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
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
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.