Will Teenagers Stay Loyal to a Teen Entertainment Web site?

Kids 9 to 15 now get their own entertainment website—JSYK—created by AOL. For those of you who never got past "lol" and "jsyk" (stands for "just so you know"), which of course is teenspeak for "kindly allow me to present a kernel of truth, my fellow youth!" The site will naturally celebrate all things Miley, Britney, Miranda, Mobile, Potter, Idol, MTV and Disney in the form of news, games, polls and videos.

Of course, teens are a fickle bunch. While millions of teens check out alloy.com regularly, AOL Red, America Online’s earlier teen site, was a disappointment. The "adult magazine for teens" publishing phenomenon (which Teen People dominated in the late '90s and early '00s) has all but evaporated (People ended up absorbing its offspring in 2006). And R-rated movies more and more seem intended for teenagers.

The problem is that teens want to be seen as complete grown ups, so they’ll choose adult media over teen-targeting media nearly every chance they get. Thinking teenagers want or need a teen version of Dancing With the Stars or Sports Illustrated is ridiculous. Twilight-mania notwithstanding, teens enjoy Stephen King, the regular Sports Illustrated, and R-rated movies as much as you or I do.

So, I’m curious to see if JSYK can sustain interest from an audience that changes ring tones every week, or if it will have critics eventually saying "TYS."*

* "Told ya so."

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