Digital dozen: Xavier Kochhar

William Morris Agency

BUSINESS TYPE: Hollywood agency

JOB TITLE: New-media agent, William Morris Consulting

AGE: 28

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Adapting from the finance world into the entertainment culture

THE NEXT TREND: Further worldwide media and entertainment mergers and acquisituions activity catalyzed by the consolidation of large infrastructure providers.

FAVORITE BOOKMARK: www.cnnfn.com

If anyone can tell you about the pratfalls of new media, it’s William Morris’ Xavier Kochhar. Last year, he was selling original content to dot-coms with the rest of the tenpercentary crowd.

But now that the wireless and interactive TV markets are beginning to gain consumer acceptance worldwide, Kochhar has left the new-media arena behind and has become one of the key dealmakers in marrying Hollywood content with the more financially healthy technology ventures that desperately need it, cutting deals for a list of clients that includes corporate heavyweights British Telecom, Nokia, Texas Instruments, Comverse and Riot Entertainment.

“I consider myself a builder,” Kochhar says. “I want to help make wireless, broadband and video-on-demand technology meaningful (for) consumer distribution outlets for entertainment brands.”

Since leaving his investment banking job to join William Morris in 1999, Kochhar has helped turn the agency’s consulting group into a new-media power-broker. The division also includes Paul Bricault, Paul Furia, Lewis Henderson, Patti Kim, Johnny Levin, John Mass, Howard Owens, Lisa Shotland and Ben Silverman.

“While most businesses in the United States were pouring capital into the Internet, international companies were investing billions of dollars into their technical infrastructure,” Kochhar says. “Now there are telephone and cable companies all over the world with incredibly sophisticated networks, but with very little to pump through them. For us, that creates an opportunity.”

For Kochhar, the main objective is to bridge the gap between new technology interests and the world of entertainment. A key element to that approach is diversifying the means of distributing original content. He is at work packaging the interactive elements for a new reality television show that is about to be shopped to the broadcast networks.

“In the last 10 years, nearly every major entertainment company has been acquired or has strategically aligned itself with an infrastructure provider,” Kochhar says. “These types of companies have a revenue relationship with their customers that is consistent, predictable and recurring. That makes them extremely compelling investments in the equity capital markets. Now, these companies are entering into the entertainment business and becoming the new buyers of content.”