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PREGNANCY IS OK: OK Magazine generated lots of buzz when it gained the exclusive on Britney Spears' little sister, Jamie Lynn, being pregnant, including an article in The New York Times on Jan. 2 about the scoop and its impact, which said the industry assumed the magazine paid $1 million to the Spears family to get it. In the piece, The Times said OK publisher Tom Morrissy sent an e-mail message to prospective advertisers outlining all the press coverage the story had received. The Times claimed the Dec. 31 issue of OK sold "nearly two million copies, roughly twice the usual number."
But, according to several sources familiar with scan data, sales of the issue may be much lower than that. Sources said single-copy sales of the issue sat below 900,000 — factor in subscriptions, and the issue's total sales were estimated to be around 1.3 million, well below the two million projection in The Times. Some OK competitors already were dubious about the two million sales projection, pointing to the fact that little sister Spears was relatively unknown before her personal drama. "All Britney saga aside, Jamie Lynn is a 16-year-old girl that has never really been in the spotlight. Yeah, she's pregnant, but who is she?" said one editor in the celebrity category. "It was huge in the industry, but in the end, Britney is the story and Jamie Lynn is the sidebar."
Maybe, but the issue will still be a record breaker for OK, claimed Morrissy. While contending he never promised the issue would sell two million copies, he told advertisers in an e-mail Tuesday — and later repeated to WWD — that "we project a newsstand sale of 1.3 million for a total delivery of close to 1.7 million for the week. This caps a second half in which the magazine averaged 947,055 copies on our 850,000 rate base." The issue would be the first time that OK Magazine sold more than one million copies at newsstand. But official numbers won't be known for a few months, when audited figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation are released. — Stephanie D. Smith