A.A. Bondy
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For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
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Saddest Ghost Lamp

Friday, February 24, 2006

Snap Up That Time Warner Stock as Soon as You Can, Kids

If I read Keith Kelly correctly, Entertainment Weekly claims to have deliberately reduced its circulation by 1.7 percent in the last six or so months (including a whopping 30 percent drop on the newsstand), because it had been exceeding its rate base:
A spokeswoman said the magazine had been delivering a substantial bonus above its rate base guarantee last year.

Rate base is the amount of circulation publishers guarantee to advertisers they will deliver each issue. Publishers would be penalized if they drop below rate base, but wouldn't get increased ad revenue if they exceed the rate base.

"We wanted to bring it back down," she said. "You don't want to pay for those additional copies if you don't need them."

It's not hard to imagine the urgent, late-night phone calls from Time Inc. editorial honcho John Huey to EW editor Rick Tetzeli: "Rick! You're killing us with all these new readers! The magazine's just too hot right now. You've got to scale it down before it gets out of hand and we have to raise the rate base."

"OK, John, OK. But what more can we do, for crying out loud? We've already brought in Stephen King."

"We've talked about this, Rick. Quizzes. Give me quizzes."