Hello! magazine is taking legal action against Northern & Shell,
the publisher of its rival, OK!, following a letter circulated to
advertisers and the trade press last week by OK!’s joint managing
director, Stan Myerson.
The mail-shot included a graph showing that OK!, which enjoyed a 50 per
cent year-on-year sales growth in the six months to June, was selling
more copies than Hello! by early September.
But Hello! claims this underestimated its sale by an average 40,000
copies per issue. It is concerned that this could prove particularly
damaging in a month when advertisers and agencies are putting together
their planning strategy for next year.
Hello!’s advertising sales and development director, Jon Humphrey, said:
’I can confirm we have instructed our lawyers to take whatever action is
appropriate and we are confident that one way or another this matter
will be resolved to our satisfaction.’
But Myerson retorted: ’In the month of September, in at least one issue,
we have outsold Hello! quite substantially. We sold in excess of 750,000
with the Mel B wedding on 19 September. We sent out that letter and
Hello! has taken issue. We are looking into that at the moment.’
Humphrey claims that a number of advertisers called Hello! magazine
after receiving the letter. Humphrey said: ’We have had one or two calls
from advertisers following the letter and their confidence in our
magazine has been called into question. We cannot allow these figures to
Hello! and OK! are locked in a battle in the glossy gossip magazine
In the six months to June 1998, Hello! registered an ABC circulation of
506,027, up just under 2 per cent year on year, while OK! sold 214,162
copies, up just over 50 per cent.