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OUTTAKES THE SEQUEL

The Last Inquiry

December 13, 1987|John M. Wilson

A pop culture icon crumbles: The National Enquirer is dumping its 6-year-old "inquiring minds" promo campaign to go after new readers. But president/editor Iain Calder says it has nothing to do with new circulation figures showing Rupert Murdoch's Star gaining ground.

(The Star averaged weekly sales of 3.7 million for the six months ending June 30, according to Ad Age, compared to 4.4 million for the Enquirer. That was a 1% drop over the Enquirer's first six months of 1986; the Star gained 5.2%.)

"Most of the Star's gains were in subs (subscriptions), mostly through Publishers Clearing House, where you virtually give away subscriptions," said Calder. "Anyone who wants to buy circulation figures (through Publishers Clearing House) can certainly do that. We won't."

Calder said that recent regional tests of an "enquire within" campaign--vignettes of common folk reading the paper, with upbeat music in the background--were "surprisingly" successful. It will begin nationwide early next year, though "inquiring minds" could always be brought back.

"I'm a very simple guy," said Calder. "Whatever sells more papers, wins."

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