the pile. Hustler not only produces award-winning programming, but also has deals in place with many of the studios that bring home the most awards year after year.

XBIZ: Can we expect new acquisitions/strategic alliances?

Cochi: We are always looking at opportunities that make business sense.

XBIZ: Will the magazine and video divisions be impacted by any of your plans?

Cochi: It’s all about synergy. Leveraging this amazing brand and working together across all our properties will improve the overall performance of our company.