MRI International Snags 2 Big Tabloids

New York Shop Awarded Up to $50 Mil. Media Account
LOS ANGELES–American Media has awarded media buying for its Star and National Enquirer weekly newspapers to MRI International, New York, following a review of several unnamed New York media agencies.
Combined, the two titles spend about $30 million, according to published reports, although AM has indicated it will commit as much as $50 million in support of the two titles. The client said creative is handled in-house.
The search was led by independent consultant Margaret Carroll, who recently joined AM to oversee the publisher’s advertising efforts.
“MRI’s senior people have a level of experience, and they came in with a presentation that won us over,” said Carroll, who was previously senior vice president of media for a former AM agency, Trade-well, New York, and vice president of financial operations for Hachette Filipacchi Magazines. She was brought in by David Pecker, AM chairman and CEO, who was president and CEO of Hachette before moving to Evercore Partners, which bought AM for $773 million last year. MRI’s contract is for the second quarter only, although Carroll said that if the relationship worked, the agency would be retained beyond that and would add media buying for AM’s two upcoming launches, Auto World Weekly and Latino-tar-geted Mira magazine.
According to Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, the Enquirer’s paid circulation (newsstand and subscribers) for the last six months of 1999 was 2.13 million, down 4.8 percent from the comparable period in 1998. During the same period, the Star’s paid circulation was 1.75 million, a drop of 3.8 percent from the comparable period a year earlier. K