Emap shuts down Smash Hits

By Colin Crummy

Emap has closed iconic teen title Smash Hits blaming changing teen tastes, the rise in digital media and a dive in advertising revenue.

The last edition of the loss making music magazine will be published on February 13. The closure affects 10 Emap staff, “most” of whom the company hopes to relocate within the group. The brand will continue as a digital radio station and music TV channel.

Since it started in 1978, Smash Hits has been the first port of call for music hungry teens. But the rise of the internet, mobile phones and more adult orientated celebrity gossip titles have contributed to a sharp decline in readership.

In the last round of ABCs, the title sold 120,541 copies per fortnightly issue. In its 1980s heyday, it regularly sold 500,00.

Advertising revenue has fallen dramatically across the teen entertainment magazine market in recent years. The loss of food and drink advertising, following government warnings about advertising junk food, is said to have contributed to the decline. Ad revenues at Smash Hits! have almost halved in the last three years.

The title has been as big a launchpad for the journalists who worked on it, as the pop stars featured. Its first editor, Nick Logan went on to found The Face two years later. Word magazine’s David Hepworth and Mark Ellen were both editors in the 80s. Other alumni included Heat editor Mark Frith, TV presenter Kate Thornton and Neil Tennant, former assistant editor, who launched his own pop career with the Pet Shop Boys while at the title.

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