No totty, no lurve - but that's the way US teenagers like it ...

"I was raped at the prom, a victim's story"; "One-of-a-kind dresses, win your favourite" - these cover lines could only exist together in the US. They are taken from the April edition of Teen People, the newest title from Time Inc, which looks set to redefine the teenage magazine market in the US, and could have a knock-on effect here.

When it launched in January with a budget of $20m (pounds 12m) the American press drooled. "It sounds like a perfectly targeted idea ... It's going to be a huge success." And they were right. Within two months the expected circulation of 500,000 accelerated to 700,000, and it is currently reaching about 2 million teenagers a month in a boom that has got all America talking.

Its formula - a junior version of the hugely successful weekly magazine People (circulation 3.5 million) that is newsy, gossipy and celebrity- driven and talks about real-life issues in a straightforward, informative way - has transformed the idea of what teens want.

The editorial mix is designed to be one third celebrities and entertainment, one third real teens and one third beauty and fashion - totally different to its British counterparts, which serve up an almost exclusive mix of boys, fashion, beauty and gossip.

"It's a perfect formula for teenagers," explains the managing editor, Christina Ferrari. "I want to entertain them but I also want to show them positive influences and inspire them." Ferrari, 32, a former editor of the rival teen publication YM, has recently been invited onto CBS, CNN and other high-profile TV news programmes intrigued by the magazine's success and keen to tap into the teen psyche.

For, in the US, the teen market is a phenomenon, worth $122bn a year (compared to pounds bn in the UK). The nation's teenage population is projected to grow from 29 million to 35 million by the year 2010, and the teen dollar is credited with having been instrumental in making Titanic the biggest- grossing film of all time and putting its sound track at the top of the charts.

In real flicking-the-pages terms, the main difference between Teen People and rival titles (besides the fact that it is great fun to read) is that it doesn't use models, preferring to use "real teens" or celebrities, and it won't use boys as accessories. Most interestingly - and this could prove very influential - it steers clear of teenage slang because focus groups indicated that US teenagers don't want to read articles in the vocabulary they view as theirs alone. They want, instead, to be spoken to by a friendly but authoritative voice about the matters which concern them. These could be as diverse as teenage pregnancy, `Then & Wow' snaps showing celebrities evolving from childhood to adult stardom, fashion spreads featuring soap stars and the usual pages on gossip, beauty and dating tips.

Marina Gask, editor of Sugar, the UK's best-selling teenage title, with 1.3 million readers a month, thinks the concept is very imaginative. "They have a totally different slant on fashion that could go down well here. For example, having celebrities in fashion shoots is a brilliant idea," she says. "But we would never stop using real models; British girls need something to aspire to." They also like to feel that their "fave mag" is their best friend.

Sugar and its closest rival, Bliss, sell 485,000 and 400,000 issues a month respectively, the former appearing consistently in the top 10 list of biggest-selling consumer publications. Its April issue features the cover line "saucepot search, help us find the new Dan Corsi", and both magazines feature typical teen speak, with slang such as "totty", "lurve", "clobber", "poptastic" and "fave" peppering the chatty editorial.

When both magazines launched they aimed to blend the formula of Australian teen magazines and glossy grown-up British titles, such as Cosmopolitan, Company and Marie Claire. Teen People has similarly adapted an adult formula. So what does this say about teenagers today?

The teenage years are increasingly being seen as a trial run to adulthood, and advertisers - let's not forget about them - are desperate to entice customers who could potentially stay loyal for life. Sure enough Teen People is chock full of carefully targeted advertisements, including junior versions of adult ads, such as ones for milk ("Famous kids wear the milk moustache") and Tampax.

Its success certainly seems assured, and no doubt some of the magazine's ideas will pop up in British titles soon. Unfortunately Teen People isn't available in the UK just yet, but, to add to its other innovations, Teen People claims to be the first magazine to have launched simultaneously in print and on the World Wide Web. More statistics are thrown out in the promotional bumf, where, as a parting gesture, we are told that 75 per cent of teenagers will be on-line by 2002.

So, catch it by keying in Teen People, or go to http://www.pathfinder.com.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing / PR / Social Media Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A thriving online media busines...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?