Hello! says 'goodbye' to celebrity gossip

Glossy magazine targets upmarket readers with lifestyle revamp – but will it last?

Cocking its nose in the air and hitching up its ballgown, Hello! has flounced out of the celebrity party in search of more upscale company.

After 19 years of bumping into upstart rival OK! at glamorous bashes and product launches, Hello! now wants to run with the fashion and lifestyle crowd and hang out with Grazia and Stylist instead.

Hello!'s Spanish owner has asked the publishing industry to re-categorise the title and wants newsagents to no longer position it on the shelves alongside OK!, the cut-price competitor published by Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell.

In a snooty letter to the Audit Bureau of Circulation's Women's Lifestyle & Fashion Sector, Hello! publishing director Charlotte Stockting explained her reasons for moving her title. "It… reflects a move away from the celebrity sector, and it's (sic) obsession with made-up stories, scurrilous gossip, poor production values, real-life stories and low cover price," she sniffed.

Ms Stockting claimed that, unlike its "downmarket" celebrity rivals, Hello! was known for "upmarket editorial, strong lifestyle content, stunning photography and excellent print production".

The move also reflects a shift in the public's appetite for celebrity news. During the past 18 months, the Royal wedding and the escapades of Prince Harry have eclipsed the tantrums of reality TV contestants and glamour models that had previously kept readers enthralled.

The mediocrity of the England football team alongside the heroics of Team GB's Olympic and Paralympic competitors has not helped their WAGs (wives and girlfriends) in negotiating deals for coverage.

This shift appears to be reflected in the comparative sales of the two magazines with Hello! – which has a longer tradition of covering the royals and high society – having narrowed the circulation gap with OK! in the past year from 60,000 to 3,000.

The Hello! decision coincides with the Leveson Inquiry into media standards, much of which has been concerned with criticisms by celebrity figures of their treatment at the hands of paparazzi photographers. "A lot of people perceive the celebrity magazine sector as being on the outside looking in, with long-range intrusive photographs. But our magazine has always been about people inviting us into their homes," said Roger Williams, associate publisher, circulation and distribution, for Hello!

In reality, Hello! is hardly likely to abandon celebrity coverage, which is central to its brand. Yesterday its website was carrying stories about reality boy bands One Direction and The Wanted, the Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh and pop star Rihanna. Williams said the website would start to move away from coverage of TV stars and concentrate on blue bloods and Hollywood A-listers.

One industry insider described the Hello! move as a "gamble" which risked "opening the door to OK! to grab that readership". Another consequence of the Hello! decision will be the end of bidding wars between the two titles which have previously been exploited by celebrity agents to maximise the earnings of their clients. For the WAGs and the C-listers these are worrying times.

From A to Z-list: Famous front pages

"World exclusive: Colleen Rooney turns supermodel in Paris and sets the record straight" From December 2010, Wayne Rooney's wife reveals that she has "much to be thankful for"

"Exclusive photos and interview: Join us backstage, Girls Aloud invite us into their dressing rooms and private lives" From May 2009, Cheryl Cole talks about why she is "hurting every night" and gets publicity for album "3 Words"

"Geri Halliwell invites you to Bluebell's magical second birthday party" From 2008, Ginger Spice calls in the cameras as she blows two candles out with daughter Bluebell

"Jade Goody: Friends and family prepare for the final farewell as tributes flood in" From 2009, the tragedy of the most famous of housemates on Big Brother the show now shown on Richard Desmond's Channel 5 and closely tied to rival OK! magazine

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...


£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: DBA, London,...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform