Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Flavorpill distills cool for half-million hipsters

Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 by No comments yet

The Economist (7/28/2007) writes about Flavorpill and it’s European equivalent, le cool. Flavorpill publishes “free, weekly e-mails that narrow the torrent [of hundreds of cultural events] down to the two dozen [of the] very best.

Mr Lewis started Flavorpill informally in the wake of the failure, in 2000, of a dotcom start-up. It has since accumulated 560,000 subscribers across 11 weekly publications, including editions in six cities. New York, at 85,000, is the largest. For its part, le cool was founded in 2003 after Ren© L¶nngren, who was working in advertising at the time, encountered Flavorpill on a trip to New York. Based in Barcelona, it now reaches 110,000 readers in eight cities. For now, the two overlap only in London.

Such people are highly attuned to the inauthenticity of culture manufactured in the pursuit of sales, so both Flavorpill and le cool say they are careful to separate advertising from editorial material, and to avoid promotional events. “Our readers can smell PR,” says Ms Hix. But Mr Lewis says that by selecting events that conform to the ineffable tastes of his audience, he has been able to aggregate this elusive group in a form that is attractive to advertisers. Advertisements from the likes of Budweiser, JetBlue and Nokia provide the bulk of Flavorpill's revenues.

With low overheads, limited marginal costs and eager advertisers, both companies have been able to expand without significant outside investment. Le cool's Spanish revenues could support the entire company, says Andrew Losowsky, le cool's editorial director, and advance advertising sales meant the London list was profitable months before it launched at the start of this year. Mr Lewis expects Flavorpill's revenues to be $4.2m in this, its fourth profitable year. Both companies plan editions in more cities soon.

Some crude math here... $4.2m/560,000 = $7.50/subscriber in annual revenue. Similar to Seven Days NOW, except 7D uses their staff to do the reviews instead of volunteers. All three of these services use email with web back up... that's Front Porch Forum's current distribution model too.

Posted in: Citizen Journalism, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Local Reviews

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