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I am infatuated with media, marketing,  music, television, advertising and the Web, and have been for most of my life. My favorite topics to discuss: How networks like Showtime become industry hard hitters through original programming and its “No Limits” slogan, the evolution of Starz from movies to original programming, the decline of major search engines like Excite and Altavista, the value of a “Beatles” tune to the growth of Apple and iTunes, and the Web birthing process to become a revenue generating industry, and how to successful market yourself using social media.

I know, love, and understand this industry because it’s something I live. Looking to learn more about me? Check out the About, Resume and Clips section of this Web site.

This week has been the start of a new part of my career. You can contact me at lynekalittle@gmail.com for reporting or consulting opportunities.

Retrospect of Celebrity: The Overvaluation of Babies

At less than one month, a set of twins have managed to generate an income that would take the average American at least 10 work lives to earn. Exactly who are these twins? The Jolie Pitts. Kin to what some consider to be the most beautiful couple in the world.

Like the real estate and dot com sectors of yester-year, the celebrity baby photo industry has grown inflated leaving many to ponder when the bubble will pop. Consider Getty images like the NASDAQ and the DOW, with a few celebrity couples making the stock images overvalued. And, well, like the U.S. markets, the baby photo market is controled by you and I: The investor.

As the leading culprits or saints behind the ghastly amount of baby photos, I guess YOU (and maybe I) are responsible for the bullish pursuit of baby pictures. It all began in 2006 when YOU (and I) won the Time Magazine person of the year award. A win for user generated content and user generated markets has set the tone years later. But, is it still an honor?
Unlike the Olsen twins and Miley Cyrus this new batch of tiny tots earns their dollars as a result of child birth versus child labor. And, in an arena where photo viewing is instantaneous, People Magazine, which snagged the rights along with Hello!, managed to orchestrate a plan that gave bloggers the opportunity to provide a glimpse of the Jolie-Pitt twins the day before the issue of the magazine hits newsstands on Monday. (A couple of days before the usual weekly release date.) Are magazines are beginning to understand the internets!

In an industry marred by timing, the juice (or clout or props) for winning rights to the photographs becomes the  steam behind the plan. Particularly since the magazine would have to sell over 3.8 million copies at $3.59 per copy to break even if the estimated purchase price of $14 million is accurate.

Ten years ago, baby photos were a less lucrative business, with one U.S. magazine publication corning the market, People Magazine. And, the public had less of thirst for such pictures. Connor Cruise, Rumor Willis, Dakota Johnson were more identifiable by their last names than their photos. Times have definitely changed.

In 2005, Julie Roberts introduced twins Phinnaeus and Hazel to American with a photograph taken by husband Danny Moder. But in 2006, the darling philanthropic  Jolie-Pitt duo created a market of for breeding with the birth of Shiloh. It’s big business. The Gap and Banana Republic are scaling back on stores, airlines are nickel and diming you, but the celebrity market is thriving. But, I digress…

Since Us Magazine became a Weekly, In Touch launched, and OK! and entered U.S. markets, celebrity news and babies has become more competitive and, well, recycled. As stars earn rewards for doing ordinary things, we are slowly learning that they are indeed less like us. Childbirth, while rewarding becomes more of financial burden for most than a financial incentive. But, for some stars (and, sometimes the organizations they love) birth ”has created a booming industry.

Are you buying this week’s People Magazine? And, do you care about celebrity babies? Did Angelina and Brad Pitt get more money for their twins because the dollar is worth less than the euro? Do you hate babies?

Published previously in August 2008.