Teen People, the spin- off from America’s best-selling celebrity magazine People, and once one of the hottest selling titles in the US, is folding.
The reason? Increased competition and a drop-off in young readers. Also, many teenagers now get a lot of their news on line. It is the third teen title to fold this year. The news of the monthly’s closing took the staff of 50 by surprise although some will be retained to run a Teen People website that will continue. Some of the staff cried – although there is a promise many will be found jobs elsewhere in Time Inc.
When it was started in 1998 the magazine was hailed as “the greatest thing since sliced bread”. But now, in the words of one magazine analyst, Michael Cohen of the NPD Group, bread comes in all different shapes and sizes. Teen People has had difficulty selling ads. For the first six months of this year ads were down 14 per cent. Circulation has also been declining, from a peak of 1.6 million in 2001 to 1.45m according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. News-stand sales were particularly hit – accounting for less than a quarter of its total sales now compared to more than a third in 2003.
Some suggest the magazine has been a victim of the success of celebrity mags, total sales of which have now topped 7,000,000 a week. Publishers of magazines for teenager have to put in more effort, says Don Capell, editor of Capells’ Circulation Report, a magazine which keeps tabs on of the circulation of consumer magazines. “That’s because their base keeps changing” he suggested “Kids sign up for a magazine at 15 but don’t wan’t it at 17,” he told the NY Times. “That means a tremendous turnover. So unless you sell a lot of ads you are in trouble.”
Two other celebrity magazines, Celebrity Living and Elle Girl, both aimed at young adults, folded earlier this year.