Us Weekly's move means readers will have to pay 50 cents more for each of its installments on Britney's custody battles or Jessica Simpson's "weight war." But the higher cover prices among celebrity weeklies are likely to put downward pressure on the category's rate of growth, which has already been cooling.
Hikes at OK, People
The advantage for publishers, of course, is a likely increase in circulation revenue. OK magazine, for its part, increased its cover price to $2.99 from $1.99 in December. People, the champion of celebrity magazines, just increased its own cover price to $3.99 from $3.49.
But the most interesting test will come at Bauer Publishing, where the remarkable growth of In Touch and Life & Style owes a lot to their low $1.99 cover prices. Star magazine, published by American Media Inc., has even attributed some of its own struggles to that cut-price competition. Bauer is adding a buck to its titles' cover prices next month, bringing both to $2.99.
It had looked like an opportunity for Us Weekly and Star, which sells for $3.49, to try to grab some readers from In Touch and Life & Style. Now it looks like more of an opportunity for Star, which is staying at $3.49 -- just 50 cents more than Bauer's new prices.
A Wenner Media spokesman confirmed the pending price increase at Us Weekly.