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Having Babies is the New Acting

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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MOMMY'S LITTLE RETIREMENT PLANS Jolie (Photo: Getty Images) Back in March, we took a quick look at whether or not it was financially prudent for tabloid magazine editors to shell out millions of dollars for "exclusive" photos of barely conscious celebrity babies. Our conclusion: It probably is, at least when you factor in increased Web traffic, money made off of foreign re-sells, and the intangible benefit of sticking it to the competition. Today, the New York Times examines the same issue and pretty much agrees.

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According to the Times, an "important exclusive" ("important": Brangelina baby. Not "important": Aguilera baby) can move an additional 300,00 to 500,000 issues on the newsstand. While that amounts to less than $1 million in added earnings, the number is just the tip of the iceberg when other financial considerations are taken into account. Traffic to people.com, for example, doubled after the mag shelled out a reported $5 million for pictures of Jennifer Lopez's twins; People was further able to offset the initial investment by selling the international rights elsewhere. (Foreigners seem to have an insatiable appetite for celebrities we can no longer stand: asked to justify the $2 million price tag of pics from the wedding of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, OK! publisher Tom Morrissy notes that the Desperate Housewives star "translates very well internationally.")

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