Through the Years

The first teen magazine, Seventeen, was established in 1944. With the debut of the teen magazine in the United States, several other teen 'zines appeared and enjoyed popularity, including 'Teen, Teen Machine, YM and Teen. But only Seventeen, YM and Teen had a long-standing reign.

The three ruled the teen magazine industry with a combined 6.3 million readers until the late 1990s when the industry took off. The influx was driven by the largest youth market, referred to as "Echo Boomers," since the "Baby Boomers." There were an estimated 33 million 12- to 19-year-olds, the fastest growing segment of the population. The number of teen mags tripled from around five in 1990 to over 19 in 2000. "Little sister" magazines were popular including Teen People, Teen Vogue, Elle Girl and CosmoGIRL!. The surge caused Seventeen to drop in ad revenues and YM to decline in circulation. Eventually YM folded and Seventeen reclaimed its position as the most popular and widely circulated magazine.


Although popular magazines including Teen People, Elle Girl and Jane recently folded due to advertising and circulation decline, the teen magazine industry continues to flourish with new names popping up. Some analysts have warned that the industry is reaching its peak, while others argue that, as with women's and men's magazines, a crowded industry is fine, especially with the presence of so many niches. Many feel newspapers and magazines in general are threatened by the online world. However, both industries continue to thrive and provide many advantages over online competitors, including portability.

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