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Perez Hilton Laughing All the Way to the Bank
PerezHilton.com is a huge business: Premier ad packages run upwards of $45,000 according to a 2020 article in the New York Times, and quantcast is counting some 260 million global views per month.
I wonder what pithy, scathing things Perez will be saying, and about whom, and dang - how does she look in those boots, and can I afford the zipper on them?
I deny that I love to read him. I deny that I admire him, his talent, his enterprise. I deny that I even subscribe to his celebrity news and gossip site by RSS.
But my denial doesn't even really matter, since gazillions of other twentysomethings are reading, admiring, subscribing to the blog which is updated thirty plus times per day.
Meanwhile Mr. Hilton, aka Maria Armando Lavandeira Jr., is laughing all the way to the bank, since premier ad packages for his site run upwards of $45,000 according to a 2020 article in the New York Times, and quantcast is counting some 260 million global views per month.
And laugh he should since Hilton, who got fired from Star Magazine, doesn't exactly have to dig very deep for his stories. Nor does he have to give credit for photos he ganks from other websites. Neither still must he have the facts straight.
People will still read him. Lawsuits over libel and copyright infringement will threaten his legitimacy, but he will still make money.
All because he got the formula right.
And what, praytell, is that magic formula that appears to be eluding newspaper after newspaper that keeps right on folding?
You not only give the people infotainment. But you let them interact with it. And you let them do so in a way that allows them full anonymity.
I asked my fellow consumer of celebnews, Laura, what her thoughts might be if she heard that all of the celebrity glossies had folded. She said she'd be surprised since she believed there were others out there just like she. And by that she meant that she suspected there was a rather vast audience that liked to read People and USWeekly, but didn't like to admit it. They liked the inconvenience of the long line at the supermarket check-out, or a long wait at the dentist's office. Because said idle time allowed them to get caught up on Britney's latest lip gloss, on where Johnny Depp and the family were ex-patriating.
I, too, would be surprised if all the glossies folded. Star Magazine is down a couple hundred thousand subscribers from 2020. US Weekly is up about the same from 2020. I am sure magazine subscriptions are among the first expenditures to go in times of recession, though, and I imagine the same goes for magazine advertisers.
But my sense is that this industry is not so much about garnering more subscribers and more ad space in the manner that celebrity news magazines have always done. The game has changed. And Perez Hilton is one of its first champions.
Subscribers don't want to be known as subscribers. They don't want to be known. Period. They want to check the latest postings about Lindsay Lohan's many lovers while they are sitting in their work cubicle typing up a report for their boss, while they are checking their Crackberry on the commuter train. Then they want to post their most merciless reactions to Whitney Houston's post-rehab look right under that picture, and they want to do so under the nom de plume StraightEdgersRule. They want instantaneous information; heaven forbid they have to wait all week for People to arrive in their snail mailbox. And they can get all this for free by turning to Perez Hilton, a man who may weather this recession as well as tobacco, alcohol, and cosmetics survived the Great Depression. Without missing a beat.