LOS ANGELES — Only a handful of adult industry executives can list three or more top tier companies on their resumes. And even less can point to major accomplishments that have impacted those businesses during their tenure. Michael H. Klein is one captain that has done both.
Having held top spots with Playboy, Hustler and now as president of Vivid Entertainment's broadcast and Internet division, Klein’s experience and knowledge — along with major business coups — have continuously positioned him as one of adult’s luminaries regularly asked to share his in-depth smarts and strategies in broadcasting, programming and content monetization at numerous industry events, panels and seminars.
Although he has found a steady home in the adult space for more than a decade, Klein also made his mark in a number of mainstream broadcasting companies that had some adult elements. After his stint at Playboy, Klein in 2003 floated the idea of Hustler TV and VOD services by LFP and was offered the job by Larry Flynt at their first meeting. The rest is adult broadcasting history.
Today, channels from LFP Broadcasting include Hustler TV, Girlfriends Films, TEN, Juicy and most recently Forbidden Fruits Films — all ushered in by Klein. The offerings are carried by cable and satellite programming providers around the U.S. and can be seen in more than 55 countries around the world.
But like all ambitious and accomplished leaders, the seasoned executive recently moved over to another giant, Docler Media, operators of LiveJasmin.com et al, but quickly switched gears to join Steven Hirsch and Vivid for an opportunity he says he couldn’t pass up.
Klein was kind enough to spare some time for XBIZ to fill us in on his new post and how he plans to take yet another adult giant to new heights under his stewardship.
XBIZ: What prompted your move from Docler Media to Vivid Entertainment since you’d only taken on that new post in May?
Michael Klein: While I enjoyed the people at Docler Media and was impressed by their strength in the live cam business, a great opportunity unfolded with the offer to join Vivid. The parting from Docler was very amicable.
XBIZ: What will be your main tasks at Vivid?
Klein: My main tasks will be to grow Vivid TV beyond its already impressive rollout and make it the top adult broadcasting company in the world, while at the same time improve the Vivid Internet business.
XBIZ: Vivid is well known for celebrity content. Is this an area you expect to grow and expand?
Klein: Well, yes, Vivid is the known leader in celebrity content so I am sure that celebrities will continue to reach out to Steven Hirsch for maximum exposure and top-notch marketing. At the same time the company will be on the lookout for new opportunities as this is a genre that Vivid handles the best and will continue to do so.
XBIZ: What do you see as Vivid’s strengths in the highly competitive cable TV space?
Klein: It is the combination of a strong brand and an impressive array of content, and as I said, especially the celebrity sex tapes, which are continually high performers in all mediums, particularly on the cable and satellite TV platforms. Vivid also has an incredible library of titles.
XBIZ: We know it may be too early to tell, but how do you feel Vivid’s position in the adult space differs from LFP, or Docler?
Klein: Vivid represents the future. It was never a print-based company. It has a fabulous archive, the most award-winning movies in the industry and, of course, unmatched celebrity sex tapes.
XBIZ: You’ve had experience with major adult brands including Playboy. How will you expand the Vivid brand? What initial strategies can we expect?
Klein: Expansion of Vivid TV worldwide will help grow even more awareness to the Vivid brand, as will the continued success of the channel and VOD packages, extending the reach of the audience for our websites and through growth of licensing opportunities.
XBIZ: What are your thoughts regarding Vivid’s Internet properties? How will you better compete considering the glut of free porn?
Klein: Vivid.com and VividCelebs.com are already two successful websites and we will grow that sector even further in ways that will be beneficial to Vivid as well to our affiliates and partners.
XBIZ: How will you be working with Vivid’s film and video production arm?
Klein: We’ll be working together with research to determine which films will fill demands. Nowadays you have to make movies that not only work for DVD release but at the same time work for broadcasting and Internet.
XBIZ: Will Vivid expand its global reach? If so, how?
Klein: Vivid TV is already widely distributed throughout North America and in numerous other countries, but we have plans to expand that even more. And of course we will be reaching out to deliver Vivid TV and any other channels that we launch in the future throughout Europe and Latin America as well.
XBIZ: In your estimation is adult content becoming more mainstream? If so, what are your plans to further Vivid’s acceptance?
Klein: I would say that today adult content is more acceptable as more people respect the rights of others to watch what they want in the privacy of their home. One of our goals is to make sure people know that Vivid delivers the best in adult entertainment.
XBIZ: Can we expect further management changes at Vivid? Are you seeking a new team to assist you?
Klein: I am getting to know the team here and familiarizing myself with everyone, and I am impressed with what I have seen and what they have achieved. My goal is to work with the people here and try to bring my experience and perspective to help expand what they have been doing successfully for many years.
XBIZ: Briefly outline your five-year goals.
Klein: Sustainable growth in all of our key areas.