Cashing in on Nude Lindsay Photos

New York Magazine stands to make big bucks on its Lindsay Lohan exclusive.

ByLouis Hau <br/> Forbes.com

Feb. 27, 2008&#151; -- In the never-ending battle for exclusive celebrity photos, New York could boast an awfully big catch: exclusive shots of a nude Lindsay Lohan recreating the legendary final photo shoot of the late Marilyn Monroe.

The photographer who snapped the photos of Lohan was Bert Stern, the same lensman who was behind the camera for Monroe's famed 1962 shoot at the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles. And while some magazines reportedly spend millions to get their hands on exclusive photos of celebrities or their babies, New York paid Stern its standard fee for such assignments--and paid Lohan nothing for her participation, according to magazine spokeswoman Lauren Starke.

The Feb. 25 edition of the weekly magazine, with Lohan on the front cover, hit newsstands last week. That same morning, the magazine posted the photo portfolio on its NYmag.com Web site.

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For a site that's averaged around a million page views a day lately, the results were stunning. NYmag.com recorded a total of more than 40 million page views Monday and Tuesday, more than 34 million of which came from the Lohan portfolio, Starke said.

According to New York's online rate card, the "super banner ad" of the type that appears on the Lohan photo slideshow has a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) of $15. Multiply that by the number of views and the Lohan slideshow ads were valued at more than $500,000 over two days. NYmag.com probably charged far less than the rate-card rate, as is common in the industry. Starke said the magazine doesn't disclose revenue details about advertising deals.

Still, New York's Web site no doubt made out pretty well. Some perspective: Based on its rate card, New York generated about as much revenue per day from its online slideshow as it would from four $64,500 full-page color ads in its print edition.

And unlike print, the Lohan score can continue indefinitely online. Wednesday, NYmag.com posted outtakes from the Lohan shoot, "so we expect the heavy traffic to continue,'' Starke said.

The photo portfolio also boosted sales of the print edition of New York. The magazine didn't increase its print run for the Lohan issue, but did set aside an additional 5,000 copies for single-issue back orders from its Web site. As of Wednesday afternoon, the magazine had sold more than a thousand copies of the Lohan issue in this fashion, Starke said.

What about newsstand sales? Specific details weren't available Wednesday, but newsstand circulation accounts for only about 5% of New York's overall take. Starke noted that "we anticipate a very high sell-through rate and have heard anecdotal evidence of copies flying off shelves."

Hmm. Makes one wonder: What's Britney up to these days?

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