Back in April, when the 150-year-old Atlantic plopped Britney Spears
on its cover, it faced a backlash—albeit an expected one—from subscribers,
bloggers and assorted media critics, some of whom criticized the magazine for "selling-out,"
pandering to capture a slice of what Portfolio dubbed "The Britney Economy."
Turns out the
magazine wasn’t selling out at all. The Britney cover tanked, according to
figures submitted by the Atlantic to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Rapid
Report filing system late last month. The magazine sold approximately 24,000
copies at the newsstand, some 21,000 less than March and nearly 30,000 less
than its January/February issue. The magazine sold 40,900 single copies of its
April 2007 issue, per ABC. (During the second half of 2007, each Atlantic issue sold, on average, 57,000 single copies at the newsstand.)
ATLANTIC’S 2008 NEWSSTAND PERFORMANCE
|March||45,000||"Which Religion Will
|April||24,000||"The Britney Show"|
|May||40,000||"Is Israel Finished?"|
Atlantic Media president Justin Smith told me in a recent video
interview that the company was, in fact, expecting it to bomb:
"The irony is, we were doing this at our own peril, because most
of our newsstand executives and circulation executives were saying ‘Don’t put
Britney on the cover! It’s going to bomb on the newsstand!’ So we put Britney
on the cover despite some of our newsstand advisors."
"And sure enough to our predictions," Smith is quoted in
FOLIO:’s June cover story, "it bombed on the newsstand."
Luckily for us, there’s no chance of it bombing.