Smash Hits! closure set to boost Sneak

Publisher Emap is to focus on boosting the fortunes of teen gossip title Sneak following its axeing of Smash Hits!, transferring ex-Smash Hits! editor Lara Palamoudian over to the weekly, writes Colin Crummy.

Following the demise of Smash Hits!

last month, the likelihood of further closures within the teen entertainment market remains, with ABC figures revealing a further decline across the sector.

In the period from January to December last year — before Smash Hits! went down its own dumper — market-leading monthly Top of the Pops magazine was down 51.9 per cent to 96,576, while Smash Hits! was selling 92,398 copies a fortnight in its final throes.

Palamoudian has been charged with "refreshing" Sneak, which is selling 74,299 copies a week, a fall of 18.3 per cent year on year.

Marcus Rich, managing director of Emap Metro, said: " It narrows into a slightly different zeitgeist [than Smash Hits!].

"It’s got the topicality of a weekly and the business model isn’t built on the need for a covermount."

The Top of the Pops experiment in going bi-monthly showed there was limited growth in the younger teen entertainment market, he added.

Duncan Gray, associate publisher of the BBC’s teen magazines group, said Top of the Pops’s continued slide was in part due to its attempt to go fortnightly, but that the market was in "an obvious downturn".

The magazine has reverted to its normal monthly frequency since January.

He added: "It was sad to see Smash Hits! closing, but as in any market, if your closest rival closes it gives you an increased advantage in your position."

BBC’s pre-teen title It’s Hot fell 36.7 per cent year on year to 64,321 copies a fortnight and Hachette Filipacchi’s TV Hits! sold 63,644, a fall of 38.6 per cent year-on-year.

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