VAIL, CO — It still majors on food and drink, but digital men’s lifestyle publisher Thrillist has expanded a lot in its 12 years online.

For one, what started as an email newsletter distributed to 600 friends is no longer just destined for your mailbox.

“Our email audience … is the pebble we can throw in the pond,” Thrillist editor-in-chief Adam Rich, who co-founded the title, tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “Email is how we set the ball rolling with a story – then the conversation moves in to social platforms, it has a ripple effect out from there.”

Now Thrillist has added verticals in travel, health, money, dating and more, and, like many a publisher, it’s going outside its core channel to find audiences elsewhere.

“I can’t think of a bigger challenge than the move toward distributed publishing… making sure you’re there when the person is consuming content in an Instant Article or an Apple News,” Rich adds, conceding: “It’s a little daunting.”

Rich need not fear. Thrillist booked $92m in revenue back in 2014, before it split from its ecommerce site JackThreads. Much of that comes from native ad campaigns it sells to brands, making sure to quantify outcomes using a Millward Brown partnership to identify brand uplift.


This interview took place at the Digiday Publishing Summit in Vail, Colorado, in March.