Cosmopolitan website set for April relaunch

A redesigned version of Cosmopolitan.co.uk featuring new interactive and video elements will launch on 1 April.

The new site, unveiled this morning by Hearst Digital, the online division of the National Magazine Company, is set to be relaunched following a six-month redesign process led by editor Kate Creasey.

A three-member editorial team will run the new site, which will include new interactive features such as “Boyfriend Wars”, which will let readers submit pictures of their boyfriends for other readers to rate. A similar feature will let readers vote on who has the cutest pets.

A new video section, CosmoTV, will feature behind-the-scenes coverage of fashion shoots produced both in-house and by freelance contributors. Sales director Stuart Flint said Hearst is planning to introduce a new “in-film advertising” format later this year, but declined to elaborate further.

Although the site will be run independently of Cosmopolitan magazine, there will be close ties between the print and online titles, including new web-exclusive content from popular sections of the magazine like agony aunt Irma Kurtz.

The site aims to have 250,000 unique users in April and 500,000 a month within a year.

The site has grown by 45 per cent in the past year and currently claims 176,000 unique users a month generating 2.3 million page impressions. Research commissioned by the company shows that the average user of the site is 27 and has a household income of £41,954. Fifty-one per cent are employed and 40 per cent are students.

The existing site’s discussion forum has 65,000 registered users and 23,000 users receive its e-mail newsletter, the company said.

Following a strategic review last year, Natmag has been following a two-track digital strategy, with some titles, like Men’s Health and Runner’s World, being run by integrated teams across print and online. Hearst Digital, meanwhile, concentrates on five more independently-run sites, including Cosmopolitan.co.uk.

The next site in the pipeline for Hearst Digital’s is AllAboutYou.com, which will be relaunched as a portal for women over 35, pooling content from six NatMag print titles: She, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Coast, House Beautiful and Prima.

AllAboutYou is slated to be the first Hearst Digital site to use community functionality using software from Pluck. The Pluck software, which is expected to allow Hearst to integrate its sites with social networking features, will also be used on a relaunched version of young women’s portal GetLippy before being added to the relaunched Cosmopolitan site later this year.

Hearst Digital will add a “wellness” section to to its health website NetDoctor.co.uk using material from Zest magazine.

For interviews with NatMag chief executive Duncan Edwards and Hearst Digital MD Alex Ballantyne, see Press Gazette magazine this Thursday.

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