February 21, 2012

Sun on Sunday – an advertiser’s friend or foe?

This weekend sees the not unexpected, although certainly earlier than expected, launch of the Sun on Sunday – the first national Sunday newspaper launch in decades.

This is a big development for the Sunday newspaper market, especially considering circulations and advertising volumes have been falling.

The News of the World was selling about 2.6 million papers when it closed and only about half its readers have continued to buy other Sunday papers. The Sunday Mirror has been the biggest winner, with many expecting the inevitable battle between the Sunday Mirror and the Sun on Sunday as ‘David against Goliath’.

The Sun on Sunday certainly means business, with a £28 million launch campaign already underway. But to last they need the advertisers back. National newspaper advertising spend in January 2011 (not including the News of the World) was £26.5m according to Nielsen. In 2012, it was £17.1m.

This shows that advertisers have survived with less Sunday newspaper advertising, but they need to be where the readers are and, with experts predicting consumers will welcome the title with open arms, it’s likely they will be supportive of the launch. In fact Tesco, Ford and Morrisons are, at the time of writing, poised to commit to the launch edition.

As Helen Littlewood, client services director, comments: “This was always something that was going to happen, it was just a question of when. It will certainly shake up the weekend newspaper market, bringing in new revenue and shifting existing revenue around. Whatever anyone thinks of the Sun or the News of the World, this can only be a good thing for British newspaper journalism and advertisers at a time when sales and revenue are falling. As with all new media opportunities, we’ll be considering it as an option within our media planning and buying for clients.”