People is an American weekly 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.[4] People had $997 million in advertising revenue in 2011, the highest advertising revenue of any American magazine.[5] In 2006, it had a circulation of 3.75 million and revenue expected to top $1.5 billion.[6] It was named "Magazine of the Year" by Advertising Age in October 2005, for excellence in editorial, circulation and advertising.[7] People ranked #6 on Advertising Age's annual "A-list" and #3 on Adweek's "Brand Blazers" list in October 2006.

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".[6]

People's website, People.com, focuses on celebrity news and human interest stories.[7] In February 2015, the website broke a new record: 72 million unique visitors.[8]

People is perhaps best known for its yearly special issues naming the "World's Most Beautiful," "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.[6][7]

History

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."[9] 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 for the week ending 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.[6] The magazine was, apart from its cover, printed in black-and-white. The initial cover price was 35 cents (equivalent to $1.68 in 2015).

The core of the small founding editorial team included other editors, writers, photographers and photo editors from Life magazine, which had ceased publication just 13 months earlier. 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 producer of films); writers James Watters (a theater reviewer) and Ronald B. Scott (later a biographer of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney); former Time senior editor Richard Burgheim (later the founder of Time's ill-fated cable television magazine View); Chief of Photography, a Life photographer, John Loengard, to be succeeded by John Dominus, a noteworthy Life staff photographer; and design artist Bernard Waber, author and illustrator of the Lyle The Crocodile book series for children. Many of the noteworthy Life photographers contributed to the magazine as well, including legends Alfred Eisenstaedt and Gjon Mili and rising stars Co Rentmeester, David Burnett and Bill Eppridge. Other members of the first editorial staff included editors and writers: Ross Drake, Ralph Novak, Bina Bernard, James Jerome, Sally Moore, Mary Vespa, Lee Wohlfert, Joy Wansley, Curt Davis, Clare Crawford-Mason,[2] and Jed Horne, later an editor of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

In 1996, Time Inc. launched a Spanish-language magazine entitled People en Español. The company has said that the new publication emerged after a 1995 issue of the original magazine was distributed with two distinct covers, one featuring the slain Tejano singer Selena and the other featuring the hit television series Friends; the Selena cover sold out while the other did not.[2] Although the original idea was that Spanish-language translations of articles from the English magazine would comprise half the content, People en Español over time came to have entirely original content.

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 Australia, the localized version of People is titled Who because of a pre-existing lad's mag published under the title People. The international edition of People has been published in Greece since 2010.

On July 26, 2013, Outlook Group announced that it was closing down the Indian edition of People, which began publication in 2008.[2][2]

Teen People

In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens, called Teen People.[2] 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.[2] 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.[16] 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?"[17]

Competition for celebrity photos

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.[6]

People reportedly paid $4.1 million for photos of newborn Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, the child of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.[6] The photos set a single-day traffic record for their website, attracting 26.5 million page views.[6]

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. Someone exclaimed, "Oh my God, he is the sexiest man alive!" And someone else said, "You should use that as a cover line."[2]

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 2016, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Patrick Swayze are the only winners to have died since winning. Kennedy, Adam Levine and David Beckham are the only non-actors to have won the award.

YearChoiceAge
February 4, 1985Mel Gibson29
January 27, 1986Mark Harmon[2]34
March 30, 1987Harry Hamlin35
September 12, 1988John F. Kennedy, Jr.27
December 16, 1989Sean Connery59
July 23, 1990Tom Cruise28
July 22, 1991Patrick Swayze38
March 16, 1992Nick Nolte51
October 19, 1993Richard Gere (1) and Cindy Crawford[3]44
January 30, 1995Brad Pitt (1)31
July 29, 1996Denzel Washington41
November 17, 1997George Clooney (1)36
November 16, 1998Harrison Ford56
November 15, 1999Richard Gere (2)50
November 13, 2000Brad Pitt (2)36
November 26, 2001Pierce Brosnan48
December 2, 2002Ben Affleck30
December 1, 2003Johnny Depp (1)40
November 29, 2004Jude Law31
November 28, 2005Matthew McConaughey36
November 27, 2006George Clooney (2)45
November 26, 2007Matt Damon37
November 25, 2008Hugh Jackman40
November 18, 2009Johnny Depp (2)46
November 17, 2010Ryan Reynolds34
November 16, 2011Bradley Cooper[3]36
November 14, 2012Channing Tatum[3]32
November 19, 2013Adam Levine[24]34
November 19, 2014Chris Hemsworth[3]31
November 17, 2015David Beckham[3]40

Sexiest Woman Alive

In December 2014, People selected its first Sexiest Woman Alive.[27]

YearChoiceAge
December 18, 2014Kate Upton[27]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.

For example, the news-makers People named as the "Most Intriguing People of 2010" were:

  1. Sandra Bullock
  2. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
  3. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
  4. Michael Douglas
  5. Elizabeth Smart
  6. Prince William and Catherine Middleton
  7. Elin Nordegren
  8. Natalie Portman
  9. Nicki Minaj
  10. Sarah Palin
  11. LeBron James
  12. Bret Michaels
  13. Julian Assange
  14. The Chilean Miners
  15. Ricky Martin
  16. Kim Kardashian
  17. Mark Zuckerberg
  18. Heidi Montag
  19. Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift
  20. Ryan Reynolds
  21. Will Smith's kids (Jaden and Willow)
  22. Christina Aguilera
  23. Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez
  24. James Franco
  25. 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.[3] Julia Roberts currently holds the record for making the cover the most times with a total of 4.

Number Ones of Most Beautiful People

YearNameAge
June 1, 1990Michelle Pfeiffer (1)32
June 7, 1991Julia Roberts (1)23
May 4, 1992Jodie Foster29
May 3, 1993Cindy Crawford27
May 8, 1994Meg Ryan32
May 8, 1995Courteney Cox30
May 8, 1996Mel Gibson40
May 12, 1997Tom Cruise34
May 12, 1998Leonardo DiCaprio23
May 14, 1999Michelle Pfeiffer (2)41
May 8, 2000Julia Roberts (2)32
May 14, 2001Catherine Zeta-Jones31
May 13, 2002Nicole Kidman34
May 12, 2003Halle Berry36
May 30, 2004Jennifer Aniston (1)35
May 8, 2005Julia Roberts (3)37
April 28, 2006Angelina Jolie30
April 27, 2007Drew Barrymore32
May 2, 2008Kate Hudson29
May 11, 2009Christina Applegate37
April 30, 2010Julia Roberts (4)42
April 15, 2011Jennifer Lopez41
April 27, 2012Beyoncé Knowles30
April 26, 2013Gwyneth Paltrow40
May 5, 2014Lupita Nyong'o31
April 24, 2015Sandra Bullock50
April 20, 2016Jennifer Aniston (2)47