London, 14th March 1978

ABBA sales zoom: ‘ABBA’ a triple money-grabber in UK film, disk, book sales

By Steve Swan - Variety (New York) Wednesay, 15 March 1978

The financial returns from ABBA-The Movie, ABBA-The Album, and ABBA-The Book so far spell a big success story here.

Sales of the CBS album are already in excess of $3,880,000, achieved with the first month of release 

Single disk (both records are currently at the top of the respective British charts) Take A Chance On Me, has now turned gold and over the next six months the diskery predicts an eventual return of at least twice the present figures. Extensive television advertising is planned to sustain the campaign.

Story’s the same with the film, Warner Bros. has earmarked some 127,000 pounds ($246,380) for TV ads in the Southern, London and Midland areas of England alone. Pic has already pulled in excess of 300,000 pounds ($582,000) in first two weeks at five West End houses and 105 nabe and southern arena situations.

The official paperback biog, ABBA by ABBA retails for $2.30 and publisher Stafford Pemberton is planning a second print run of 50,000 copies.

Company also handles the ABBA Annual which last year sold 200,000 copies between September 1st and Christmas, and a bimonthly magazine, which has a circulation of around 100,000. Latter, which sells for 75 cents may shortly go monthly. Publisher is also dickering a button-badge deal for UK.

Gerry Anderson Marketing, merchandising outfit based at Pinewood film studios near London, acts as sub-agency for Polar Music and negotiates franchise deals with companies supplying all sorts of ABBA product from clothes to toys and toiletries.

Keith Shackleton, who manages the U.K. licensing operation, feels its early yet to tell what effect the latest national campaigns are having on commodity sales but says one indication is that Lesney, which manufacture ABBA dolls, hope to shift 1,000,000 of them in retail outlets.

Included in the ABBA merchandising line in U.K. are mirrors, posters, soap (in shape of a cassette), tee-shirts, art kits etc.. There’s even an ABBA comic strip, and Shackleton’s latest negotiations are for a range of jewellery.

* On the air: ABBA due on “Midnight Special” via NBC TV, Friday (17th March 1978). 

© 1978 Variety. Thanks to Samuel Inglles