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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
science
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links