Back in late June, several days after Michael Jackson's death, I figured that the demise of the "King of Pop" would be a shot in the arm for the magazine business. But I wasn't expecting it to be this big. MagNet, which follows these things, says that so far the magazine business has benefited to the tune, forgive the pun, of $67 million -- $55 million of that coming from special tribute editions. Crazy.
As Nat Ives points out in the Advertising Age story covering this data, the uptick won't be reflected in about-to-be-released data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations covering first half 2009 magazine sales. Jackson died too late in June for the MJ effect to be a major factor. The ABC data is expected to show continuing declines in newsstand sales with relative stability in paid circulation.
I still expect, as I said back in June, that, as perverted as it is, MJ's death, will, to some extent, be the gift that keeps on giving to the media. In the weird world of Jackson-mania, it doesn't hurt the magazine business -- or the cable TV and Internet businesses for that matter -- that his death has just officially been ruled a homicide. Still, since the bulk of the magazine sales uptick was in commemorative issues, and not sales of weekly magazines at the newsstand, one has to wonder if there's anything the beleaguered magazine business can learn from this -- except for the fact that controversial deaths of major global celebrities will always be good for business. But we knew that already.
Previous coverage of Michael Jackson's death and the media at BNET Media: