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

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.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise

Undergraduates will be able to study beatboxing and performance poetry at one of Europe’s leading conservatoires for the first time, after the Guildhall School of Music and Drama revealed plans for a “groundbreaking” degree course.

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
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

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Head of Marketing - London

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketing Manager / Dig...

Brand Manager / Account Manager

£28 - 36k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Brand Manager / Senior Account Manager is nee...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week