Thursday, January 24, 2008
The Britney Economy
Demand though -- at least for Britney Spears -- may be too large for these techniques to make much of a dent. This article estimates just how much Britney is worth to the gossip economy:
A Britney photo garners anywhere from $250 (for a run-of-the-mill shot of her at Starbucks) to $100,000 or more. The photo agency X17, which has a team trailing her 24-7, estimates that Britney accounts for 30 percent of its revenue: It sold $2.5 million worth of Britney photos in 2007 alone, including $500,000 for its exclusive Bald Britney pics. Competitor Splash News says that Britney accounts for 10 to 15 percent of its business, boosted this year by $200,000 for photos of Britney in a hot tub. All told, Britney probably makes up a full 20 percent of the paparazzi business.
Estimated average annual take: $4 million
If it seems like every time you see a newsstand, Britney is on the cover of another magazine, that's only because…she is. A celebrity tabloid with Britney Spears on the cover sells 1.28 million newsstand copies, some 33 percent more than the average. Between January 2006 and July 2007, Britney was a cover subject of People, Us Weekly, In Touch, Life & Style, OK!, or Star a total of 175 times in just 78 weeks. During that period, newsstand sales of issues with her on the cover amounted to a staggering $360 million. She's also topped the annual Yahoo Search rankings in six of the past seven years, slipping to No. 2 only in 2004, when Paris Hilton briefly stole her crown. Searches for Britney were up 60 percent in 2007, the year of her divorce, shaved head, and car wreck. "If there was no Britney, would all Web traffic stop?" asks Vera Chan, senior editor at Yahoo. "I would hesitate to give her that much power, but it's hard to argue with the facts."
Estimated average annual take: $75 million
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