NEW YORK Veteran online executive Vince Thompson, who has overseen sales teams at both AOL and Facebook and currently runs his own digital consulting firm, is rolling out Girl2Watch.com, an entertainment Web site and e-newsletter focused on up-and-coming actresses.
The site, which went live this week after a brief beta period, is aimed at entertainment enthusiasts who want to be in the know about upcoming talent on TV, in movies and on the Web — and also want to connect with that talent via social media.
Girl2Watch.com, which will introduce a corresponding newsletter in the coming weeks, features a single “girl to watch” each week of the year. And besides offering pictures and information on that week’s soon-to-be stars, the site encourages users to follow that actress on Twitter and Facebook and even interact with her periodically.
Thompson believes that level of interaction, combined with the idea that Girl2Watch’s subjects are still relative unknowns, will help the site stand out among the endless sea of celebrity-centric Web sites. “There is lots of celebrity content online,” said Thompson, who is the CEO of Media2Watch, the startup behind Girl2Watch. “Most of it is repurposed and most of it is snarky. . . . It’s great that Demi Moore and Paris Hilton are on Twitter. But you are probably not going to be friends with them. Our girls are still accessible to audiences.”
Thompson has installed former HBO and Sony executive Noah Laracy and former Seventeen editor-in-chief Sabrina Weill to lead Girl2Watch’s editorial efforts. During the site’s beta testing period, it has featured actresses such as Web video comic Lisa Nova, Shantel VanSanten of the recent horror hit The Final Destination and Vanessa and Angela Simmons of MTV’s Daddy’s Girl.
On the advertising front, the plan is to focus on custom content packages for brands, rather than traditional banners, according to Thompson. The company has signed Parfum D’cours Body Heat cologne for men as its first sponsor.
Thompson said there are plans in the works for Media2Watch to launch other vertical sites, including a possible venue focused on up-and-coming male acting talent.