Murdoch set to launch his new Sunday newspaper in April

'The Sun on Sunday' will hit newsstands less than 10 months after 'News of the World' closed

Pictures of the first wedding anniversary celebrations of William and Kate and action from the likely Premier League title decider between Manchester City and Manchester United are likely to feature in the launch edition of a Sunday version of The Sun newspaper.

News International seems set on 29 April as the day when it will unveil the much-anticipated new title, less than 10 months after the closure of the News of the World in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

The publisher has been anxious to return to the Sunday market but feared a critical backlash after its senior figures, including News Corporation's chairman and chief executive, Rupert Murdoch, and his son, James, appeared before MPs a conducting inquiries into hacking. But as the replacement paper, likely to be called The Sun on Sunday, has been delayed, News International's £600m printing plant in Hertfordshire has been shorn of a print run of nearly three million copies a week.

Since the closure of the News of the World, a cluster of senior journalists from the defunct paper have been moved to The Sun where they are regarded as the core staff for a future Sunday edition, expected to be edited by Victoria Newton, the former deputy editor of the NOTW.

A launch on 29 April offers numerous commercial advantages to a paper that is likely to be heavily marketed on its sports coverage. After the Manchester derby, likely to be the most important game of the season and heavily-promoted by its media ally BSkyB, The Sun on Sunday could look forward to a summer of sport including the Euro 2012 football championships and the London Olympics. The new series of Britain's Got Talent, which begins in April, offers a good platform for pre-launch advertising on ITV.

Although News International – which would not comment on the speculation – is suffering damage to its corporate reputation on an almost daily basis as Lord Justice Leveson hears evidence in his inquiry into media ethics, the hearings are due to end on 19 April.

The Sun's advertising department depends heavily on the retail sector, which is normally reluctant to advertise in the Sunday press except on bank holidays. Spring brings an upturn in advertising spend and the May bank holiday would give the new paper a lucrative second week. Paul Thomas, a media consultant, said: "If I was going to do it, spring is when I would do it."

Britain drops to 28th in 'press freedom index'

Press freedom has greatly diminished this year because of the impact of "archaic" libel laws, the policing of the London riots and the Leveson inquiry, a report found yesterday.

The Reporters Without Borders organisation downgraded the UK to 28th place in its annual Press Freedom Index. It attacked the Leveson hearings for "discussing regulations that should not even be considered", expressed concern about police access to personal data after the riots, and criticised "surreal" libel legislation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Database Executive - Leading Events Marketing Company - London

£23000 - £25000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Databas...

Recruitment Genius: Publishing Assistant

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Guru Careers: Print Project Manager

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: A Print Project Manager is needed to join one...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk