MXG Media Inc. is looking to grab a bigger piece of the $75 billion spent by teen-age girls every year.
Flush with capital after receiving a $26 million investment from USA Networks Interactive last November, the media company is adding to its already synergistic mix of fare geared to the computer-savvy Gen-Y market.
Manhattan Beach-based MXG which began three years ago with mxgonline.com (a Web site to sell clothes and accessories) and a hybrid publication known as a "magalog" (part magazine, part catalog) aimed at 12- to 24-year-olds recently unveiled another division called MXGtv.com.
The new division is actually an interactive video network dedicated to developing entertainment programming and e-commerce capabilities, with plans to start delivering broadcast and cable programming later this year.
"Today, TV isn't interactive, so this (new division) gives viewers a chance to watch television and log onto our site at the same time," said Rob Swartz, 31, president of MXGtv. "Once TV and PCs converge in the future, the goal will not be to watch things online, but watch it in the best entertainment environment, which is on TV. And, we'll already be ready for that."
Essentially, teen-agers can log on to the Web site and click on streaming video channels devoted to subjects ranging from celebrities to sports to animation. There, viewers can purchase the merchandise seen on the Web show.
Once programs hit cable TV, teen-agers will be able to simultaneously watch the show on television and log onto the site on their PCs to chat with others who may be watching, and even catch behind-the-scenes shots on the Web site that never made it onto the cable program.
"It's the ultimate extension of content across all media channels," said Ekaterina Walsh, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It makes sense because young consumers are entertainment-motivated they have no responsibilities and are looking for more ways to chat, e-mail and find out about celebrities."
The site features 12 video-streaming channels, including Fashion Junkies, X-Girls, Boys in the Biz and MXGo. For instance, this month's Fashion Junkies channel highlights lead singer Monique Powell from the alternative band "Save Ferris." Powell talks about her bandmates, how she got into singing and her favorite clothes. The four-minute episode also gives visitors the opportunity to click on Powell to purchase items she's wearing.
"This is another way for them to spend their time and multi-task all of the things they like to do at once which is to talk, listen to music, watch videos and shop," said Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare, a retail consulting firm in Miami, Fla.
Circulation of the company's bi-monthly publication, meanwhile, has grown from 150,000 to 500,000, and total readership has swelled to 3.3 million.
But, Cohen cautions that MXG is dealing with a capricious audience.
"Teens are not very loyal. They flock to the hottest thing," Cohen said.
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