When it comes to the big business of celebrity gossip, a Hilton is cashing in, and I'm not talking Paris. I'm talking PEREZ, the self-dubbed 'Queen of Media.'
Born Mario Lavandeira, Hilton named his persona after the ultimate celebrity who's famous for simply being famous, and created one of THE most successful celebrity gossip blogs.
He embraces some celebs (he's buddy buddy with Paris) and slams others (have you seen the nasty stuff he's written on Britney?) and he's attracted a loyal following of gossip hounds. His PR people tell me he consistently gets 10-12 million hits per day, and about three million unique visitors per month.
His readership does span demographics (I just heard a story about a Manhattan attorney who starts weekly meetings with the Perez Hilton buzz), but he's particularly strong with teen and college-age women, an appealing demo for advertisers.
This Saturday Perez celebrated his 30th birthday with his 300 closest friends at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills (the hotel where "Pretty Woman" was shot.) And it was sponsored by a half dozen brands--Burger King, Lab Series, Cafe Bustelo, Roberto Cavalli Vodka, Johnson and Johnson's KY, and Hollywood Tans.
These brands are looking for association with the media queen, and for exposure in coverage of the event, and on Hilton's site. Burger King sent its king TV commercial character, in full costume to the party, with a minidressed model on each arm.
And finding sponsors was easy. The company that connects brands with Perez's events said they had more companies than there was room for.
And Perez has tons more than just high-profile parties and a highly-trafficked blog. He has a TV show on VH1, called "What Perez Sez," he stars in a movie scheduled to come out this summer, and he's negotiating a deal with Warner Music to have his own record label. This would build on Hilton's already impressive influence in the music industry he has helped launch many musicians including Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen.
Warner Music wouldn't comment, but it makes sense to take advantage of Hilton's ability to get tips from his readers on rising singers and use his reader base to promote rising stars. And Hilton told me, even if the deal with Warner Music doesn't work out, he'll launch a music label on his own.
What's next? Perez says he has more TV deals in the works, and another super-secret topic he wouldn't talk about, though he did say he'd be announcing it in the next few weeks. What media platforms are left? We'll see. Hilton told me he wants to be "The gay, Latino Oprah," so we'll see what else could bolster he's burgeoning mini media empire.
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