Ben Lerer tells us he plans to launch Thrillist London in the next few weeks, the first international edition of his emailed city guide. Remember: there's no recession for the well-to-do, and Lerer's not alone capitalizing on that fact.
In fact, there seems to be a booming market for guilt-free niche media targeted at well-heeled hedonistic young people. Or there is online, at least: Lerer tells us his 16th or so Thrillist is going into London because its lady-shopper equivalent Daily Candy has had so much recent success in the city. (Like Thrillist, Daily Candy took money from former AOL exec Bob Pittman once upon a time; it is now owned by Comcast.)
Then there's Racked, the shopping blog from Lockhart Steele, which just today added a national edition to its New York and Los Angeles properties. (Disclosure: Steele used to oversee Gawker.com, and Gawker Media founder Nick Denton has invested in the company that owns Racked.)
Why is shopping media booming in the recession? Here's an illuminating answer in the form of a chart from the Time.com article "Rich people still have jobs, poor people don't:"
Thanks, federal bailouts. But it would seem the relatively solid fortunes of the upper income brackets isn't helping all media: The New York Times Company recently reported a "challenging time for luxury advertising" after cutting back its T style magazine, once a profit gusher. And the Wall Street Journal is trying to pump up its copycat WSJ. magazine to appeal better to advertisers.It probably helps that, unlike the Journal or Times, the likes of Racked and Daily Candy can be perused without running into depressing stories about mortgage foreclosures, food stamps or Haiti. Plus, as Lerer told us, they're cheaper to run, not to mention better targeted:
"It's a lean and mean business — we don't have a lot of the overhead that the print books have," Lerer said. "Last year was a huge win for us... it's well targeted, it's a quality product and it fills a hole between men's magazines and local city guides, where the voices don't resonate with our demographic."
Lerer's "big group of dudes across the country" has Thrillist on track to take in north of $10 million in revenue this year — Lerer claims he has more inbound advertising than he can handle — a solid chunk of which is profit. London, Lerer's biggest market yet, has the potential to add to that, assuming British writer Jason Allen can translate the site's pop-culture sensibility to foreign shores.
In the meantime, the twentysomething son of Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer plans to at least enjoy not-entirely-business trips to his new outpost. And why not: the money is still flowing freely, for the right people.
(Top pic: From an October Thrillist junket to Jamaica, by Morgan Johnston. Disclaimer: These particular Thrillist users are not all well-to-do, being on a free trip and all.)