Monday, February 27, 2012

Sun on Sunday sales high, content low

According to News International, its return to the Sunday tabloid market was a major success with sales of the Sun on Sunday reaching more than 3 million.

But with some describing the paper as "limp" and thin on stories, it may be too early to celebrate. Alex Woolfall, head of Porter Novelli's EMEA corporate practice, was critical of the newspaper's content. 'It felt very thin on stories and was a bit limp," Woolfall said. "I think a lot of people expected a toned-down News of the World, but with less kiss and tell. Instead they got the Daily Express on a good day meets Heat on a bad one."

The lack of the type  of punchy stories once seen in the now defunct New of the World was perhaps a case of playing it safe. "The Sun on Sunday is not trying to be a Sunday paper, yet," GolinHarris European MD Matt Neale said. "There was no sting operation, no-one was turned over and the product was very upbeat in tone." But he added, "With Sun journalists still being arrested – and the public unsure of how to reconcile their favourite paper – this was a smart move." [PRWeek]

Nonetheless, there may have been some readers who were disappointed as they sat down to their Sunday morning breakfast.

The Guardian described it as "unusually bland". The Guardian media commentator, and former Daily Mirror editor, Roy Greenslade, said the paper was "technically excellent", but he added, "overall this was less of a paper and more of a magazine."

"Not only were there no investigations, there were few revelations of any kind, and no hint of controversies or even surprises," Greenslade observed.

The Huffington Post said it was probably best to "reserve judgement" on the new paper, saying that it was "quite clear that Rupert Murdoch has, despite all the fanfare, opted for a soft launch of his replacement for the News of the World."

Meanwhile the Independent's media columnist Stephen Glover also highlighted the paper's attempt to play it safe. "It doesn't have any of the filthy stories associated with the News of the World," Glover said, and suggested readers "wouldn't feel slightly grubby to be caught reading" Murdoch's new paper. But he added, "You might be a bit bored."

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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