The rival magazines, OK! and Hello!, have ended their legal battle
over circulation figures with an out-of-court settlement that sees OK!
agreeing to pay Hello! pounds 10,000 in compensation.
Last autumn, Hello! instigated legal proceedings against OK! claiming
malicious falsehood after OK!’s joint managing director, Stan Myerson,
circulated a letter which Hello! claimed gave inaccurate information
about its circulation figures (Campaign, 9 October 1998).
OK! sent the letter to advertisers and trade papers with a graph showing
each magazine’s circulation performance in the four months to 5
Hello! was due to take OK! to trial in the High Court on Monday, but
last Friday Northern & Shell, OK!’s publisher, agreed to pay pounds
10,000 in compensation and pounds 75,000 towards costs on an interim
basis until the court assesses the final sum. Hello! has demanded that
OK! pay more than pounds 200,000 towards court costs.
OK! has also undertaken to the court that, in future, it will not
publish circulation information that has not been audited by the Audit
Bureau of Circulations.
Sally Cartwright, publishing director of Hello!, said: ’Clearly,
Northern & Shell knew it could not defend its action and, as a result,
has completely capitulated a matter of hours before the case was due to
go to court.’
Paul Ashford, Northern & Shell’s editorial director, said: ’It’s a good
conclusion for us because we’ve agreed that we will be judged on our
ABCs against their (Hello’s) ABCs.’
Hello! has said it will donate the pounds 10,000 to the NSPCC’s Full