At opposite corners of the niche universe, you have Thrillist for men and Comcast-owned Daily Candy for women. Both lifestyle products, founded as email newsletters/shopping guides, have jumped aboard the deals bandwagon, working with Group Commerce Inc. as their tech provider. They also have a common association with former AOL Time Warner President (and current Clear Channel Entertainment Chairman) Bob Pittman, who has invested widely in the Interactive Local Media space.
Thrillist has moved into additional directions. A year-and-a-half ago, it bet big on trendy clothing for its core male demographic. It acquired Jackthreads, a Gilt-like membership clothing company for guys. It is promoted it throughout the site. Jackthreads now represents more than half of the company’s $40 million annual revenue. Deals are also major contributors to overall revenue.
Mike Rothman, GM, Thrillist Rewards, told us that the combination of the events newsletter, the deals, and the clothing site have reinforced and pushed up the 5 ½ year old site’s broad appeal. Now, the core site has grown to more than three million subscribers and 2.5 million unique visitors. The Jackthreads site has 1.2 million unique visitors. The Thrillist Rewards deals platform separately has 650,000 subscribers. The Rewards deals are especially curated for the readers, who average 30 years old (think beer).
“The audience was being underserved,” says Rothman. The site had 19 local editions but was mostly being sold to advertisers on a national basis. Now the site is bent on developing local sales – pushing especially hard on deals. It currently has sales teams set up in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and will add “a couple more” markets later this year. The site will get additional volume via syndication of its deals that it has with marketers such as New York Magazine.
Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and Thrillist’s Mike Rothman are both appearing at BIA//Kelsey’s ILM West Dec. 12-14 in San Francisco.