Teen Girl Site Launches

In a bid to tap into the pocketbooks and mini-backpacks of teenage girls, Sweet16.com, a multi-media company whose shareholders include none other than Britney Spears, opens its doors later this month.

Eventually, the Sweet16 media empire, aimed at girls aged nine to 17, is expected to include a Web site, a magazine, a network radio program, a television show and branded retail merchandise. The Sweet16 Web site officially launches July 31, and the premiere issue of Sweet16.com Magazine will appear on newsstands August 1.

“Teen females are savvy Internet users who are driving a tremendous amount of spending,” said J. Patrick Kenny, co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Sweet16 Intermedia.

“While they represent a huge online and offline purchasing presence, they are significantly under served by marketers and the media.”

There’s no shortage, though, of Web sites aiming to attract this audience. There’s Bolt.com, Alloy.com, iTurf.com, MXG.com, React.com, and small sites like SmartGirl.com. Some of these — Alloy.com, iTurf.com, and MXG.com — even have off-line publications, either catalogs or magazines, designed in part to drive traffic to their sites.

But Sweet16 has Britney, a built-in celebrity spokesperson. The site will launch with a Webcast of the singing star’s sold-out concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

“Britney Spears will help create Sweet16.com and entertain, inform and interact with the first generation of girls and teens growing up and making an impact on the new century,” said Shelly Palmer, chief executive officer of Sweet16.com Intermedia.

“Our goal to make Sweet16.com the resource and place that young girls and teens turn to first to hear about, see and experience all the truly cool parts of today’s culture.”

Content areas will include “Life Happens,” a section that focuses on the life experiences of teenage girls. Chat rooms, streaming media, news, photos, and interviews will also be a part of the mix. The company hopes to capitalize on its Britney Spears relationship and lure other young entertainers. Sweet16.com is also developing content and promotional deals with such recording groups as ‘NSync, Third Eye Blind and 98 degrees.

The company is dealing with the issue of appropriate content by requiring every site visitor to register and declare her age. Parental approval is required for girls 13 and under to register on the site, and Web page content is dynamically and selectively delivered depending on the person’s age.

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