Paying Celebs for those Hard to Get Shots

This from a recent story from the Wall Street Journal on line:

“Richard Spencer, the editor of InTouch Weekly, which is published by New Jersey-based Bauer Publishing USA, says most A-list celebrities who seek publicity will choose a magazine with a wider circulation over a payment that gets them fewer readers. “Do you want to be seen by a million viewers or have a little more money in the bank and be seen by fewer people?” he asks.

While an exclusive photograph can increase sales by significant numbers, it’s not always a slam dunk. The issue of US Weekly featuring Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie, for instance, sold 1.1 million copies on the newsstand, against an average of 1.05 million copies over the last 12 issues.

Richard Desmond, the owner of Northern & Shell, is another in a long line of colorful British publishing figures. He built his business selling pornographic magazines like Asian Babes before acquiring OK! and a number of daily newspapers. “Dirty Des,” as he is often referred in the British press, offsets huge payments to celebrities by distributing his exclusives to international editions of OK! in places like China, Australia and the Middle East.

People, US Weekly, InTouch and Star all say they don’t pay stars directly for access. But some have found loopholes: People magazine, for example, recently struck a financial deal for exclusive photos of Britney Spears’s wedding. “We had our own deal directly with Britney’s people,” says Sandi S. Werfel, a spokeswoman for People. “Money went to her charity.”