People is a weekly magazine published in the United States that focuses on celebrity news and human interest topics. Meredith Corporation is the publisher. People had the highest viewership of any American magazine in 2009, with 46.6 million people reading it, but it slipped to second place in 2018 as its circulation dropped to 35.9 million. In 2011, People had the greatest advertising income of any American magazine, with $997 million in revenue.
It had a circulation of 3.75 million copies in 2006, with a revenue forecast of $1.5 billion. Advertising Age recognized it as “Magazine of the Year” in October 2005 for editorial, circulation, and advertising quality. In October 2006, People was named sixth on Advertising Age’s annual “A-list” and third on Adweek’s “Brand Blazers” list.
People.com is a website dedicated to celebrity news and human interest topics.
The website set a new record in February 2015, with 72 million unique visits.
People are most recognized for recognizing the “World’s Most Beautiful,” “Best & Worst Dressed,” and “Sexiest Man Alive” in annual special editions. The magazine’s headquarters are in New York City, while editorial offices are located in Los Angeles and London.
In 2006, it shuttered offices in Austin, Miami, and Chicago due to financial constraints.
Andrew Heiskell, Time Inc.’s chief executive officer at the time and the previous publisher of the weekly Life magazine, is credited with the idea for People. Richard Stolley, a former assistant managing editor at Life and the journalist who obtained the Zapruder film of the John F. Kennedy murder for Time Inc. in 1963, was the founding managing editor of People. Richard J. “Dick” Durrell, another Time Inc. veteran, was People’s first publisher.
Stolley described the publication as “returning to the individuals who are making the news, as well as those who are caught up in it or deserve to be. Our primary emphasis is on individuals rather than ideas.” Stolley’s near-religious commitment to keeping the magazine human-centered was a big part of its early success. Despite the fact that Time Inc. invested an estimated $40 million in the project, the magazine is claimed to have just broken even 18 months after its launch on February 25, 1974.
The magazine was initially only available on newsstands and in supermarkets. To ensure that the magazine was published every week, founding staff members slept on the floor of their offices two or three nights a week and strictly restricted any non-essential outside events.
The cover of the first issue for the week ending March 4, 1974, featured actress Mia Farrow, who was then starring in the film The Great Gatsby. Gloria Vanderbilt, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and the spouses of US Vietnam troops who were MIA were all featured in the edition. Apart from the cover, the magazine was produced in black and white. The cover price was 35 cents in the beginning (equal to $1.84 in 2020).
Stolley’s cover story formula, which became one of the most famous phrases in magazine history, was as follows: “It is preferable to be young then to be old. It’s preferable to be beautiful than to be ugly. It is preferable to be wealthy than be impoverished. Music is inferior to television. Music is superior to movies. Sports are inferior to movies. Anything is preferable than politics.”
Other editors, writers, photographers, and picture editors from Life magazine, which had ended publishing only 13 months before, formed the backbone of the modest founding editorial staff. This group included managing editor Stolley, senior editors Hal Wingo (father of ESPN anchor Trey Wingo), Sam Angeloff (the founding managing editor of Us magazine), and Robert Emmett Ginna (later a film producer); writers James Watters (a theater reviewer) and Ronald B. Scott (later a biographer of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney); and former Time senior editor Richard Burgheim (later the founder of Time’s ill-fated cable television magazine View). Many notable Life photographers, including veterans Alfred Eisenstaedt and Gjon Mili, as well as emerging talents Co Rentmeester, David Burnett, and Bill Eppridge, contributed to the publication. Editors and writers Ross Drake, Ralph Novak, Bina Bernard, James Jerome, Sally Moore, Mary Vespa, Lee Wohlfert, Joyce Wansley, Curt Davis, Clare Crawford-Mason, and Jed Horne, later an editor at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, were among the original editorial staff members.
Time Inc. created People en Espaol, a Spanish-language magazine, in 1996. The new publication arose when a 1995 edition of the original magazine was issued with two unique covers, one portraying the deceased Tejano singer Selena and the other showcasing the successful television series Friends; the Selena cover sold out while the other did not, according to the firm. Although the initial plan was for half of the material to be Spanish-language translations of stories from the English magazine, People en Espaol eventually became wholly original.
In 2002, People launched People Stylewatch, a newsstand extension of its Stylewatch column that focuses on celebrity style, fashion, and beauty. The frequency of People Stylewatch was expanded to ten times per year in 2007 due to its success. [requires citation] People Stylewatch was renamed PeopleStyle in the spring of 2017. In late 2017, it was revealed that PeopleStyle would no longer be published in print and would instead be a digital-only magazine.
Because there was already a magazine with the same name in Australia, the translated edition of People is called Who. Since 2010, Greece has produced the worldwide version of People.
On July 26, 2013, the Outlook Group announced that the Indian version of People, which had been published since 2008, will be discontinued.
People created the People/Entertainment Weekly Network in September 2016 in conjunction with Entertainment Weekly. In September 2017, PeopleTV was renamed as a “free, ad-supported online-video network… covering celebrities, pop culture, lifestyle, and human-interest topics.”
LaTavia Roberson got into a spat with People in December 2016 after claiming they misquoted and distorted her interview online.
In 2017, Meredith bought Time Inc., which included People. Jess Cagle, the editor of People magazine, announced his resignation in 2019. Later, deputy editor Dan Wakeford, who formerly worked for In Touch Weekly, was named as his replacement.
In a $2.7 billion agreement on October 6, 2021, Dotdash bought People, which included Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, and Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal.