Following Rupert Murdoch’s announcement last Friday that the Sun on Sunday would launch ‘very soon’, the Sun has splashed this morning with the news that it will in fact launch this week.
Since the closure of the News of the World (NOTW) last July left a gaping chasm in the Sunday market, speculation has been rife that News International (NI) would launch a ‘Sunday Sun’. With the recent negative publicity surrounding NI and The Sun, including several arrests of otherwise respected journalists, the timing is perhaps surprising – but Murdoch’s affection for the Sun brand has never been in question, and a February launch date will give time for the title to grow and stabilise its circulation and readership prior to the main events of 2012: the Euros, the Diamond Jubilee, and of course the Olympics.
As predicted in the November ABC update, the market fell slightly in December but many titles saw a month on month increase in January – including the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. The overall daily market is down 8% since January 2011; the i is the only title bucking this trend, being 82% up year on year. Its circulation now stands at 243,000, meaning it has overtaken the Guardian for the first time. The Daily Mail was up just under 1%, enough to tip it back over the psychologically important 2 million mark.
In the Sunday market, the quality titles all saw a year on year decline though the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times were up on December’s figures. The Sunday Express, Sunday Mirror and Daily Star Sunday are all still reaping the benefits from the closure of NOTW, being 10%, 60% and 104% up year on year respectively. The launch of the Sun on Sunday will almost certainly have a negative impact on these titles’ circulations so this will be an interesting market to following throughout 2012.