Magazines Covet Celebrity Baby Photos

People magazine reportedly paid celebrity couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony $6 million for photos of their newborn twins. Bonnie Fuller, chief editorial director of Star Magazine, talks to Renee Montagne about the lucrative market for celebrity baby photos.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And you will no doubt be able to read lots and lots more about Prince Harry in celebrity magazines, although the prince going to war won't get near the coverage that a celebrity having a baby would. In recent years there's been a baby boom among the magazines that cover the stars. And no one knows that better than Bonnie Fuller, chief editorial director of Star magazine.

Good morning.

Ms. BONNIE FULLER (Star Magazine): Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, I am looking at the cover of People magazine and it features exclusive first photos of Nicole Richie holding her baby. There are reports that she's being paid $1 million for these photos. And reports that Jennifer Lopez and Marc Antony are going to earn something like $6 million for the first photos of their new twins. Where do these prices come from?

Ms. FULLER: What it comes down to is two things: newsstand sales and prestige. Because when you spend $4 million to buy baby photos, no matter how many magazines you sell, you really have no hope of recouping that cost. However, it's a feather on your cap to be the one that can say, hey, I've got Brad and Angelina's baby photos. And I'm sure that if the publication has enough time in advance they will also sell additional advertising.

MONTAGNE: Beyond the real special moments where celebrities get paid a million, four million, six million dollars for the first pictures of their babies, there's also every week covers that involve pregnancies and babies and babies growing up. I mean, the stories seem to go on like chapters.

Ms. FULLER: Star's readers love these celebrities. They feel very close to them. And I think the reason for this, of course, is that our readers are primarily women, you know, 22 to 42, prime childbearing years. All the things that the celebrities are going to go through, they're going through too.

MONTAGNE: It used to be that actresses had to hide their pregnancies. You know, I'm thinking here of Meg Ryan. She had a baby and more or less no one knew about it. Tell us how it would've been a few years ago if an actress came to you and had arranged to do a sort of beauty shoot and she was pregnant.

Ms. FULLER: Well, we would think about shooting her from shoulders up. However, I really feel like a big turning point was the growth of the celebrity news weeklies. We really brought celebrity pregnancies into, like, the mainstream and we also celebrated them. And we quickly learned women clearly wanted to see them because our sales went up.

MONTAGNE: You would call it a celebration and for some that may be true, but what about actresses that would like a little privacy?

Ms. FULLER: If you want to be a celebrity then it does come along with an interest by the public in your life. And most actors and actresses, they know that they don't have to go shopping on Rodeo Drive. You can have a very low key life if you want to and never be photographed.

MONTAGNE: Bonnie Fuller is chief editorial director of Star magazine. Thanks very much for talking with us.

Ms. FULLER: Thank you very much, Renee.

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