Media: Double Standards - How do the Sunday newspapers stay special?

The big thinkers from two Sunday papers talk about supplements, giveaways and whether news still sells newspapers.

STUART MAYS - HEAD OF STRATEGY, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

- What components make for a good Sunday read?

Sundays are different. They need to be thought-provoking, satisfying and leave you wanting more. They need to set the agenda for the forthcoming week and provide expert analysis of current stories and events. Ultimately, it's about attracting and retaining editorial talent and creating and developing a strong and trusting relationship with readers.

- How have you strengthened your offering during the past year?

In a hundred ways, but here are a few highlights: we've created two full-colour newspaper sections - one a newspaper, the other a lifestyle newspaper - that have researched incredibly well; www.mailonline.co.uk is on track to be the UK's number-one news website; award-winning cinema ad; groundbreaking promotion and circulation initiatives; we've hired the best creative solutions team in media; we've set up a new-business team to enlighten those advertisers being poorly advised.

- What type of solutions do you offer to advertisers beyond the traditional full- or half-page ad?

We've recently won two Campaign media awards, so this magazine believes that we are able to offer industry-beating solutions. We have delivered a business benefit to every client that has used us - whatever the metrics. It's not about including everything in a solution: it's about what works, and we know how to communicate with our eight million-plus audience better than anyone else.

- How important are CD, DVD and other giveaways in generating sales?

Prince - one of the biggest global entertainment stories last year - says it all. If you get it right, they are an excellent marketing tool both to retain and acquire customers, and our circulation success speaks volumes. Watch out for 18 May for another world exclusive.

- Does anyone buy a Sunday paper for news anymore?

Major news stories still sell millions of newspapers. Last week's Lord Levy story, the TV phone-in and Labour party donation scandals all set the news agenda for the nation for weeks and months. But, to be successful, you have to provide the ultimate entertainment package - a newspaper, a lifestyle newspaper, a magazine for him and a magazine for her is working very well for us.

- How strong is your magazine package?

You magazine and Live magazine jointly won the Supplement of the Year at the 2008 British Press Awards. The judges said: "To publish one top quality colour magazine is a major achievement in itself, but to publish two is a triumph ... brilliant content and a real vision."

- How has the increased strength of Saturday newspaper packages hit you on Sunday?

We have a phenomenal weekend package, publishing very strong and successful products on both Saturday and Sunday. The Mail on Sunday reaches six million people every week. We have one of the most loyal customer bases in media and we've earned that by delivering a great product that we continually evolve and promote.

- What do you do to offset the environmental impact of the paper mountains that are most Sunday newspapers?

Our readers are active recyclers and we estimate that 70 per cent of the paper is recycled. We recycle 100 per cent of production waste and have invested £100 million into new and efficient presses, resulting in considerable environmental benefit.

NICK HAMMOND - HEAD OF SOLUTIONS, TIMES MEDIA

- What components make for a good Sunday read?

Sundays are still special - even though most people are doing more and different things compared with 30 years ago. Readers are looking for a breadth and depth of content that The Sunday Times, which invented the multi-section format, is perfectly placed to provide.

- How have you strengthened your offering during the past year?

The Sunday Times has just launched its first fully searchable, interactive version of the Rich List online which provides information on another 1,000 of Britain's wealthiest. We relaunched Times Online just over a year ago, and it has increased its audience by more than 100 per cent year on year (March ABCes). Its success was recognised at the Newspaper Awards 2008 in April when Times Online won News Site of the Year. The Times also launched Luxx Magazine, a high-end title that captures all that is best in life within a high-quality environment.

- What type of solutions do you offer to advertisers beyond the traditional full- or half-page ad?

Highlights of the last year include a standalone website for BMW that was powered by user-generated travel experiences, a partnership with the RSPB that included high-profile involvement from one of our key writers, Simon Barnes, and a year-long national campaign to find the Entrepreneur of the Year in association with the Bank of Scotland.

- How important are CD, DVD and other giveaways in generating sales?

CDs/DVDs and giveaways are important in generating sales and attracting infrequent or new customers, but also in rewarding existing customers. Although the whole market is seeing a gradual decline in the cost-effectiveness of this type of activity, The Sunday Times is uniquely placed to take advantage of the fact that durable success comes from editorial excellence, relevance and lasting brand engagement.

- Does anyone buy a Sunday paper for news anymore?

According to independent Ipsos MORI research, news is still the top reason people buy a quality or mid-market newspaper. The same research shows that The Sunday Times is considered the best weekend title for news in the quality and mid-markets.

- How strong is your magazine package?

No other newspaper group has a dedicated separate fashion, arts and reportage supplement each week. Style reaches two million readers each week, while The Sunday Times Magazine continues to tackle the key issues and won Magazine of the Year at the British Environment Awards 2007 for its coverage of green issues.

- How has the increased strength of Saturday newspaper packages hit you on Sunday?

Solus Sunday readership is actually on the increase and The Sunday Times delivers around half of all Sunday quality readers on its own. Our focus is not on whether people need two weekend papers. Rather, we think: "What is the best possible reading experience that we can deliver to those people who want a newspaper today?"

- What do you do to offset the environmental impact of the paper mountains that are most Sunday newspapers?

We take this issue very seriously. News International became the first major UK newspaper company to take its operations carbon neutral, following a 21 per cent reduction in carbon emissions year on year.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).