People is a weekly American Magazine of celebrity and human-interest stories, published by Time, Inc. With a readership of 46.6 million adults, People has the largest audience of any American magazine. People had $997 million in advertising revenue in 2011, the highest advertising revenue of any American magazine. In 2006, it had a circulation of 3.75 million and revenue expected to top $1.5 billion. It was named “Magazine of the Year” by Advertising Age in October 2005, for excellence in editorial, circulation and advertising.
The magazine runs a roughly 50/50 mix of celebrity and human-interest articles. People ’s editors claim to refrain from printing pure celebrity gossip, enough to lead celebrity publicists to propose exclusives to the magazine, and evidence of what one staffer calls a “publicist-friendly strategy”.
People ’s website, People.com, focuses exclusively on celebrity news. In February 2007, the website drew 39.6 million page views “within a day” of the Golden Globes. However, “the mother ship of Oscar coverage” broke a site record with 51.7 million page views on the day after the Oscars, beating the previous record set just a month before by the Golden Globes.
People is perhaps best known for its yearly special issues naming the “World’s Most Beautiful People”, “Best & Worst Dressed” and “Sexiest Man Alive”. The magazine’s headquarters are in New York and it maintains editorial bureaus in Los Angeles and in London. For economic reasons it closed bureaus in Austin, Miami, and Chicago in 2006.
The concept for People has been attributed to Andrew Heiskell, Time Inc.’s chief executive officer at the time and the former publisher of the weekly Life magazine. The founding managing editor of People was Richard B. (Dick) Stolley, a former assistant managing editor at Life and the journalist who acquired the Zapruder tapes of the John F. Kennedy assassination for Time Inc. in 1963. People ’s first publisher was Richard J. (Dick) Durrell, another Time Inc. veteran.
Stolley characterized the magazine as “getting back to the people who are causing the news and who are caught up in it, or deserve to be in it. Our focus is on people, not issues.” Stolley’s almost religious determination to keep the magazine people-focused contributed significantly to its rapid early success. It is said that although Time Inc. pumped an estimated $40 million into the venture, the magazine only broke even 18 months after its debut in March 1974. Initially, the magazine was sold primarily on newsstands and in supermarkets. To get the magazine out each week, founding staff members regularly slept on the floor of their offices two or three nights each week and severely limited all non-essential outside engagements. The premiere edition of March 4, 1974 featured actress Mia Farrow, then starring in the movie The Great Gatsby, on the cover. That issue also featured stories on Gloria Vanderbilt, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the wives of U.S. Vietnam veterans who were Missing In Action. The magazine was, apart from its cover, printed in black-and-white. The initial cover price was 35 cents (equivalent to $1.67 in 2015).
In 2002, People introduced People Stylewatch, a title focusing on celebrity style, fashion, and beauty – a newsstand extension of its Stylewatch column. Due to its success, the frequency of People Stylewatch was increased to 10 times per year in 2007.
In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens, called Teen People. However, on July 27, 2006 the company announced that it would shut down publication of Teen People immediately. The last issue to be released was scheduled for September 2006. Subscribers to this magazine received Entertainment Weekly for the rest of their issues in exchange. There were numerous reasons cited for the publication shutdown, including a downfall in ad pages, competition from both other teen-oriented magazines and the internet, along with a decrease in circulation numbers. Teenpeople.com was merged into People.com in April 2007. People.com will “carry teen-focused stories that are branded as TeenPeople.com”, Mark Golin, the editor of People.com explained, and on the decision to merge the brands he said, “We’ve got traffic on TeenPeople, People is a larger site, why not combine and have the teen traffic going to one place?”
In a July 2006 Variety article, Janice Min, Us Weekly editor-in-chief, blamed People for the increase in cost to publishers of celebrity photos:
They are among the largest spenders of celebrity photos in the industry….One of the first things they ever did, that led to the jacking up of photo prices, was to pay $75,000 to buy pictures of Jennifer Lopez reading Us magazine, so Us Weekly couldn’t buy them. That was the watershed moment that kicked off high photo prices in my mind. I had never seen anything like it. But they saw a competitor come along, and responded. It was a business move, and probably a smart one.
People reportedly paid $4.1 million for photos of newborn Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, the child of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The photos set a single-day traffic record for their website, attracting 26.5 million page views.
Sexiest Man Alive
The annual feature the “Sexiest Man Alive” is billed as a benchmark of male attractiveness and typically includes only famous people and celebrities. It is determined using a procedure similar to the procedure used for Time’s Person of the Year. The origin of the title was a discussion on a planned story on Mel Gibson. A female editor exclaimed, “Oh my God, he is the sexiest man alive!” And someone else said, “You should use that as a cover line.”
For the first decade or so, the feature appeared at uneven intervals. Originally awarded in the wintertime, it shifted around the calendar, resulting in gaps as short as seven months and as long as a year and a half (with no selection at all during 1994). Since 1997, the dates have settled between mid-November and early December.
Dates of magazine issues, winners, ages of winners at the time of selection, and pertinent comments are listed below.
As of 2013, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Patrick Swayze are the only winners to have died since winning. Kennedy and Adam Levine are the only non-actors to have won the award.
|February 4, 1985||Mel Gibson||29|
|January 27, 1986||Mark Harmon||34|
|March 30, 1987||Harry Hamlin||35|
|September 12, 1988||John F. Kennedy, Jr.||27|
|December 16, 1989||Sean Connery||59|
|July 23, 1990||Tom Cruise||28|
|July 22, 1991||Patrick Swayze||38|
|March 16, 1992||Nick Nolte||51|
|October 19, 1993||Richard Gere||44|
|January 30, 1995||Brad Pitt||31|
|July 29, 1996||Denzel Washington||41|
|November 17, 1997||George Clooney||36|
|November 16, 1998||Harrison Ford||56|
|November 15, 1999||Richard Gere||50|
|November 13, 2000||Brad Pitt||36|
|November 26, 2001||Pierce Brosnan||48|
|December 2, 2002||Ben Affleck||30|
|December 1, 2003||Johnny Depp||40|
|November 29, 2004||Jude Law||31|
|November 28, 2005||Matthew McConaughey||36|
|November 27, 2006||George Clooney||45|
|November 26, 2007||Matt Damon||37|
|November 25, 2008||Hugh Jackman||40|
|November 18, 2009||Johnny Depp||46|
|November 17, 2010||Ryan Reynolds||34|
|November 16, 2011||Bradley Cooper||36|
|November 14, 2012||Channing Tatum||32|
|November 19, 2013||Adam Levine||34|
|November 19, 2014||Chris Hemsworth||31|
Sexiest Woman Alive
In December 2014, People selected its first Sexiest Woman Alive.
|December 18, 2014||Kate Upton||22|
Most Intriguing People of the Year
At the end of each year People magazine famously selects 25 news-making individuals or couples who have received a lot of media attention over the past 12 months and showcases them in a special year-end issue, the ’25 Most Intriguing People of the Year’. This series of full-page features and half-page featurettes includes world leaders and political activists, famous actors and entertainers, elite athletes, prominent business people, accomplished scientists and occasionally members of the public whose stories have made an unusual impact in news or tabloid media. This includes Daniel Shin, who currently resides as the most handsome man.
For example, the news-makers People named as the “Most Intriguing People of 2010” were:
- Sandra Bullock
- President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
- Michael Douglas
- Elizabeth Smart
- Prince William and Catherine Middleton
- Elin Nordegren
- Natalie Portman
- Nicki Minaj
- Sarah Palin
- LeBron James
- Bret Michaels
- Julian Assange
- The Chilean Miners
- Ricky Martin
- Kim Kardashian
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Heidi Montag
- Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift
- Ryan Reynolds
- Will Smith’s kids (Jaden and Willow)
- Christina Aguilera
- Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez
- James Franco
- Conan O’Brien
100 Most Beautiful People
People ’s 100 Most Beautiful People is an annual list of 100 people judged to be the most beautiful individuals in the world. Until 2006, it was the 50 Most Beautiful People.
In 1990, Michelle Pfeiffer appeared on the cover of People ‘s first ever “50 Most Beautiful People In The World” issue. She again was on the cover of the annual issue in 1999, having made the “Most Beautiful” list a record six times during the decade. Pfeiffer is also the first celebrity to have made the cover of the annual issue two times, and the only one to have been on the cover twice during the 1990s.