22 Feb 2012

The Sun? On a Sunday you say?

Obviously any new launch in the national press market is met with excitement (and some doubt in what is a flagging market) but after all of the bad feeling created during the on-going News of The World hacking fiasco is this a bit too early for News International to try and win back their massive share of the Sunday market?

"They" seem to be much divided but it's been said that ‘any PR is good PR’ and it would be surprising if The Sun on Sunday falls very far short of the News of the World’s last recorded circulation of 2,667,428 in June of 2011. That said, there's still relatively little specific information about the launch and it looks like NI will be keeping distribution figures to themselves for the time being.

The Sun on Sunday, which NI have specifically said is purely a Sunday edition of The Sun and not a separate publication, will launch this weekend and is being pre-promoted with a TV campaign and massive amounts of PR.

There are around 1.2 million people who have not picked up other Sunday papers since the demise of the News of The World and NI are keen to target these people as well as trying to win back ex NoTW readers who did find a new Sunday read. Specifically they will be targeting under 35’s (women in particular) and families.

NI has stated that they want The Sun on Sunday to be the market leader from day 1 – a very bold statement. Distribution in expected to be in excess of 2 million for the launch issue with figures as high as 4 million being batted around. They're predicting such robust demand that they've put a form on http://www.thesun.co.uk/ that can be filled in and given to your local newsagent to reserve a copy.

The key editorial pillars will be sport and Supergoals, Sun Woman, Bizarre, TV and travel all with a family-led tonality. Fabulous Magazine is also set to return to a Sunday. Cover price has apparently been set at 50p for the first issue which is 50p less than the cover price of The People, Sunday Mirror and Daily Star and £1 less than the Mail on Sunday. Other Sundays are expected to cut their cover prices this weekend but this is yet to be confirmed.

Time will tell whether NI's aspirations for the paper are realised but I wouldn't bet against there being a big demand for the first issue this weekend. If the content hits the mark for their targeted readership then they could be off to a flying start.

With thanks to Emma Murray-Smith at MediaCom Edinburgh