OK! let its readers down, says Hello!
Hello! has rubbished celebrity rival OK!’s claim that it had the first exclusive with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson by declaring in a full-page ad in the Daily Mail that Hello! has the "real, the only exclusive interview and pictures".
Hello! clinched the first interview with the I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! star after an aggressive bidding war that is said to have exceeded £50,000.
The current issue of Hello! features a 15-page article with pictures and an interview with Palmer-Tomkinson revealing the "truth" about her antics in the jungle with co-star Darren Day. The interview was conducted by Hello! freelance Marina Cantacuzino at the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin resort on the Gulf of Thailand, but the shine was taken off the scoop when OK! put out a spoiler last week billed as a "world exclusive".
Hello! editor Maria Trkulja told Press Gazette: "Obviously the reason we took that ad out was to let people know that we have the only exclusive and what OK! had on its cover last week was not. Heat also had Tara on its cover, but it was the fact OK! labelled it ‘world exclusive’ when they didn’t have one. I just think they let down their readers."
Trkulja said the scoop was crucial to Hello! "It’s the story of the moment and Tara is a Hello! person. I would have been disappointed if she had gone anywhere else," she added.
It was too early to judge the full impact of the spoiler this week, but according to Hello!’s estimates, the story has not sold as much as previous issues for OK!.
"Its sales figures for that issue were down compared with the last few weeks," Trkulja said.
Jane Ennis, editor of Now, which featured an exclusive with Palmer-Tomkinson’s celebrity co-star Rhona Cameron, put the row down to the "cut and thrust" of celebrity magazines. "It must have been incredibly annoying for Hello! I think it will really harm its sales, but these things happen to all of us."
Now’s news-stand sales have exceeded 600,000 in the past few weeks, closing in on the 700,000 barrier, Ennis said. Referring to Emap’s forthcoming celebrity launch, Closer, Ennis said: "They can try and get closer, but I’m running."
By Ruth Addicott