THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY: AN EXPERT’S VIEW: Independent on Sunday’s revamp is a step forward, Gary Dubavin-Hands says

The nine Sunday papers have shown a 2.08 per cent decrease in the latest six-month ABC’s; the biggest declines were for the Express on Sunday (13.6 per cent) and the Independent on Sunday (12.0 per cent).

The nine Sunday papers have shown a 2.08 per cent decrease in the

latest six-month ABC’s; the biggest declines were for the Express on

Sunday (13.6 per cent) and the Independent on Sunday (12.0 per

cent).



Getting the IoS right by building on its independent heritage and

appeal, rather than bowing to populist editorial or price-cutting, is

the only way to build circulation in this competitive market. Rosie

Boycott’s team saw the need to develop the non-news sections to

encourage new readers.



Sunday’s was the first issue to go some way to reverse the paper’s

decline.



The new IoS has five sections (one new, all revamped). The business and

sports pages (section two) are clear and concise but Business feels

underfunded in contrast with the larger Sport editorial. The new

broadsheet section, Spending, covers travel, property (both cut from the

Review) and personal finance (cut from Business). Travel opens well but

lacks the clarity of layout of sections one and two.



Property and personal finance do not deliver the promise of last

weekend’s trailers. Motors, IT and other profitable consumer interests

would sit well in this section. Real Life has a much improved cover,

maintains its crisp style and introduces a health feature. The Sunday

Review jettisons travel for a TV listings guide. If the title’s

editorial continues to grow and mature, branding and tactical promotion

should see it breaking the 300,000 mark.



Total ad columns sold (excluding classified and inserts) are currently

on a par with the Sunday Times - the vast difference in ratecard and the

backing of News Corporation maintains the leader’s position. But now

that advertisers and agencies require efficient responses, the editorial

development and (hopeful) upturn in readership should ensure a

competitive appeal in reaching young, upmarket consumers.



Gary Dubavin-Hands is a board director of Frontline Media.



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