Sandra's Baby Cover: Most Profitable PEOPLE Ever?
By Rob Shuter Posted May 4th 2010 03:25PM
It's no surprise that PEOPLE magazine's shocking Sandra Bullock baby cover was a huge seller, but it hasn't yet replaced the magazine's biggest-selling baby exclusive ever -- the August 2008 issue featuring exclusive photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's newborn twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne. However, Sandra's big bombshell may have been the most profitable cover in the magazine's history. Find out why after the jump!
"Sandra's cover has been on newsstands for a week and it has already sold over 2.7 million copies," a magazine insider told me, citing early sales estimates for the issue. "That's only 100,000 less than the 2.8 million copies the magazine sold when Angelina's twins graced the cover -- and a half-million more copies than the June 2006 issue with exclusive baby pictures of Brad and Angelina's first daughter, Shiloh, which moved 2.2 million newsstand copies."
It may be surprising that Jolie and Pitt's twins outsold their first child, but you know the saying: Two is better than one ... especially when it's pictures of babies. However, Sandra didn't just reveal a baby in her big splash -- she also announced she was divorcing Jesse James after his sex scandal. The double-punch made folks run to the newsstand.
What's perhaps more interesting is that Sandra did not sell these pictures to the magazine (Brad and Angelina did, but gave all of the money to charity), which could make it one of the most profitable issues of all time -- even if it's not the best-selling.
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Baby news on magazine covers are a big business. While I was at OK! magazine, we had the biggest-selling issue in the publication's history: Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy. The combination of the baby and how surprising it was made it a must-buy.
Celebrity baby reveals are huge sellers because it's one of the most intimate moments of anyone's life. We feel closer to the stars we love when we're seeing their babies.
Sadly, the only thing that sells better than birth for magazines is death. The top three PEOPLE issues of all time are death related, with their 9/11 edition tragically being the best-selling issue of all time, netting 4.1 million copies sold. The second-biggest issue was coverage of Princess Diana's death, selling 3 million copies, and third is the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., where 2.8 million copies flew off the shelves. Numbers 4-6 are all babies (Jolie twins, Sandra, baby Shiloh) and the seventh biggest issue returns to the morbid -- Michael Jackson's death.
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