Gossip glossies in legal fracas over circulation

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.

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

go unchallenged.’



Hello! and OK! are locked in a battle in the glossy gossip magazine

market.



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.



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