Gossip falls victim to the recession

With a lot of Americans feeling dismal about their personal futures, you'd think this would be a pretty good market for escapist gossip magazines.

Turns out, people don't even have enough cash to buy a magazine at the grocery store to help them forget their troubles. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, sales of gossip and celebrity magazines at the newsstand fell 11% year over year in the last six months of 2008. Overall single issue magazine sales only fell 1%, so gossip appears to be defying it historically steady performance.

to The New York Times, "In the crowded field of celebrity magazines, In Touch Weekly's circulation tumbled 29.3 percent, to 899,000, and Life & Style Weekly fell 30.7 percent, to 472,000. Star magazine fell 10.3 percent, to 1.2 million, and the National Enquirer dropped 11.2 percent, to 891,000. OK! Weekly fared better, slipping 2.7 percent, to 910,000."

What's happening here may be more of a long-term shift toward the internet for celebrity content, where videos are available and the commentary is more raw and snarky. Sites like PerezHilton and DListed are growing in influence and reach and with that comes access to the scoops that gossip rags depend on for circulation -- Why wait for In Touch Weekly to come in the mail when PerezHilton updates his blog every 12.5 minutes? If you're looking to save money, reading celebrity gossip online (and if you're unemployed, you have plenty of time) is a pretty easy cost-cutting move.