Thank You Shilo: Newsstand Sales up for Celeb Weeklies

'People' Leads the Pack, 'Star' Falls and 25-Cent Covers Help

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It was a fiercely competitive first half for celebrity weeklies, but as unofficial figures circulate, most seem to have improved their standing on that crucial barometer of customer interest -- newsstand sales.
Category-leading 'People' continued to lead single-copy sales with an average of more than 1.5 million copies sold each week in the first half.
Category-leading 'People' continued to lead single-copy sales with an average of more than 1.5 million copies sold each week in the first half.


Baby Shilo pics
Most publishers declined to comment in advance of official numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations due Aug. 21. But according to industry estimates, Time Inc.'s category-leading People magazine continued to lead single-copy sales with an average of more than 1.5 million copies sold each week in the first half -- an improvement of about 2% over the first half of 2005. It couldn't have hurt that People's issue featuring the first photos of Shiloh Jolie-Pitt on the cover sold 2.2 million copies alone.

The next-largest celebrity glossy, Wenner Media's Us Weekly, moved an average of more than 1 million newsstand copies during the period, up more than 1%, according to sources. That growth came despite a cover price of $3.49 in the first half, hiked 20 cents from $3.29 in the middle of last year.

'Star' down 14%
American Media's Star also boosted its price to $3.49 from $3.29 between the first half of 2005 and the first half of this year, but single-copy sales fell 14.4% to 752,498 for the first six months of 2006.

David Leckey, exec VP-consumer marketing, American Media, noted that total circulation increased a little more than 6% on the strength of subscriptions that grew 39% -- and that Star sales in July are averaging about 13% above first-half sales. "Hopefully we're seeing a little price recovery and the return of traffic to the grocery stores," he said.

At Bauer Publishing, the relatively young In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly both showed newsstand gains -- good news for a company whose business model relies almost entirely on newsstand sales. In Touch averaged single-copy sales of more than 1.1 million, up 4%, while Life & Style averaged 700,000, up 49% from a relatively small base.

25-cent cover price
Both titles, which have few subscribers, were helped by one-week price promotions during which a copy cost just 25 cents instead of the usual $1.99.

Then there's word that OK magazine, which has sold better since reducing its cover price to $1.99 from $3.29, will itself try a 25-cent promotion in a few weeks. OK executives did not respond to inquiries about a price promotion. Nor did industry sources provide estimates for OK, but its owner, U.K. press baron Richard Desmond, told Advertising Age in June that newsstand sales would probably average 336,000 copies for the first half.
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