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People

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people.com

You know, sometimes simply watching our favorite actors and actresses playing their roles in movies and television shows just isn’t enough. What are we to do when the series ends, when the credits roll, and we have to wait another year (maybe more) before seeing our idols again? For those of us who are obsessed with binging endless content and keeping in the loop with our celebrity crushes, we need a dependable source of entertainment news.

And Lord knows that there are plenty of sources for entertainment news. There is definitely no shortage on this front. In fact, there are so many entertainment news sites out there, it can be hard to figure out which one to choose! Of course, you don’t ever have to choose just one. But, still, it never hurts to have a default, a go-to source, for getting the latest scoop in the entertainment industry. So, which one is right for you?

Well, in order to figure that out, first you have to ask yourself a few questions. What is it, for instance, that you are looking for specifically in an entertainment news site? Do you want primarily film news? Want to stay on top of the beat in the music industry? Are you into celebrity gossip? Are you more of a Netflix binger who needs to know what shows are being made and released, and when?

Before you can determine which entertainment news outlet will be the right choice for you, you have to first figure out what you hope to get out of such a site in the first place … once you answer that question, the decision becomes a simple process of learning which sites privilege your preferred kind of content and which ones do not. Which is precisely what I am here to help with.

Today, we will take a look at one of the staples of the entertainment news genre. One of the longest-running outlets of celebrity news. A true institution. Yes, I am talking about People. This is one of those rare sites that began by dominating 20th-century print media and has shown no signs of slowing down as we wade well into the 21st century – they have managed to remain relevant upon crossing over from a primarily print magazine to an online news website. Is People the right entertainment news outlet for you, though? Well, let’s take a deeper look and find out, shall we?

History

The idea for People magazine has often been attributed to a man named Andrew Heiskell. Heiskell is, in addition to being credited for conceptualizing People, the former CEO of Time Inc. as well as the previous publisher of Life magazine. Heiskell was not alone in founding People either, he was among great journalistic company. The founding editor-in-chief of the magazine, for instance, was Richard B. “Dick” Stolley, who famously acquired the Zapruder tape of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The vision, as far as Stolley was concerned, for People magazine was to be a publication which would be “…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.” Thus, People magazine was rather aptly named it would seem. This formula, it turned out, was something that the masses gravitated toward with ease. People found rapid and meteoric success. Although Time Inc. bolstered the venture with an initial $40 million investment, People magazine has been said to have broken even on that investment within its first 18 months. The magazine debuted in March of 1974.

People only continued to grow, both in popularity and in offerings. In 1996, for instance, People began offering a Spanish language version of the magazine, People en Espanol. But it wasn’t only the language that differed with the Hispanic version of the magazine, the content did as well, catering more closely to celebrities and people of interest in Latin countries.

In 2002, the magazine also introduced another branch of its publication: People Stylewatch. This supplementary periodical was focused on, instead of the people making the news, specifically fashion, celebrity style, and beauty. It was yet another smashing success. However, it is no longer published in print. It can, however, still be found online.

There have been several other iterations of People put into circulation. In addition to the Hispanic version of the magazine, they have also branched into the Australian market with Who magazine, the youth market with Teen People, and, more recently, the dot-com market with People.com. Although People magazine is still published once a month, far and away the easiest way to access People’s content is through their stylish and surprisingly understated website.

Design

That is the first thing that catches my attention when I look at people.com. How minimalistic it is, design-wise. Maybe this is not as big of a surprise for others, seeing as People magazine has always had a smart and sharp sense of style to it. I suppose it is most surprising given the celebrity gossipy content (more on that in a bit). Most entertainment news sites of this nature tend to be loud, flashy, and unnecessarily in your face. People, however, are classy, elegantly designed.

On top of that, it is extremely easy to use and navigate. Right off the bat, everyone will be a pro at browsing this site. This is a prime example of intuitive site design. It is very straight-forward – a bunch of articles to choose from, as most news sites are formatted, in the center matter of the page; and then a quick and breezy site menu bar to explore by section: News, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Royals, Shopping, People TV. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Content

This is another win for People.com, in my opinion, the content. Well, for the most part. Let’s say that, at least in terms of quantity, this is a huge win for People. There is a ton of content here. Plus, the types of content offered span text, image, and video. In fact, People TV even offers full-length episodes of original entertainment news shows completely free of charge. How many entertainment news sites can say that they offer the same? Spoiler alert: not many.

In addition to that, there are countless articles here. The site is constantly and meticulously updated. If something happens worth knowing about in the world of pop entertainment, People has the scoop seconds or minutes later.

What I don’t care about People’s content is how much of it seems to be lacking in substance. What started as a magazine of thoughtful profiles and insights into the people who are making the news has fallen far, far from grace, I’m afraid. The majority of what People.com offers today seems more like a celebrity gossip rag than it does actual journalism.

I have a feeling that Richard Stolley, had he any say these days in the goings-on of People, would not stand for this sort of vapid and superficial content. However, if gossip is your thing, rejoice. If it’s not, perhaps the print magazine would be a better avenue for you when it comes to People – it might have some of its integrity still intact.

Desktop and Mobile Experience

As I have said before, I love the design of People. It is subtle and professional, easy to use. That goes for the in-browser desktop experience, as well as the in-browser mobile experience. No matter what device you are using, People.com offers an excellent experience.

There is also a People app that is worth checking out in case you want to take your reading on the go. It is streamlined, easier to browse on a smartphone, and also pretty well designed. Not quite as well designed as the site itself, but close. It has received an average rating o 4.3 stars on the Apple App Store.

Pricing and Plans

People.com is a freemium site. As far as I can tell, there is no paywall. Enjoy as many People articles as you like without paying a dime. However, there are a few subscription options as well. Upgrade to Premium (no pricing information available), for example, in order to archive your favorite articles and follow your favorite tags. Also, enjoy exclusive content and shopping deals. Plus, you can always subscribe to the hard copy magazine the old-fashioned way (around $89.99 a year, on average … the price is always changing).

Suggestions that I have for People

Well, firstly, I would love to see People offering up some more substantial content. Especially in this day and age when such meaningful and thought-provoking content is so rare. I would also like to see People’s premium service offer a little more incentive. Just a few extra articles and the ability to bookmark pieces does not seem like enough to me.

Likes & Hates:
Tons of content/content types
Constantly updated news
Lots of celebrity coverage
People TV
Price of magazine subscription
Somewhat vapid content
Premium does not offer much