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BIEBER BOMBS: Note to magazine editors: Think twice before booking Justin Bieber.
Vanity Fair’s February Bieber cover is on track to become the worst-selling issue for the Condé Nast monthly in 12 years and one of the top three worst sellers for the magazine since Graydon Carter took over as editor in chief in 1992.
The Bieber cover has sold 246,000 copies, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ Rapid Report. The ABC Rapid Report data is submitted directly by publishers but has yet to be audited by ABC, so the figure could be slightly adjusted.
But if the number holds true, the Bieber cover will be Vanity Fair’s biggest bomb since Will Smith graced a July 1999 cover while atop a black stallion to advertise the movie “Wild, Wild West.” The Smith cover sold 202,701 copies at the newsstand, according to ABC data. The only other cover that has sold below the 246,000 threshold during Carter’s reign was the July 1993 one featuring Harrison Ford, which sold 243,000 copies.
The February cover featured Bieber smothered in kisses in an issue that also included stories on Julian Assange, The Huffington Post and Warren Buffett. Through May, Vanity Fair is down about 5 percent at the newsstand, averaging 342,000 sales an issue, according to ABC’s Rapid Report.
But Bieber wasn’t bad news for Vanity Fair alone. His October 2010 Teen Vogue cover — presumably tailored for a more ideal demographic for the 17-year-old superstar — sold 121,054 issues, roughly 12 percent below Teen Vogue’s 2010 average, according to ABC data.
And it’s not just the monthlies, either. In April 2010, People featured a Bieber cover — “ALL ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER” shouted the headline — that sold 961,762 copies, which represents a 25 percent dip below average sales and was the third worst seller for the weekly all of last year, according to ABC data.
Bieber also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone and US Weekly earlier this year, but Wenner Media has yet to submit 2011 newsstand results to ABC.
So what’s up with the apparent Bieber cover bust?
“Who knew 12-year-olds didn’t buy magazines?” said a Vanity Fair spokeswoman.
— JOHN KOBLIN