Hustler has unveiled a soup-to-nuts rehaul of its website, a digital revamp that comes as Larry Flynt‘s porn empire celebrates its 40th anniversary.
To lure potential paid subscribers to the all-new HustlerMagazine.com – which, rest assured, remains as workplace-unfriendly as ever – Flynt is offering up an archive of every issue in the magazine’s history. Annual subscriptions are priced at $5.99 per month, while month-to-month access will cost $9.99.
“We’ve known for 25 years that the Internet was going to take a toll on publishing,” Flynt, 71, tells The Hollywood Reporter of the reasoning behind the shift to online. “Not just to my genre, but I was reading the other day that Conde Nast and Time Inc. both are down about 30 percent in the last three years.”
Flynt, who admits to being something of a “dinosaur” when it comes to his own media-consumption habits, says he foresees a day when he will have to shut down production on Hustler‘s print operations completely. But he’s hoping to hold that moment off for as long as possible: “In 30 years, we’ve lost about 80 percent of our circulation,” he says. “But we’re very careful about how we publish. We run a very tight ship and the magazine is still profitable.”
Famous for its taboo-busting pictorials — Hustler was the first national publication to show female genitalia and put pubic hair on its cover — the raunchy magazine has long been a lightning rod, championed on one hand by free-speech advocates, reviled on the other by conservatives and feminists alike, who shouted down its “meat grinder” cover and topless photos of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
All of that incendiary material is now readily available to subscribers, as are the magazine’s exposes of hypocritical politicians. Flynt is most proud of having forced Bob Livingston, the House Speaker-designate who called for the impeachment of then-President Bill Cllnton, to resign in 1998 amid evidence of multiple affairs.
Flynt’s ongoing crusade is always turning up new targets. Most recently, it’s the Sultan of Brunei, whose Beverly Hills Hotel is currently facing boycotts over his implementation of Sharia law.
“What an act of hypocrisy,” Flynt says. “He has women flown in from all over the world to Brunei. [He has] kept them and kidnapped them and provides them for all of his cronies. For him to initiate that Sharia law is just mind-boggling. I wonder what he’s thinking.”
But don’t expect him to buy the hotel from the leader – or, for that matter, the Los Angeles Clippers from disgraced owner Donald Sterling: “We’re in the gaming and broadcast business now, and it takes up all our time.”