Tabloids feel heat from Sun on Sunday as advertising war begins

 

The launch this weekend of the Sun on Sunday is set to trigger the biggest British tabloid battle for years and generate a cash bonanza for broadcasters as rival newspaper groups fight for advertising space to promote their titles.

Rupert Murdoch's News International (NI) is likely to offer his new paper at a cut price in an effort to lure back the 2.6 million readers the company lost with the News of the World's closure over the phone-hacking scandal last July.

But other newspaper groups, most notably Trinity Mirror and Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, will challenge the media mogul with big advertising campaigns after enjoying a boom in circulation in the last seven months at a time when the press industry is struggling.

Mr Murdoch's decision to bring forward the launch of the new paper sparked a frenzy of activity in the media sector yesterday as newspaper companies sought to buy up air time for television advertising and to cut deals for promotional campaigns including CD giveaways.

"We may see a good old-fashioned price war or some really innovative campaigns," said Jeremy King, editor of Media Week. "One question from the point of view of media agencies would be whether advertisers who take strong moral stances would be happy to put their brand into a newspaper that's still highly associated with the News of the World. On the flip side, they will know that for the first few weeks everyone will want to see what this new Sun on Sunday looks like."

The Sun on Sunday, which will be edited by Dominic Mohan, right, may, according to Sun sources, sell for a cut-price 50p or 75p in its first week, while being produced for only a third of the cost of the News of the World. That could create a new price war in the Sunday popular newspaper market, something in which Mr Murdoch is very experienced. Only around 20 of the 200-strong former staff of the NOTW will find work at the new paper. Hayley Barlow, the former NOTW PR woman, tweeted yesterday: "Thrilled colleagues & friends on The Sun live to fight another day. Meanwhile former NOTW colleagues & friends fight to live another day". Many of those laid off when the Sunday tabloid closed last July have not found work and some said last night that they were hoping NI would consider them for further positions.

NI is said to be planning an ambitious print run of around 2.5 million copies and will be hoping to lure back the 800,000 buyers who have stopped purchasing a Sunday paper since the demise of the NOTW. But the company's rivals will not allow it to simply take back the gains they have made.

Trinity Mirror has the most to lose. Its Sunday Mirror has seen sales increase from 1,087,000 last June to 1,753,000 last month. The biggest winner in percentage terms has been Mr Desmond's Daily Star Sunday, up 111 per cent to 644,804.

Media industry sources said last night that both Trinity Mirror and Northern & Shell (which is expected to heavily promote the Daily Star on Sunday on its Channel 5 TV platform) were planning to "match or even surpass" the spending on television advertising this weekend by NI, which itself is planning a "significant" outlay.

"It's going to be a very big week," said one senior media buyer. "One problem is the availability of air time. I think we will end up with a real bun fight on Thursday and Friday for the key spots."

News International's advertising campaign will be created by Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP, which recently won the company's £28m account. Another WPP business, Mindshare, has held the NI account for planning and buying media space since 2005.

Media experts have mixed views on the venture. "There's no guarantee that it will work as well as the NOTW," said James Moody, strategy director at BDA Creative. "The Sun has a very different brand from the NOTW which suited the occasion of Sunday mornings perfectly." But Stewart Easterbrook, CEO of media agency Starcom MediaVest Group, said: "It may energise the Sunday newspaper market and not just be for News International's benefit."

A key figure at the new paper will be the design expert Simon Cosyns. Currently a joint deputy editor of the daily paper, Cosyns was shown joking with Rupert Murdoch in one of the official photographs of the News Corp chairman's visit to the Sun newsroom on Friday. He is thought to have been responsible for the design of the new title.

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'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
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