BBC and Emap go head to head with teen launches

It’s Hot and Sneak: out to breath life into the depressed teenage sector

BBC Magazines and Emap will battle it out on the news-stands at the end of the month when each launches a celebrity magazine for teenagers.

The BBC has unveiled the cover of new monthly It’s Hot! and announced a promotional tie-up with the Sunday Mirror. Meanwhile, Emap is also courting publicity for its ‘junior Heat’, the weekly Sneak.

Staff at It’s Hot! have had their work cut out in what is said to be one of the biggest pre-launch sampling campaigns to date at the BBC. Editor Peter Hart and his team produced two 16-page preview editions Ð one was sent out free with Girl Talk and Top of The Pops magazines and the other was delivered nationwide with more than 2.2m copies of the Sunday Mirror.

"It has been pretty frantic as we had to have our eyes on three or four magazines at once," said Jeremy Mark, editor-in-chief.

Journalists at Sneak have produced a special 36-page sampler edition – half the planned pagination of the first issue. A number of copies were distributed free with J17 this week and further copies will be sent out with Smash! Hits later this month.

The first issue of It’s Hot! will debut on 16 April with a £1.80 cover price and carrying a free covermounted alarm clock. Sneak will hit news-stands on 30 April, priced 90p.

Although both magazines will cover celebrities in depth, Mark insisted there would not be too much overlap as It’s Hot! will be pitched at readers aged nine to 13, -slightly younger than the core readers of Sneak.

"I think our content will be quite different from what I hear about Sneak," he said. "We do have a large reviews and entertainment section but it is not a gossip magazine. We want to celebrate teenage entertainment and take a fresh new look at celebrities and how we can present them," he told Press Gazette.

Among the regular features will be an ‘official’ comic strip based on EastEnders, for which staff are expected to work closely with the programme makers.

Sneak will carry the strapline "Gossip to go" and will feature a regular news spread; a "Celebrity Cringe" section with "true life embarrassing blunders"; "Blinging and Minging", a guide to what’s in and out; and an exposŽ from stars’ private photo albums entitled "The Story Behind The Picture".

Both publishers will be trying to breathe life into the teenage entertainment sector which saw a 21.3 per cent decline in the latest ABCs and suffered the closure of Star: The Celebrity Magazine. Mark, who edited Star, said the sampling campaign for It’s Hot! would help create public awareness of the magazine, something Star lacked.


By Ruth Addicott

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