ELLEgirl is still shutting down, and its staffers are still confused about why. As FishbowlNY pointed out yesterday, all the mag's numbers were looking good. "We feel that it's inexplicable," a source on staff emailed. "We worked our asses off on a shoestring budget to make — sorry — the best teen magazine out there. The numbers showed it, and so did the content. It's unbelievable."
After the jump, Hachette chief Jack Kliger's staff memo, which extols the magazine's work, extols the brand's online future — ELLEgirl ringtones are coming soon! — and, curiously, says absolutely nothing about placements or severance for the mag's soon-to-be-unemployed staffers.
From Jack Kliger, president and CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.
I am announcing today that, in light of ongoing research combined with five years of experience in the teen market, we are redirecting the strategy for the ELLEgirl brand. Following the June/July 2006 issue, ELLEgirl magazine will be discontinued, and the company will increase its substantial investment in the brand's digital formats focusing on ELLEgirl.com and wireless content.
It is always unfortunate to have to close a magazine; but today the teen market is increasingly fragmented. To effectively reach these girls, we must invest in the media where they spend most of their time and where we see our greatest growth potential.
I want to recognize that Editor-in-Chief Christina Kelly and VP/Publisher Deborah Burns have done extraordinary jobs of establishing this strong brand. ELLEgirl was twice named on the Adweek "Hot List", recognized by Delaney Report as the "Best Publication" and led in ad sales growth and newsstand growth year over year. We are thankful for their dedication and creative vision and want to extend that appreciation to their teams and the other Hachette colleagues who have been dedicated to publishing this title.
Going forward ELLEgirl.com will become the cornerstone of the brand's digital initiative. The ELLEgirl Web site, which launched before the magazine, was successfully received from the onset. In the past year alone, ELLEgirl.com has tripled its unique visitors, doubled its page views and doubled its ad revenue. ELLEgirl.com was recently listed in Media Metrix as one of the top ten teen sites.
With our partner Alloy, a leading teen marketing company, there are immediate plans for an extensive redesign, expanded content and increased staffing. This area will be managed by Marta Wohrle, VP/Director of Digital Media, and Carol Smith, SVP/ELLE group publishing director.
When teen girls are not on the Web, they are on their cell phones. Working closely with our sister company Lagardere Active North America, which launched in the U.S. eighteen months ago, we are developing ELLEgirl ring tones and wallpaper mobile pages, as well as a number of projects in the mobile blogging area.
We recognize that there are times when print works best. With this in mind, we will evaluate targeted magazine opportunities; for 2007, we are considering two themed issues which will join ELLE Accessories in the ELLE specials division.