Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Britn€¥ $p£ar$

The charming world of the celebrity watcher: According to CNN, never mind the subprime collapse, if Britney sorts her head out, the economy is never going to recover.

Magazine newstand sales in the US increased 1% in the first half of 2007 - might not sound much, but since nobody is meant to be buying old media any more, a rise at all is quite something. And virtually the whole of the increase is down to the celeb rag titles:

"The increase is almost entirely attributable to the growth of the celebrity magazine," said John Harrington, who runs industry consulting agency Harrington Associates.

Any time a magazine can boost newsstand sales past its average, the revenue is booked nearly entirely as profit, Harrington said: "People prints 2.5 million copies and sells about an average of 1.5 million. If they have an issue that sells 2 million, the extra half million goes to the bottom line."

OK!, the sibling of our own OK, is especially excited at the prospects of making a few bob off the mental illness of a young woman:
"An editor's dream is to have a real-life soap opera unraveling in front of you, and Britney provides that every week," said Sarah Ivens, OK!'s U.S. editor. The magazine has a 10-person team in Los Angeles devoted to Spears coverage. "We're on constant Britney alert."

She wouldn't disclose the costs to the magazine, saying only that Spears has been "amazing" for OK!'s business. Publisher Tom Morrisy said Spears drives newsstand sales and helped the magazine's ad revenue more than double to $51 million in 2007. OK! expects to turn a profit in 2008, three years after breaking into the market.

Britney has been on the cover of OK! 54 times. It's published 103 issues so far.

Clearly, if all the attention pushes her over the edge, OK will be upset - but the three weeks of memorial issue sales will, doubtless, help.