Published: Wednesday, September 06, 2006
COMMON PEOPLE: The battle of the celebrity weeklies used to be between People and Us Weekly as the top two contenders, but recently In Touch has muscled in. The Bauer weekly has taken over as the second-biggest title in the category, and is now increasingly breathing down People’s neck on the newsstand. For example, the Aug. 21 issue saw In Touch come within a few thousand copies — or even overtake — People as the top newsstand seller, depending on whom you cite. According to several sources familiar with scan data, People’s Aug. 21 issue with the recycled cover story “Before They Were Stars,” sold 1.24 million copies, compared with the 1.26 million copies In Touch sold that same week with its cover story on Jessica Simpson. The same sources also claim People’s Sept. 4 issue with a report on the JonBenet Ramsey case sold 1.26 million, while In Touch’s issue with a cover on Nicole Richie’s shocking weight loss came in at 1.34 million copies.
In Touch declined to confirm the numbers, but publisher Bob Davidowitz said: “We had a very strong August. Our goal with In Touch is to be the category leader in single-copy sales, and we are on the way to doing just that.”
Meanwhile, publishing sources close to People said the magazine’s Aug. 21 issue outsold In Touch by 200,000 copies (1.3 million versus 1.1 million), and the Sept. 4 issue is on track to sell more than 1.4 million copies. A spokeswoman for People said the company does not give out its sales figures prior to reporting the numbers to Audit Bureau of Circulations.
In Touch’s momentum continues after the Bauer title posted a 5.3 percent growth in newsstand sales during the first half of this year, according to ABC figures — although its 1.1 million copies still were bested overall by People’s 1.5 million, a 2.6 percent increase. However, In Touch’s momentum might have something to do with celebrity readers being squeezed at the pump and in their paychecks: The weekly is a bargain buy at $1.99 and ran a 25 cent promotion during the first half, while People carries a $3.49 cover price and boosted it to $3.99 when it featured exclusive pictures of Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, the newborn baby of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
— Stephanie D. Smith