Be honest — you’ve probably never given to much thought as to why you buy a magazine. You’re bored, waiting for the checkout girl to ring up your shampoo and conditioner and something catches your eye. But, if you’ve come any where near the media industry, you’re well aware that the something is in fact the carefully calculated outcome of countless hours spent result agonizing over who and what is going to prompt you to throw the glossy onto the counter along with that bottle o’ Pantene.
Needless to say, it’s not a something the industry takes lightly — especially nowadays when bloggers earn front row billing alongside editors, celebrity culture is on the outs, and magazine’s have been left to languish in a cultural landscape that hasn’t had a paper cut in years. So what to do until Steve Jobs and his mock turtleneck arrive to chariot the industry to iPad nirvana?
Well, you can look past the typical celebs and pin your last editorial chip on underaged and under-covered starlets like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus or the cast of Gossip Girl. “One reason we had a nice sale with Taylor Swift was that you hadn’t seen her on a million magazine covers before and there was actually the hope that ‘Oh my God! I might actually learn something new,” explained Glamour’s Cindi Leive.
Who doesn’t love learning new things? But, that doesn’t really help to explain the recent success of magazines like PeopleWatch and InStyle who, last time we checked, were doing pretty well and teaching us absolutely nothing — besides where Whitney Port got her blouse. Plus, Miley, Taylor, and company haven’t had their shortage of media coverage –even if it didn’t carry the Conde Naststamp of approval.
Rather than an just an issue of age (though certainly having a slew of teenagers throwing their allowances behind an issue of Elle doesn’t hurt), we think it’s part of a larger trend of accessibility. In short, a Miley Cyrus — with her backwoods twang and line of cancerous Wal-Mart wares — or even a Lauren Conrad — who, as Jezebel points out, was one of Cosmo‘s biggest seller’s last year — resonate with the girl that feels too old for 17, too young for Vanity Fair, and finds Nylon’s hipster lean to be a little too cool. Think Glee as opposed to Grizzly Bear.
Even Anna Wintour — poster girl for all things old media and kitten-heeled — seems to be infringing on Amy Astley’s teen territory by tapping Blake Lively to cover her mature glossy for the second time this month.
So before you check-out, what does this mean? Basically, if you’re Tiger Beat, you better watch your back. Because, Conde Nast is coming and will stop at nothing in in pursuit of your lucrative Target (or is that Tarjay?) market.
Stefano forget Gaga, might we suggest Justin Beiber for W?