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Time Inc. closes
sagging Teen People


The once-hot spinoff was losing advertisers

Jul 26, 2006

Back six years ago, before the ad economy melted, magazine people were fond of saying there could be no such thing as too many teen magazines. Young girls consumed each new title that came along.

That thinking was based in part on the success of Teen People, launched in 1998 as the first of a new breed of titles that offered a sassier edge in its coverage of teen culture.

Yesterday, Time Inc. folded Teen People.

In its death, Teen People became in some ways the victim of its own success, spurring a rash of other new-generation teen titles, such as Teen Vogue and Elle Girl, to a point were the teen category did in fact become overcrowded. Its closing follows that of Elle Girl in April and YM, once the largest teen title, in 2004.

But Teen People also fell victim to the internet, which consumes the hours of girls the way print magazines once did, and to the explosion of younger-skewing celebrity titles that did not exist even several years ago. With their weekly frequencies, they command checkout lines with fresh celeb news. As a monthly, Teen People was severely dated the day it came out.

Teen People's September issue, due out in early August, will be its last, though the web site will contine.

The magazine will close with a rate base of 1.45 million, down from a peak circulation of 1.6 million five years ago.

As Teen People lost readers, advertisers also began to move on. Through the first half of the year, ad pages were down nearly 15 percent, to 302.19, and down 28 percent from 418.79 pages in first-half 2003.

Time Inc. executives Ann Moore and John Huey announced the title's closing late yesterday afternoon in a staff memo: "We regret to inform you that we are suspending publication of Teen People magazine." The web site will remain active, and the memo sees the promise of growth there.

"Teen People’s groundbreaking launch in 1998 as a magazine and web site was an industry first, and one that we remain proud of, " the memo goes on to say. "This decision was a difficult one because of the hard work of the magazine’s talented staff and the support of its many loyal readers." The company expects to place many of the title's 50 staffers elsewhere in Time Inc.

Alan Jurmain, media director at Avrett Free Ginsberg, attributes Teen People's closing to a variety of causes, and certainly part of it was the increasing competition from other teen titles.

"Also, I think we really do need to see the photos and ages of Angelina's baby every week, not every month. Celebrity magazines like InTouch and the big People are so compelling in their timelines that it's hurting those issued less frequently."

As others have noted, Jurmain also thinks the adult titles succeed in drawing a lot of teen readers already, making the teen titles seem redundant.



 

Teen magazines
Year to date

Titles

2006
 $s

2005 $s

%
chnge

'06
pages

'05
pages

%
chnge

COSMOGIRL 36,471,880 32,871,735 11.0 363.56 349.71 4.0
ELLE GIRL 19,169,492 12,819,113 49.5 387.14 327.59 18.2
J-14 3,101,673 2,651,284 17.0 94.44 88.83 6.3
SEVENTEEN 47,526,812 45,919,829 3.5 440.09 452.14 -2.7
TEEN PEOPLE 25,681,934 28,561,196 -10.1 302.19 353.14 -14.4
TEEN VOGUE 39,801,341 33,496,671 18.8 486.24 432.41 12.4
  171,753,132 156,319,828  9.9 2,073.66 2,003.82 3.5 

Source: PIB

 



Samantha Melamed is a staff writer for Media Life.




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