Annexing mobile real estate has become a big priority for companies that once lived and died on ad-page sales and circulation alone. Last year's shutdown of Hachette Filipacchi's Elle Girl and Time Inc.'s Teen People print editions only heightened the sense that young readers in particular want more, better options for finding brands' content.
"Now more than ever you're seeing things like the folding of Teen People and Elle Girl and those brands going solely online to keep up with more fragmented media consumption," said Mariam Dilawari, media supervisor, Dentsu America. "It's very important to have an experiential mobile site."
So Hearst isn't alone; last fall, for example, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. started free-for-consumers, ad-supported mobile sites for Elle, Car and Driver, Premiere and another title that has closed in print, Shock. But Hearst also has little choice.
'Good footprint out there'
"We want to be everywhere that our readers are," said Sophia Stuart, mobile director at Hearst Magazines Digital Media. "Across the U.S., among our readers, 85% have a cellphone and 25% have web-enabled phones. There's a good footprint out there."
"And it's proper stuff," Ms. Stuart added. "It's not taking magazine content and just putting it into a different format. It's really looking at the core Seventeen reader and what she wants while she's on the go and what we can answer for her."
The sites will offer a variety of advice, downloads and even blogs. The Cosmo Girl site, for example, will offer information, content and interactive features like horoscopes, quizzes, "those embarassing moments," teases to the print edition, beauty tips, wallpaper for girls' phones and ringtones. Among other sections, Cosmo Mobile will feature "Lust Lessons" and a "Bedroom Blog." The new, free, ad-supported mobile sites for Seventeen, Cosmo and Cosmo Girl now being introduced replace simpler, paid-subscription sites that were built before Ms. Stuart's division was formed. Hearst hopes to have mobile sites for all its brands by the end of the year.