Pollack, Medina to bow Website for youth market

Handprint Entertainment founders Jeff Pollack and Benny Medina today are expected to announce plans to launch Thirsty.com in July, a new Netcaster targeting the youth market.

Young online lifestyle venture would be the duo’s first foray on the Internet and will likely leverage Handprint’s young stable of managed clients.

Los Angeles-based management and TV and film production outfit Handprint was an outgrowth of Medina and Pollack’s creation of the hit series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Medina adds his music background to the site, having served as head of A&R for Motown Records and general manager of Warner Bros. music.

Thirsty.com is being funded by a $10 million round of financing from Constellation Ventures and NorthStar Capital. Partners hope to next secure $30 million in a second round.

Watch out, Netizens

Described as a portal, site will target Netizens ages 13 to 22 with updated content and news about all genres of music, extreme sports, wrestling, comic books and technology. Links will send visitors to other sites. All content will be available on handheld devices and cell phones.

Thirsty plans to kickoff its Webcasting efforts in August. Handprint is looking to staff “ej” positions with L.A. kids in middle, high school and college.

Not surprisingly, Thirsty will leverage its exclusive relationship with Handprint for information on celebs and trendsetters. No celebrity partnerships have been inked as of yet.

Besides advertising, retail contracts, referral fees, sponsorships and content syndication to generate revenues, site plans to offer debit cards that kids use on e-commerce offerings.

“We are committed to establishing an emotional relationship with our users through the delivery of the community, content and commerce that reflects their specific passions,” said Pollack, who serves as co-chairman and CEO. “By identifying and reporting on trends relevant to our users, we enable them to enhance their lifestyle choices, online and off.”

Despite its backers, Handprint is entering a crowded and fickle online youth market. Other teen sites such as Alloy Online, Bolt, iTurf and Snowball are trying to stay cool enough to attract users. DEN never found the love.Its staff of 100 includes prexy and chief operating officer Bruce Fabel, who most recently served as chief operating officer of Sega GameWorks and oversaw the expansion of Niketown. Brad Beckerman, senior VP of sales and marketing, was general manager of apparel maker Starter.

Will Griffin serves as senior VP, business development and was the leader of News Corp.’s e-Direct Initiative. Chief technology officer David Harding was senior VP at Prosoft Inet Solutions; Sean Suhl is chief content officer and wired CBS’ Radford lot with Web access and created Webcasts for the Emmys and the Aspen Comedy Festival.

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