Where Did Young Magazine Readers Go?

This demo wants their info in a sharable, digital form

The early aughts were something of a golden age for magazines aimed at teens and preteens: Elle Girl, YM, Teen People, Cosmo Girl, Teen. But those titles have since folded against a shrinking ad market, competition from celebrity weeklies and the Web. The lack of replacement products suggests the remaining leading young women’s titles seem to have given up on the demo—despite research showing that half of kids ages 8-12 still read print magazines.

After Teen People closed in 2006, People turned to digital media and themed issues to appeal to tweens.

“Unlike other markets that have a longer lifespan, the teen market evolves fast,” said Paul Caine, Time Inc.’s evp and chief revenue officer and onetime publisher of Teen People. “This current generation is best served with mobile, digital products and newsstand special issues.” Amy Astley, Teen Vogue’s editor in chief, said, “There’s always room for more creativity and more voices, but it’s easier to do that digitally. It’s incredibly hard and expensive to compete [in print].”

Of course, it could be that kids are starting to bypass iconic media brands altogether. Researcher MRY (formerly Mr Youth) noted the shift. Tweens are curating and sharing their own styles online via sites like Polyvore and Pinterest, said Nick Fuller, MRY’s senior director of marketing. 

“Tweens no longer need to look up to celebrities or read magazines to know what's 'hot' in fashion,” he said. "Social media allows brands to reach beyond the pages of a magazine and have real conversations through real people, and influencers that teens aspire to be like."

View more from Adweek's Tween Issue