Teens and Tweens are Hungry…for Print

The younger market offers a unique opportunity for publishers to offer an escape from the digital life.

Any parent of teens or tweens will tell you they are always hungry. And it seems they aren’t just hungry for food. According to Bauer Media Group, this age group is print-hungry too.

“Last year, Bauer Media Group launched five newsstand titles specifically for that [female teen and tween] audience, and added to a portfolio that already included four magazines for that segment of readers,” explains Caysey Welton in MinOnline.

Welton interviewed Bauer’s editorial director Brittany Galla to learn more.

“Without a doubt, 2016 was a big year for us! In one year, our team launched five new magazines: Puzzle Fun, J-14 Decorate, Star-tastic Coloring Book, Girls’ World’s Bake It Up and Dot Dot Dot (on top of working on our four other publications, J-14, QuizFest, Girls’ World and Animal Tales),” Galla explains.

“J-14 Decorate was even selected as one of the 30 Hottest Launches by Samir Husni, which was a big win for us— and a welcomed surprise!” she continues.

Galla credits social media with helping to up their editorial game when it comes to celebrity news.

“Thanks to social media, [our readers] are able to see celebrity photos and entertainment news a lot faster than it was 10 or even five years ago,” she explains. “For this reason, we have to be really on the pulse with what we do, coming up with new and creative ways to present celebrity news in an entertainment-centered title like J-14.”

Another trend Galla sees is growing interest in the world at large, noting “we’re seeing a lot of readers who are passionate about the world around them and what they can do to make it a better place. Whether it’s the current political atmosphere or just a feeling of girl power in general, our readers are really responding to empowering and meaningful content—and that’s really inspiring to see.”

So why do teens love print? Galla thinks it comes down to escaping their highly digitized existence for a while.

“They pay attention to the news and they realize we’re living in a particularly volatile time, but they look to our magazine to be an escape, and we’re proud to provide that. It’s even an escape from the drama in their personal lives,” she notes.

“Bullies might be in their school hallway and on their Snapchat account, but the bully doesn’t follow them when they sit down to read our magazines. So I think they still look for that loyal escape, that friend, and I’m happy we can be that for them.”

And some things, of course, never change for this age group: the simple teenage act of ripping out the poster and tacking it up on the wall.

“Social media is great, but you can’t print out a poster of your favorite celebrity or TV show/movie from your phone that’s going to be good quality,” Galla explains. “Even with a computer and printer it’s still going to be smaller paper size and not great. With our magazines, posters are a huge sell for us that our audience is still very passionate about. They love tearing them out and putting them on their walls or lockers.”

Publishers that truly understand their younger audience can indeed find ways to engage in print and offer a welcome experience that resonates. They’ll eat it up.