REALITY CHECK: Kim Kardashian and her friends in reality TV land now have their very own mother ship, in the form of a magazine where all their antics will never go unnoticed. It’s Reality Weekly, the new title from American Media Inc. that hit newsstands for the first time on Wednesday. Out of the gate, its competitive advantage is price, at $1.79 an issue. Reality Weekly, larger in size and less glossy than it rivals, is $2 less than People, Us Weekly and OK and $1 less than Bauer’s Life & Style and In Touch — important numbers as the economy sputters along.
The first issue features Kardashian on the cover (who else?), next to headlines about Kendra Wilkinson, Simon Cowell, The Food Network’s Sandra Lee and a former contestant from ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” “We did something like 40 different research studies and found that at $1.79, there was 100 percent acceptance of the magazine,” said AMI chief executive officer David Pecker.
This story first appeared in the December 30, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At that low cover price, Pecker insists he isn’t worried that his new weekly will cannibalize similar titles in his stable, including Star, OK and the National Enquirer. “This week Kim is the cover subject, and next week it will be teen moms,” said Pecker. “We’re very careful that we don’t compete against our own product line. Very cautious. We have three editorial meetings a week to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
Pecker said 500,000 copies are on newsstands now, but that figure will shoot to one million in six weeks. Reality Weekly’s CPM is $45, with the first issue garnering 14 pages of ads. “This is more of a newsstand play, so we want to have issues at 10 to 12 [ad] pages.”
Besides the cheap cover price and national newsstand distribution, another advantage for AMI’s new title is the following reality stars have in social media. Although Pecker has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to publicize the launch, it will probably be the reality stars, with their thousands of followers and fans, that will be most successful in leading fans to the magazine. In fact, it’s already begun. On Thursday, Cowell told his 1.6 million Twitter followers: “Been sent ton of stuff from the office. I do look good on a jet ski! Got copy of new magazine Reality Weekly, very good idea!& I’m on the cover.”
Welcome to the new reality.