Monday 19 September 2011

Glover: 'Cynical' Sun on Sunday launch next year

The Independent's media commentator Stephen Glover is predicting News international will launch a Sun on Sunday next year.

He writes: "It is now practically certain that The Sun on Sunday will be launched, and highly probable that this will happen in January.

"Having shut down the News of the World, the Murdochs did not wish to be seen acting with unseemly haste. They knew they would launch a new Sunday title, but judged that a six-month wait was advisable before the sackcloth and ashes were binned. What seemed incomprehensible to many at the time – the peremptory closure of a successful newspaper – in fact had a commercial rationale.

"Despite selling some 2.8 million copies a week, the News of the World was barely breaking even. It employed 283 people, of whom 160 were journalists. The Sun will need to recruit a fraction of that number to produce a seventh-day edition of the newspaper. If it sells at 50p (half the price of the News of the World, and cheaper than Sunday red-top rivals) it would probably be profitable with a circulation of a million. In the event, it may well sell many more copies than that.

Glover adds: "In other words, far from being a sacrifice, shutting down the Sunday red-top and launching a seventh-day edition of The Sun carries a significant economic benefit. The Murdochs were able to represent themselves as acting decisively and almost altruistically – rather as a farmer might regretfully shoot a rabid dog that has been a cherished family pet. Now it turns out that the dog was old, unloved and expensive to keep, and there is a young puppy waiting in the wings which will be a much better proposition. The whole process has been a cynical charade."

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