OK! magazine stoops, but doesn't conquer, with Michael Jackson photo

Americans are interested in Michael Jackson's death -- really, really interested -- but not so much in looking at his dying body, apparently. OK! magazine spent a reported $500,000 to obtain the exclusive "last photo" of the singer en route to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. But the investment didn't pay off all that richly.

According to a source with access to sales data, OK! sold about 500,000 copies of last week's issue on the newsstand. That's well above the title's year-to-date average of 409,000 copies, but likely less than the company was anticipating when it ordered a large increase in its usual print run for the issue. A spokesman for the magazine declined to comment on the sales estimate but confirmed the increased print run.
Certainly OK's competitors were able to take advantage of the surge of interest in Jackson -- and reap even bigger increases -- without stooping to supermarket-tabloid tactics that risked alienating advertisers and readers. People sold about 2.1 million newsstand copies, according to the industry source, far above its year-to-date average of 1.28 million, while Us Weekly sold 1.2 million, versus an average of 847,000. Among the other weeklies, In Touch sold about 930,000 copies, Star about 700,000 and Life & Style about 480,000.

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