Last April, teen beauty magazine, ElleGirl announced it would shutter its print publication following the June/July issue to focus on its online and mobile products. The news came as ElleGirl was actually gaining market share in the teen print market, with ad revenue surging 77 percent to $33.7 million in 2005, up from just $19 million a year earlier. And its circulation and rate base had doubled since its 2001 launch to 601,149 and 600,000, respectively.
A little more than two weeks ago, Teen People announced it was following suit with plans to suspend its print publication following its September issue to focus its resources on TeenPeople.com. While Teen People’s fate remains to be seen, ElleGirl.com has seen its Web traffic and ad sales increase in the month since it stopped printing, said Anne Janas, senior vice president of corporate communications for Hachette Filipacchi, Elle Girl’s parent company. And Janas, during a Q&A with Folio:, said plans are in works to overhaul Elle Girl’s Web site and increase its mobile offerings.
What’s traffic on Ellegirl.com been like since the print magazine went out of publication? Well it’s only been a short time, but we received a nice big (spike) in page views racking up another million page views in July. That’s in addition to the over eight million page views we already receive monthly.
When Ellegirl went online only, what were the goals? The goals were mostly growth goals and certainly we are encouraged by the additional ad sales and consumer participation we’ve seen. We’ve sold almost entirely out of our advertising inventory and are in the process of creating future space for more ad sales. So, we’re looking at a very healthy dynamic.
What are the changes coming to Ellegirl.com? We’re unveiling a redesign. It’s going to launch in September. They’ll be enhanced video and mobile content. We’re increasing our mobile offerings by adding more text alerts and other content that is popular for mobile devices. One of the things that’s so strong about the ElleGirl brand online is its sense community. Before we took the brand completely online, we listened to our (readers) and focus groups and found that these girls have a strong sense of community on our site. So we’re taking that community out of its own area and expanding it to every aspect of the site.
So in every section of the Web site, they’ll be a place where users can comment and talk about what they see and read? Yes, if you’re reading an article about fasion and beauty, you can talk about that article right there.
Do you think Ellegirl is better poised to capture the teen market now that it’s an online only property? I don’t know that we’re stronger now because the print product is not there. But it’s a very full and rich property. When you look at Ellegirl.com compared to our competitors like Teenvogue.com, Cosmogirl.com, we’re more than twice as large as any of the others. We were a smaller magazine, but a larger online property, so we’re very much on track with our plans to capitalize on that market.
What do you think of People.com following your lead and also moving to an online only product? I think they’re decision was influenced by some of the same things ours was. We’re two very different publications in terms of content. They’re focused on entertainment and we’re more focused on fashion and beauty. But both publications are targeted to teenage girls and I think (Teen People) read and saw some of the same signs that we did as to where this market is headed.