CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - The Sun is aiming to break the mould for daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Suzanne Miao says

When Hong Kong’s Oriental Press Group announced it was to launch a Chinese-language daily newspaper, The Sun, which would be ’a paper of vitality, intelligence and vision’, a few eyebrows were raised.

When Hong Kong’s Oriental Press Group announced it was to launch a

Chinese-language daily newspaper, The Sun, which would be ’a paper of

vitality, intelligence and vision’, a few eyebrows were raised.



After all, Hong Kong is not known for the integrity of its press, with

Chinese-language broadsheets regularly splashing gruesome photographs of

severed human heads on their front pages.



Could The Sun break the mould - and be financially viable?



Since its launch on 18 March, OPG’s HKdollars 2 billion (pounds 160.3

million) gamble appears to have paid off. The Sun has shot into third

position, claiming a readership of more than one million, three times

that of the fourth largest title, Sing Pao. The Oriental Daily News

(also published by OPG) and Apple Daily dominate the scene with daily

average circulations of 650,000 and 400,000 copies respectively.



The Sun says its target market is 15- to 45-year-olds, ’skewed towards

the elite group, the new generation of dynamic and aggressive young

executives of both sexes’. It claims to have an unbiased, factual and

bold editorial policy - borne out by a survey by Omnicom’s Optimum Media

Direction and AC Nielsen, which found that The Sun was rated more highly

than Apple Daily in terms of ’objective, unbiased news coverage’.



An ad budget of HKdollars 20 million (pounds 1.6 million) was allocated

to the launch, which produced a trial rate of 69 per cent. However, the

survey suggests that The Sun is cannibalising its sister paper, ODN,

rather than recruiting readers from its rival, Apple Daily, as was

hoped.



While 29 per cent of readers would buy three or more copies a week at

the introductory price of HKdollars 2 (16p), this fell to 11 per cent at

the standard HKdollars 5 (40p).



Advertisers in The Sun are mainly from the property, travel and

restaurant sectors. While The Sun boasts ’the lowest ad rates in Hong

Kong’, OMD cautions that this will lead to a ’price squeeze’ and media

planners need to stay on their toes.



The Sun facts and figures

Frequency                                      Daily

Ad rates for 1999,based on rate base of 200,000

Full page colour     HKdollars 80,000 (pounds 6,410)

Full page mono       HKdollars 40,000 (pounds 3,205)

Publisher                       Oriental Press Group



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