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GOT EM: Brangelina sure love People magazine — or at least the checks the weekly keeps writing the celebrity couple. The title has again scored the exclusive North American rights to photos of Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s latest children — new twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline. On Tuesday night, JustJared.com reported People will publish the photos, and a source close to the deal confirmed the news Thursday night. Hello bought the international rights. People and Hello will unveil the photos on Monday, two days earlier than People’s usual newsstand drop day. The price for the photos was a reported $10 million to $15 million, which, assumably, People and Hello will split in some manner.
But what are the chances the large investment in the pictures will pay off?
Though People likely didn’t foot the whole bill for the photos, a payment of $5 million — or half of the low end of the estimated cost — is equal to moving 1.3 million newsstand copies, providing its newsstand price remains $3.99. That’s a low hurdle for People, which averages 1.5 million copies weekly. Baby photos send even more issues off the racks — the June 19, 2006 issue with the exclusive baby pictures of Brad and Angelina’s first daughter, Shiloh, moved 2.2 million newsstand copies, or $8.8 million worth of issues — and that was just for one kid. People reportedly paid $4 million for those pictures in a deal, which was also brokered with Hello.
More recently, People sold more than 2 million copies, or $8 million worth, of its March 31 edition when it featured exclusive photographs of Jennifer Lopez’s twins, Max and Emme; the magazine reportedly also paid $4 million for those pictures. Its March 10 issue sold 1.7 million copies, or $6.8 million worth, when it featured Nicole Richie’s daughter, Harlow (the magazine is said to have paid $1 million for the snaps since Nicole is no Brad or Angelina). Sources close to the magazine said none of the dollar amounts are accurate.
But not every baby is worth its purse: People’s Feb. 25 cover with Christina Aguilera’s baby Max sold 1.4 million newsstand copies, or $5.6 million worth, photos the magazine reportedly paid $1.5 million to get. Nonetheless, according to Rapid Report, People’s newsstand sales were up 5 percent in the first half compared with the same period of 2007.
Even if it sells less than 1.3 million copies, which is unlikely, sources at competing titles said the value of having the photos goes beyond revenue to People’s bottom line. Having the exclusive photos of such coveted offspring gives People bragging rights over its competitors, and will generate priceless media coverage and publicity. “If they lose a million bucks, then [the loss] is equivalent to a million-dollar advertisement for the magazine,” said one competing editor.
— Stephanie D. Smith