Ellegirl.com Paves Way for Print Debut

Hachette Filipacchi Magazines will give the Internet precedence over print when it introduces its Elle Girl fashion and beauty title later this year for teen-age girls in the United States.

The French publisher has debuted its Ellegirl.com site, almost three months ahead of the print sibling’s Aug. 28 newsstand launch. Site visitor feedback will play a key role in the print version’s makeup.

“We’re hitting the stands with the conversation already ongoing,” said Brandon Holley, first editor-in-chief of Elle Girl, New York.

The title enters a market chock-full of teen girl magazines like Teen Vogue, Teen, Teen People, Seventeen, YM and Cosmogirl.

Holley said many of the current crop treat their Web sites as an afterthought. But times have changed.

“We’re looking at a different type of consumer. We’re looking at a different marketplace than what has traditionally been there before,” she said. “For this demographic — the 12- to 17-year-old girl — the Internet is very important to them. They go and spend a lot of time on the Web. This is a way for us to establish that we exist before the magazine hits the stands.”

Ellegirl.com is a Hachette partnership with Alloy, New York, a leading teen site. Alloy will jointly develop editorial content and technology, driving traffic to Ellegirl.com through links.

Of more interest is the online reader’s direct involvement with the print Elle Girl. The teens’ votes will decide what celebrities will be covered in Elle Girl. They also will choose the first Elle Girl male-advice columnist; more than 1,500 votes are already in on the Elle Girl splash page on Alloy.com.

“We wanted to hit the stands with an issue that was already interactive,” Holley said. “We have at least 10 pages in the magazine that are directly related to feedback from users from the site.”

A quarterly through 2002 and bimonthly after, the first issue of Elle Girl will have 96 editorial pages on beauty and fashion tips, health, advice, music, entertainment and, of course, boys. Sixty percent will be devoted to fashion and beauty.

The quarterly frequency of the publication makes Ellegirl.com all the more indispensable.

“We are a quarterly, and to buoy interest in the magazine in between issues we’re going to send readers to the Web and then users of the Web back to the magazine, so that’s the sort of circular relationship there,” Holley said.

Charter advertisers were not disclosed, but the publisher is targeting categories like cosmetics and beauty products, entertainment and fashion.

The site will support itself through ads. There are no immediate plans for e-commerce.

In a twist, Hatchette will not follow the time-honored industry practice of polybagging the debut Elle Girl issue with the older Elle magazine. Nor will it use direct mail to solicit pre-launch subscriptions.

“We’re using the Internet to promote the magazine,” Holley said. “It’s purely newsstand-driven, which is different from some other recent [title] launches.”

Still, 35 Elle international editions will plug Elle Girl and Ellegirl.com on their pages. Plans may include charter subscription offers in Woman’s Day and Elle. Mail-in subscription cards will be available only when Elle Girl hits the stands.

Holley said Elle Girl’s cover price is $2.95.

“What we want to create is sort of give a magazine that’s aspirational in style but attainable in price,” she said. “So, basically, a glossy fashion magazine made for a teen allowance.”

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